Kristine Kerr, director of Kura Golf Course Design, a golf course architect who has worked on the design of around 40 courses, says golf tourism to New Zealand pre-Covid was growing with New Zealand being viewed as an extremely desirable destination for high net worth international visitors.
She says although we have the second highest number of golf courses per capita in the world, many of them are in need of a major upgrade to increase their appeal to this segment of tourists – once the borders reopen.
‘While New Zealand has an incredible legacy asset with the sheer number of golf courses available to us and the ease of access in metro centres, the reality is they were not built to a current modern standard and fall short of the expectations of premium international tourists.
‘One of the key issues we face with these courses is that in terms of interest and design they don’t compete well with either historic links style courses, or modern courses that have been designed by professional golf course architects. Many New Zealand courses tend to have less challenging routing, strategies and features than newer courses – which makes them less interesting to tourists.’