The second oldest club in New Zealand, Christchurch Golf Club was founded in 1873 and in 1900 moved to its present home to a site where the Shirley Links was extended to 18 holes in 1910. Decades later the holes were redesigned by Peter Thomson and Michael Wolveridge, who created a quasi-links with plenty of bumps and humps and large, rolling greens.
The designers also ripped out a stack of trees here, and added rounded pot bunkers to further the links feel of the layout. Unfortunately there are still too many trees to provide an authentic links experience, while the back and forth holes are quite bland naked. The cramped middle stretch and long run of short par fours coming home also hurt the course.
On the positive side, the start is good and the 5th is a classic Carnoustie style hole with ugly pop-up pot traps that do well to provide strategic options on the lumpy, rolling fairway. The obscured par three 3rd green is also quite good, and the double 1st/17th green works well for both holes. The Road-hole 9th green is another effective target.
Despite its problems, the Shirley Links is a fun course to play and worth a look for those visiting Christchurch and disappointed with the modern golf on offer.