Country golf at its best is available at Ohakune, with four courses within an hour’s drive.
The Waimarino Golf Course hosts the Ruapehu Golf Club – five minutes’ drive from Ohakune on the way to Raetihi. The par 71, 18-hole championship golf course with an NZGA rating of 71.9 is one of the highest rating golf courses in the Manawatu and Whanganui area. And it has spectacular views of Mt Ruapehu and surrounding countryside. www.ruapehugolf.com
A tad further away is the highest 18-hole course in New Zealand, near the Army town of Waiouru, 27km from Ohakune. The rolling tree-lined fairways have great views of Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe.www.waiourugolf.com
Fifty kilometres south of Ohakune, Taihape Golf Club is worth the 40-minute drive for its challenging 18-hole course including a river crossing and reportedly one of the best par 3 holes. The course is nestled in the countryside just 5km north of Taihape Township and is a beautifully laid out, albeit challenging, golf course in very peaceful surroundings.
An hour north of Ohakune, Taumarunui hosts the Tarrangower Golf Course, one of New Zealand’s top 50 (there are around 400 courses in New Zealand). Tarrangower dates back to the early 1920’s and has developed into an attractive all-weather course featuring 18 holes of undulating fairways in park-like surrounds.
The Waimarino Golf Club dates back to 1926 when land that had been owned by the local racing club was purchased to create a course for the towns of Ohakune and Raetihi and surrounds. Initially, the course was 10 holes and much volunteer work was needed to prepare the course. The land at the time was given to a local farmer for grazing. Cattle and horses were removed for competition days but the sheep were allowed to stay.
The 1930s Great Depression had a marked effect on the club's development and with declining membership new holes were deferred. The club began to recover in the late 1930’s but in the early 40s the club came under pressure because of World War II. A large area of the course was leased to local market gardeners to help meet expenses and members even sowed swedes and carrots on behalf of the club on areas not leased out.
Near the end of the 40s the club had begun to return to prosperity and plans were being made and put into action for an 18-hole course and through the next decades the club flourished. In the sixties a new clubhouse was built and extended in the seventies.
The 1990s saw major changes in the club and around the course, with irrigation supplied to all greens, new mowers purchased along with a motorbike and roughs mower, a golf cart shed and a green keeper’s workshop.
Twilight golf has been a major contributor to the Waimarino golfing calendar since the beginning of the 1990s. Running from mid-November until mid-February. From humble beginnings, it has grown to over 80 players competing every Thursday evening. The course is now equal to any in the area. The greens and fairways are well maintained to national standards and the Club’s record for well-run tournaments is renowned. The NZGA asked Waimarino to host the New Zealand North Island Under-19 Championships in February 2003. The best of New Zealand’s juniors competed and the Club received many accolades for the management and course presentation.