Oreti Sands - Next stop Antarctica!

Oreti Sands - Next stop Antarctica! Background Image

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Oreti Sands is the southernmost links in the world and is every bit as raw and authentic as that description implies.  Set in the wild dunes along the South Islands southern coast one really does get the feeling that it’s next stop Antarctica (there are many days when the locals joke that you can smell the penguin poo!).
There is nothing remotely pretentious about Oreti Sands.  Hewn from the dunes and lupins by hardy locals in the late 60’s the course has benefited from some addition and renovation by Greg Turners design company in the early 21st century.  This is raw links at its very best albeit maintained with a decidedly modest maintenance budget.  If you’ve enjoyed golf in the north of Scotland or the west of Ireland there will be much about the challenge at Oreti you’ll find compelling.

Design/Architecture:

The original course was laid out by Sloan Morpeth albeit he passed away before its completion.  Greg Turner then led the charge for additions and modifications and the result is as authentic a links experience as you’ll find outside of the UK and Ireland.  Like many true links, the extent of the challenge relates directly to the weather conditions, so if you are anything other than a hardy soul check the forecast before you head down!  The greens are generally large and fairways generous but, on many occasions, a wild shot may never be seen again.

Unusually for a true links there are a few holes where pine trees play a part (notably 7, 8 and 15) and also where a natural wetland area intervenes (16 and 17).  But this variety doesn’t for a moment imply this is not a true links in every way.
Condition wise don’t be expecting pristine.  The club operates on a very modest budget and relies heavily on volunteer labour to supplement the work of the green keeper.  But this is not golf that requires perfect lies and fast greens, so while placing is usually required on the fairways and the greens are generally true rather than speedy; neither circumstance overly detracts from the experience.
Only the very skilled and brave should contemplate the back tees! 

 

Favourite Holes:

The 4th, 5th and 7th holes are all wonderful examples and the driveable 16th and par three 17th are both exciting and daunting at the same time.

Facilities:

Rudimentary would probably be the most appropriate term.  The clubhouse and locker room are ramshackle affairs, there are a few carts but you’ll need to arrange them in advance.

Cost:

An honesty box is the likely means by which to pay your modest green fee.

We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a visit to Oreti as long as you are comfortable with rudimentary facilities and variable course conditions.  If possible allow yourself some flexibility to pick your day according to the weather


Greg Turner

​Greg Turner needs no introduction from his origins as an elite amateur in New Zealand, competing in the Eisenhower Trophy in 1982 and 1984, Greg became a professional and spent 18 years on the world’s golf stage, winning 12 events internationally (including 4 in Europe, 3 in Australia, 2 NZ Opens and a NZPGA). He represented NZ on numerous occasions at World and Dunhill Cups, Australasia in the inaugural Alfred Dunhill Challenge and was a member of the victorious International Team in the 1998 Presidents Cup.

Greg is a tireless supporter of the game of golf. With this hat on he has had many roles - from establishing a development tour in New Zealand (GTNZ, which went on to become the Charles Tour), he has published numerous articles in many publications, and is very committed to a strategy for promoting New Zealand as a superior Golf Destination for international travellers; a goal that requires both upgrading of many existing facilities to meet the required standard, and widespread international promotion.

Aside from his achievements on the golf course however, Greg has been instrumental to golf in New Zealand through setting up a golf course design and corporate design business and is now working on the New Zealand Tourism, golf strategy board for Tourism New Zealand.

Greg first retired in 2004 and he was ranked inside the top 200 players in the world, but missed the game too much and in 10 years after his retirement he made his pro golf come back in the US Senior PGA Championship Open Seniors Tour in St Louis, Missouri, USA

With this passion, comes real knowledge of the game, its people and the Queenstown area where he has spent much of his latter career enhancing its profile.


The Author
Greg Turner

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