Golf Course Review of New Zealand Golf Club
New Zealand Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: A deceptive and strategic Surrey heathland
Our 5 Star Rating: 4.3
New Zealand Golf Club is one of the least heralded golf courses on the Surrey sandbelt yet it is one of the most fascinating and maximises its relatively flat terrain to great effect.
I suspect The Club are quite happy that their course often goes under the radar and certainly doesn’t seek the attention that others crave.
The course has a reputation of being short and tricky and many people will look at the scorecard and see a yardage of just 5,947 and believe this myth. The course isn’t long by any stretch of the imagination but with a par of just 68 it certainly doesn’t play as short as it may initially appear. Indeed you are as likely to use every club in the bag here as anywhere.
The opening two holes, par fours of well over 400 yards, are a stern introduction to this highly strategic and visually deceiving course. The five par-threes have an average length of 170-yards and that includes the 120-yard 10th; you are likely to be hitting mid and long irons into these well defended one-shotters. There is just one par-five too and the presence of heather lining every fairway ensures that New Zealand is no pushover. A SSS of 69 is testament to that.
On most of the drives you have the option of skirting a fairway bunker in reward for a much shorter shot into the green. Admittedly if you drive it long and straight you are likely to score well but that can be said of virtually anywhere. However, there are some really well-placed hazards from the tee particularly at the second, sixth, ninth, 11th and 14th. Find any of these and you may as well add a stroke to your score for that hole.
The greens are also guarded with some lovely heather-topped bunkers. Many of these appear to be closer to the green than they are which adds to the complexity of this excellent course.
Several of the putting surfaces are also defended by brilliantly undulating ground just short of them. The best of these come towards the end of the round on a course that has an excellent final six holes. The contouring around the greens over this closing stretch requires you to not only judge your landing zone correctly but also the trajectory of your approach. Miscalculate either and you can be made to look rather silly.
Unlike at Swinley Forest, The Berkshire, Sunningdale and some other neighbouring courses there are no real jaw-dropping holes at New Zealand but there are 18 good-to-excellent ones that ooze subtlety, deception and strategy.
New Zealand is undoubtedly a course for all the ages too. It would be a fantastic place to learn your game and with no disrespect to the elder generation I could easily envisage myself, health and wealth permitting, pottering around here during my twilight years.