By Heather Kidd

Early summer at the Northern Wairoa Golf Club is heralded by the breathtaking sight of the distinctive crimson flowers of the pōhutakawa tree, many of which line the wide fairways of the 18-hole course. Locals say that from October to December the ground is a sea of red. The golf club, situated 9km from Dargaville, is 2km from the beach and has sea views from some holes.

For many years, it was regarded as something of a hidden gem, but these days it's more real gem. A new subdivision at nearby Baylys Beach plus a camping ground 500m down the road, and a lodge opposite the course has seen a welcome upturn in visitor numbers who appreciate the well-maintained greens and manicured fairways. The terrain cannot be described as flat, but club captain Glenys McEvoy says many of the club's more mature members have no difficulty walking the course, although carts are for hire. A feature is the number of elevated greens. The signature hole is the 16th, a par 3, where players must hit over a dam to reach the green; the course has three water hazards. Play is possible year-round. Caterers are in attendance Saturdays and Sundays, while on weekdays, refreshments are available from popular local hangout, Sharkeys. Booking a round is not necessary, phone or simply turn up. Visitors are also welcome to participate in tournaments.

Green fees: 18 holes $30 (NZ affiliated), $35 (non-affiliated). 819 Baylys Coast Road, Baylys Beach. (09) 439 6599.





NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group