Prestigious golf magazine Golf Digest has recently released its list of the best golf courses outside the USA. And the Cape Kidnappers course in Hawke's Bay has been rated at #6 on that list. The Hawke's Bay Today reports:
Hawke's Bay's Cape Kidnappers Golf Course has added another glowing plaudit to its list of acclaim - making the top 10 in Golf Digest US's top 100 list of the world's greatest courses outside the United States.
Golf Digest, regarded as the definitive source of world golf course rankings, had marked Cape Kidnappers as the 13th best course in the world in its 2009 listing, but halved that ranking for its latest 2012 list.
The course, owned by American Julian Robertson and designed by the feted Tom Doak, has now been listed as the sixth best on the prestigious top 100 line-up.
Cape Kidnappers opened in 2004, four years after Mr Robertson opened the also highly acclaimed Kauri Cliffs in the Bay of Islands.
Kauri Cliffs came in 19th on the latest list, with Golf Digest praising the fact both courses were open to the playing public, not private ventures as many other major courses on the list were.
In that respect, Cape Kidnappers was adjudged to be the highest-ranking "public play" course in the Asia-Pacific region.
We've only seen Cape Kidnappers on television, but it looks like an amazing golf challenge, with stunning clifftop views of the Pacific Ocean and the famous cliffs of the Cape itself. And the people who run this course, and Kauri Cliffs in Northland are delighted that their hard work has been recognised; read on:
Ryan Brandeburg, director of golf for both courses, was delighted with the news.
"There are so many courses in Asia-Pacific rightly considered 'world class', but what good is learning that a club is ranked so highly if it's private and travelling golfers cannot play it?" Mr Brandeburg said.
"Accessibility should be of primary importance to anyone who pays close attention to these rankings."
He was especially pleased to be ranked so highly among courses outside the United States "as we consider our clientele to be worldwide, we are proudly part of the Asia-Pacific golf community".
Mr Brandeburg said he looked forward to the day when golfing publications assembled a top 100 which took into account accessibility, course merit and the quality of on-site lodgings.
"These are the factors travelling golfers mostly strongly consider," he said.
"The course cannot be private, naturally, and who wants to shape a golf holiday around a great course that doesn't have a hotel on site, or doesn't provide world-class food and wine?
"Some day that list will be compiled, and we are confident that both Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs would rank among the Top 5 in the world."
One day, we hope to get the chance to visit The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, stay a night, dine in the lodge, and play this magnificent course. In the meantime though, we are sure that both Cape Kidnappers and its sister course Kauri Cliffs will continue to attract golfing tourists from around the world. That can only be good news for the country, and for the Hawke's Bay and Northland regions.
Lastly, we note that both Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers are the vison of American man Julian Robertson. Mr Robertson was given an honorary knighthood last year his services to New Zealand, which included the donation to the people of New Zealand in 2009 by him and his late wife Josie of 15 paintings worth an unspecified but significant amount. Mr Robertson is commonly believed to be the "American bag-man" to whom Trevor Mallard sneeringly referred during the 2005 election campaign. Mallard was never able to substantiate his allegations (quelle surprise!), and Julian Robertson's adoration for New Zealand was not diminished by the smear.