Kauri Cliffs & Cape Kidnappers

Kauri Cliffs & Cape Kidnappers

Mitch McMurtry has joined Kauri Cliffs GC as head PGA professional, just as the perennial top 100 resort track has issued 2024-2025 pricing, which includes special, new rates for Australian nationals and affordable shoulder-season pricing for all. 

For the upcoming shoulder seasons of September-October 2024 and April-May 2025, the 18-hole green fee will be NZ$517 for international players, NZ$387 for Australian nationals, and NZ$283 for New Zealand residents. Depending on the day, the New Zealand dollar trades at roughly 0.60 U.S. dollars. 

For the high season -November-December 2024 and January-February-March of 2025 - the 18-hole green fee will be NZ$739 for international players, NZ$565 for Australian nationals, and NZ$391 for New Zealand residents. The low season rates for June-July-August of 2025 will be NZ$370 for international players, NZ$283 for Australian nationals, and NZ$196 for New Zealand residents.

According to Ray Geffre, director of golf at Kauri Cliffs GC and sister course Cape Kidnappers GC, these rates apply to golf at both properties. Group bookings, defined as reservations of 12 or more players who are not staying on site, in either lodge, are eligible for associated discounts. As such, organisers should inquire directly via proshop@kauricliffs.com or proshop@capekidnappers.com

“We have always recognised the importance of the Australian market, but we wanted to put more of our money where our mouth is, so to speak,” Geffre says. 

“We greatly value that business, just as we value the Kiwis who make a point of playing Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers regularly. We will always strive to strike that fine balance between value and access. That why we created shoulder-season rates, to better thread that needle. 

“In the end, golfers here and abroad do recognise these are two of the most feted, distinctive resort properties in all of world golf, and each one delivers commensurate value, a singular experience. A lot of quality golf courses have come online here in New Zealand the last 20 years. But none deliver the quality, luxury and seclusion of a round at Kauri or Cape.”

Kauri Cliffs GC, a 1999 design from Nicklaus protégé David Harmon, did indeed create the modern standard for golf in New Zealand. In the century prior, golf here was known for 1963 British Open champion Sir Bob Charles and the sterling links course at Paraparaumu Beach GC. Kauri Cliffs changed all of that — in short order. By 2003, the course was ranked among the top 100 on Earth (Golf Digest today ranks it #26), while the adjoining accommodations oozed gracious antebellum charm. In 2004, the Robertson family christened another world-beating course on the North Island, at Cape Kidnappers GC, set beside another boutique lodge of more-modernist-but-unsurpassed quality. 

There was nothing quite like these two destination resorts, anywhere. That remains true in 2024, even though New Zealand is home to another dozen bucket-list golf destinations, all of them built in respectful homage. 

“Competition guarantees that wherever they may go in New Zealand, traveling golfers will never be disappointed,” says Geffre, adding that last year GOLF Magazine (U.S.) published the first top 100 for courses across the breadth of Australasia; Kauri Cliffs was ranked #34 (Cape Kidnappers came in at #11). 

“We’re determined to compete on quality and service — but never volume. That’s why Kauri remains the perfect couples and buddy-trip retreat. That’s why you’ll always have golf courses at Kauri and Cape pretty much to yourself. 

“And frankly, that’s why we hired Mitch McMurtry. He understands how to provide the levels of service one expects at the best U.S. private clubs.” 

McMurtry did indeed arrive in New Zealand after two years at Idle Hour Country Club, the only Donald Ross design in the state of Kentucky. Prior to that he served as an assistant at the opulent Glenwild Golf Club in Park City, Utah. He did two internships while studying for his PGA Golf Management degree: one at the ultra-exclusive Alotian Club in Roland, Arkansas; the other at Southern Hills CC in Tulsa, Oklahoma, site of three U.S. Opens and five PGA Championships. 

When McMurtry got the call from Geffre, he was doing a winter gig at Estancia, the top private club in Arizona. 

“I worked at Idle Hour for years while I finished grad school,” says McMurtry, who earned his MBA in supply chain and logistics from the University of Kentucky. 

“Then I went off backpacking, all over Europe, as a graduation gift to myself. I interviewed for the Kauri Cliffs job in New York City, then went back to Estancia. When I got the call, the high season here was just about to start - like, the following week! So, I packed my life into three suitcases and found a used golf-travel bag on Facebook Marketplace. It’s been a bit of whirlwind, to say the least.” 

The original owners and developers of Kauri and Cape, The Robertson Family, still operate the golf operations at both properties. Starting December 1st, 2023, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts was entrusted with the hospitality operations at all three Robertson properties in New Zealand: Rosewood Kauri Cliffs, Rosewood Cape Kidnappers, and Rosewood Matakauri in Queenstown. Rosewood started the same day McMurtry did. 

“My job is to always try and elevate service and presentation here at Kauri Cliffs, because that is a sure-fire way to bring back more business,” he says. “Of course, that means hiring and training staff to realise that level of service. Luckily, I’ve been a party to that service ethic - at The Alotian Club, at Idle Hour, at Estancia. I’ve never known a resort guest to bridle at being treated like a private club member.”