The Terrace Downs Resort is located about one hour's drive from Christchurch at the beginning of the high country on the fringe of the Canterbury Plains. Built on the edge of the Rakaia Gorge, the course was designed by David Cox and built by David and the Terrace Downs team. Canadian designer Sid Puddicombe, who later designed the Lake Resort in the North Island also helped with the course architecture.
The result, a stunning 18 hole golf course of international standard opened in 1999. The par 72 6440 metre layout features 11 lakes, 70 bunkers and a choice of 4 tee placements on each hole. The course was recently rated as the third best in the country. The beauty of the breathtaking surrounding scenery is complemented by the classy stone, glass and timber Clubhouse.
Perhaps the most spectacular golf hole on the front nine is the par-5 seventh, the longest and maybe the most difficult hole on the course for even the big hitters. It plays 556-metres from the back tees and winds down onto a lower terrace, where the fairway meanders between a lake on the right and a bunker on the left. Reaching the green here in three is an achievement as very few players ever make it in two.
Possibly the most exhilarating hole on the course is the par-3 16th. The 16th is 130 metres from the back tees, but it's not the length of this hole that stops you in your tracks, it's the altitude. The tee box sits close to the edge of the gorge and about 200 metres above the aqua coloured Rakaia River that tumbles along below.
Take a ball out of your bag and hit it out over the gorge and see how long it takes for the ball to reach the bottom. The 16th hole 'is just a wedge or so away, but you will have to carry two ravines that drop all the way to the river though thick native bush. Your tee shot also has to carry a deep pot bunker short of the green and skirt another bunker on the left.
Terrace Downs is a long way from the sea but it looks and feels in parts like a links course. Elsewhere it plays like a parkland course. This golf course has some of the most scintillating views of any in New Zealand so it is sometimes hard to focus on the golf. Brand new Luxury appointed villa accommodation is available with sweeping views over the course and clubhouse.