Tara Iti in New Zealand has giant expectations for new public-access Te Arai Links

Having already built Tara Iti into one of the world’s best courses, founder Ric Kayne is doubling down with the creation of Te Arai Links, (...)

Tara Iti in New Zealand has giant expectations for new public-access Te Arai Links

Having already built Tara Iti into one of the world’s best courses, founder Ric Kayne is doubling down with the creation of Te Arai Links, a 36-hole facility that will be open to the public, unlike Tara Iti.

“Think of Tara Iti as our version of Cypress Point. It’s for a private membership. Now we’re building our Pebble Beach and Spyglass along 17-Mile Drive with a hotel and the various amenities for the public to enjoy,” said Jim Rohrstaff, managing partner of Te Arai Links.

Rohrstaff’s analogy is a bold one, but it might have merit given that one of the courses will have more oceanfront holes than Pebble Beach. As for the second course?

“It’s not fair to compare it to Spyglass; it’s more like Pine Valley,” he said.

Consider our attention grabbed, and given how great Tara Iti turned out, we will wait and see with bated breath. 

Ground was broken on the South Course in September, but not before some serious discussion due to the global pandemic. New Zealand’s leadership acted swiftly and instituted a Level 4 lockdown in late March, just as the project received its various approvals.

“The world stopped here for seven to eight weeks and we asked ourselves, ‘Are we out of our minds to build a tourist destination? What if the borders never open again?’ We ran all sorts of scenarios and decided we think the world will be open in a couple of years. So, we’re off to the races, but it’s a distinct possibility we might be the biggest idiots in the world.”

Tom Doak, architect of Tara Iti (2015), was rewarded the job of designing the North Course, and the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw was hired to do the South. 

“We think that 80 to 100 years from now when we’re all gone, people will talk about them in the same breath as Alister MacKenzie and A.W. Tillinghast and Seth Raynor,” Rohrstaff said.

Coore-Crenshaw is up first, and that gave them first pick of the land. 

“They were exceptionally greedy,” Rohrstaff said, “which Tom has brought up only 400-500 times. Bill gave back a little sliver of coastline to Doak, but he’s more excited about the land for the nine looking away from the water.”

The South Course is scheduled to open in 2022 and the North Course in 2023.

This story originally appeared in Issue 5 of Golfweek magazine.

Source : Golf Week More