My pilgrimage to Titirangi Golf Club was filled with great anticipation and enthusiasm. The course was highly recommended and I was advised of its rich history, heritage, and many accolades. I quickly learned two words that define Titirangi Golf Club and those words are "The Best". Titirangi Golf Club is rated as "The Best" golf course in Auckland, New Zealand. It has hosted "The Best" golfers (Arnold Palmer, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Nick Faldo just to name a few) in the world. It has hosted "The Best" golf tournaments (NZ Open, Air New Zealand Shell Open) in New Zealand. I arrived early to see and experience this majestic golf course, and upon stepping onto the course, I felt like I was stepping back in time to when I first played St Andrews, "The Old Course". The history and greatness of the course caused me to pause, marvel in its beauty and take a deep breath. I arrived at Titirangi unshaken, but stirred to an Alister MacKenzie course design and legacy, conjuring up thoughts of August National and Cypress Point. Now, it's time to apply the sunscreen, pull out my "A " game, and get the party started!
The course was designed to be an enjoyable walk, with meticulously manicured fairways that are generously wide and treelined. The rough varies in length and type of grass, which makes it brutal at times. The bushes are natural to the area, they vary in height and density, and are well placed. There are several gullies and forced carries to enhance the challenge and beauty of the course. The fairway and greenside bunkers are deep and intimidating. The Poa Annual greens provide a true and fast roll, and subtle breaks, slope and undulation added intrigue and misery to my game. This course's unique design shook up my game, and made me a little uncomfortable at times. Embrace the challenge, stay focused, and make some history of your own.
The day I played Titirangi it was sunny and hot, with very little wind. The first hole was closed due to redesigned construction. As a result, the 5th hole, a par 5 was broken into a temporary par 4 and par 3 to make up for the lost hole. The course measures 6617 yards from the Black championship tees and plays to a course rating of 72.0/127. I played the white tees, which measured 6222 yards with a slope rating of 70.0/125. There are 4 sets of tees on the course. Titirangi prides itself on creating a golfing challenge that is exciting, historic, and will grow on you over time. From the first tee shot until the time the ball dropped into the 18th hole, my golfing experience at Titirangi was an excellent blend of camaraderie, friendly competition, and laughs, thanks to club members Guy Mills, Masami Umezu, and Craig Donaldson. For me, they were the icing on the cake that made Titirangi Golf Club, "The Best ".
Titirangi has 5 holes which I will call their signature holes: 6, 8, 12, 13, and 14. The last 3 holes are sometime referred to as "Amen Corner". These heavenly holes are a beautiful compliment to its namesake at Augusta National. I know this because I have been to August National. Hole 12, at Titirangi may strike some as being the prettiest hole, but it's hole 13, that I remember the most. Historically speaking, a member of Titirangi Golf Club scored an albatross 2 on this par 5, fondly known as "The Wrecker". A birdie on this hole is a major achievement for mere mortals like me, but hey, maybe you have a God-like game and can make history here. Beware of the tree in the middle of the fairway. A special note for hole 6: this hole has a slightly blind tee shot over a gully for long ball hitters. If you find yourself on the left side of the fairway in the thick grassy gully, come out sideways to get back to the fairway as I saw a member play it. Trying to advance the ball will likely be disasterous. Trust me.
Golfing at Titirangi exceeded my expectations and enjoyment. I recommend it, as a must play to all golfers visiting Auckland, New Zealand.
One Happy Golfer
H.Bell (Golf Enthusiast / Writer)
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