“It’s very possible that coming to the end of the world is what some people want to do”, Robertson says of Kauri Cliffs, which lies near the northernmost tip of New Zealand’s North Island. Kauri has just one course and 16 guest rooms, so while it consistently runs at full occupancy, rarely will one find more than a handful of guests on the course, which staggers its tee times at a leisurely 30 minutes apart.
Robertson handed over this canvas to Florida-based architect David Harman, whose credits include Orland’s Panther Lake and Crooked Cat, and Wyoming’s Teton Pines. Treeless and windswept, Harman’s design combines the feel of a British links, minus the towering dunes, with the clifftop setting of a Pebble Beach, minus the glut of expensive homes.
Five holes run along the edge of the cliffs, including No. 7, a mid-length par 3 with drop-dead views of the Pacific Ocean and Cavalli Islands, and a tee shot that’s all carry over a fiord. Ten more holes overlook the Pacific from slightly higher inland elevations. Not one of the entire 18 could be described as weak.
Nearby, Kauri’s ample natural wonders include two waterfalls and three private beaches, and outdoor adventures such as trail hiking, scuba diving and wild boar hunting. World-class cuisine and luxury lodging made Kauri Cliffs the first-ever golf resort admitted to the prestigious Relais & Chateaux hotel association. After Kauri’s first year of operation, the tough-to-please Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report rated it the finest resort in New Zealand. That has to make it one of the finest on earth.