Arikikapakapa, the home of Rotorua golf was established in 1906 celebrating 100 years in 2006. There have been many changes over the years culminating to the Club you see today.
The first mention of golf in Rotorua dates back to 1902 when a recording was made in the record of New Zealand Parliament that ‘golf links will undoubtedly prove a source of pleasure to the many visitors and enquiries are being made with a view of establishing them’.
From this beginning golf was played on a casual basis at various venues in and around the then small town of Rotorua. It was not until 1906 that the Rotorua Golf Club came to life and it has continued strongly to this day. The early years saw the Club have three different homes in quick succession until finally arriving at Arikikapakapa Reserve in 1912.
The Reserve had been gifted to the Crown, along with other Reserves in the growing town, by the representative of Ngati Whakaue, Arikikapakapa Reserve was especially set aside ‘for recreation and the medicinal use of hot springs’.

The then Prime Minister, Sir Joseph Ward, readily approved the idea, but it was clear that much work would have to be done and the task of transforming a wilderness into the fairways and greens with the machinery of the day was a massive one, with much of the work done by volunteers.

Initially, only nine holes were open for play, but such was the popularity of the game that a second nine were inevitable. These were opened in 1918, carved out of very hostile country. The scrub was so dense that the Native School headmaster got lost while investigating the area and had to be rescued by a late night search party.

The first Clubhouse measured a modest 14 feet x 12 feet and was erected in nine days. The more luxurious building we now call home was built in 1930.


The course was later remodelled by Charles Redhead, a golf course architect whose work greatly influenced New Zealand courses at that time. Redhead served three terms as President of the Club and is also regarded as the man who brought veterans golf to our country.

Rotorua has been visited by many famous golfers over the years, including seven-time major winner Gene Sarazen in 1934 and Bobby Locke (four major championships) and Australian legend Norman von Nida in 1938.

The Club has also developed many excellent players of its own, among them Jane Little (nee Butler), the first New Zealand lady to turn professional, and Brenda Ormsby, who won three NZ Matchplay titles and the NZ Strokeplay title no fewer than seven times.
Arikikapakapa, the home of Rotorua Golf has also hosted many prestigious tournaments, including the New Zealand Professional Tournament, the NZ Ladies Open and the Men’s Interprovincial Tournament, the Freyberg Rose Bowl.