Established back in 1938, the old Lochiel Golf Club was a rural course maintained by sheep and keen volunteers. Fast forward 75 years to 2014 and two great Waikato Clubs, Lochiel and The Narrows, situated on either side of the river not more than a par five apart, agreed to join forces to become Riverside Golf Club. Not long after it was designated by the NZ Transport Agency that a new expressway would pass right through the Narrows course. After significant and complex negotiations, the Club agreed to sell Narrows enabling the development of Tieke Golf Estate.
In 2018 Brett Thomson and Phil Tataurangi were approached to produce a new design. Their ambitious design centered around a few main pillars:
- The removal of 1000 old trees, shrubs, and bushes
- An enhancement of the natural riverbed landscape
- Exposing the sandy soils which had sat dormant beneath the turf for over 25,000 years
- A routing with flexibility, adaptability and variability like no other in NZ
The fine fescue turf and creeping bent grass putting surfaces are also not often found in this part of the country. These surfaces complement the free draining soils and reward a running ball across the turf. The intention is for the ground game to be considered where a well-played “bump and run” shot will be equally rewarded as a skilfully played lofted wedge. The style of golf akin to what’s played on a coastal links despite being more than 50 kms from the nearest beach. The visual appearance of the expansive sandy wastelands adds a striking and very distinct character to the course that is a nod to the whakapapa or history of the land.
Tieke Golf Estate provides coaching, training, custom club fitting, a fully stocked golf store with the highest quality apparel brands, clubs and golfing equipment plus great practice facilities.
Tieke Golf Estate is designed for players of all handicaps, the course designers have created a course like no other in New Zealand and it’s destined to be amongst the best in the country. Book a tee time and come have some fun on our unique new course just 90 minutes from Auckland.
The name Tieke
"Tieke" the te reo name for the North Island Saddleback belongs to New Zealand's unique wattle bird family, an ancient group which includes the endangered Kokako and extinct Huia.
Our own stretch of the Waikato river and the very land where our golf course resides was once a dense native forest teaming with saddlebacks - so much so that local Maori of the time referred to this area as "Tieke". It was considered their home base, their stronghold.
The introduction of predators, deforestation and farming saw the tragic demise of the Saddleback from not just this area but all over mainland North Island.
In the 1960's, a tiny population of Saddleback were found on islands in the Hauraki Gulf and breeding pairs were successfully relocated to a number of predator free sanctuary's. One of those sanctuary's is Maungatautari Mountain, just down the road right here in the central Waikato where once again the plucky saddleback is thriving.
In 2021 the Tieke has a conservation status of AT RISK - RECOVERING!
We are so proud to have this national icon as our own. To recognise and honour the entire history of our river, land, and peoples. The creation of Tieke Golf Estate not only allows us to recognise and celebrate this history, but also allows us to be a part of something much greater than ourselves in providing support through golf for the continued preservation of "Tieke".
It takes many people and a great commitment to make a meaningful difference. By working in support of the Department of Conservation and it's commitment to the restoration of the river highway from Maungatautari to Hamilton, and Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari Trust with their continued protection of the saddleback, and New Zealand Field Days Society in vigorously pursuing a joint predator free initiative towards being predator free by 2050 - it is our greatest hope that in the not too distant future Tieke can be reintroduced to our part of the river and that generations of future golfers may get to see and to hear and enjoy the beautiful call of Tieke at Tieke Golf Estate.