How will Cape Kidnappers renew itself for its 20th birthday?

By: April 6, 2023

The Cape Kidnappers Resort (New Zealand) was launched in 2004. The American developer Julian Robertson (Kauri Cliffs’ owner too) asked Tom Doak to design a golf course for the resort.

This is how the 18-hole, par-71, 7,147 yards (6,569 meters) long golf course was created. The golf course sits 400 feet above the South Pacific Ocean. Much of the back nine strategically flirts with sheer, white cliffs that drop 150 meters down into Hawkes Bay.

The Cape Kidnappers Resort has been ranked as high as #38 in the world. today it ranks #51.

Cape Kidnappers Aerial fog resized

To prepare the golf course for its 20th anniversary, Tom Doak was asked again to renovate the golf course. Doak has just completed the renovation of the golf course.

Ownership was also determined to restore the firm and fast turf conditions that Doak first created — because bounce & roll are vital to the strategic function of links designs, heathland deigns and one-of-a-kind hybrids like Cape Kidnappers. 

Tom Doak says

“There is nothing quite like it in golf; it just sits so high above the water. This is a course fairly ranked among the top 50 in the world, but I’ve found people have difficulty classifying Cape Kidnappers in their own minds — because it’s so different and distinct from anything else.”

Cape Kidnappers 6th hole

Director of Golf Ray Geffre says

“The renovation also substantially upped our game on the partice-facility front. We expanded our range and built brand new putting and chipping greens. We also embarked on some strategic tree cleaning, and we are determined to keep that going.

This is an incredibly diverse and lush eco-system, and I doubt there’s another resort on earth that takes environmental protections more seriously than we do. But we need to protect our vistas, too, and preserve the original design here.

For a while there, we had manuka creeping into the bunker and blocking the view of 4 green. The kanuka and manuku we trimmed back all along the right side of 15: Those are meant to be plants — they were head high!”

The golf course and adjacent lodge, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, occupy a 6,000-acre property protected by more than 10 kilometers of protective fencing – meaning the barrier extends nearly as far below ground as above it, to protect endangered species from predators.

The luxurious Farm at Cape Kidnappers, one of three Relais & Châteaux properties in New Zealand owned and operated by Robertson Lodges.

Cape Kidnappers Clubhouse by night

Guests at The Farm can partake of Kiwi Discovery walks, Hanging Rock Gorge hikes and all manner of bird tours — the tip of Cape Kidnappers is home to the world’s largest gannet colony

These examples of naturalistic sights and activities only scratch the surface: The Cape Sanctuary is the largest privately owned and funded wildlife restoration project of its kind in New Zealand.