Chamberlain Park Golf Course. This 18-hole public course in a parkland is a five-minute drive off Northwestern Motorway (Route 16) from the city. It's a popular course with open fairways, controlled rough, and big old specimen trees. The course is popular with the first tee at 6 am. Because it is publicly owned you don't need membership anywhere else to play, but call ahead to book because Chamberlain Park is busy. The club shop rents clubs, shoes, and carts. It's one of the cheapest golf courses in Auckland, and because it's on volcanic rock, the course holds up in wet weather. 46 Linwood Ave., Western Springs, Auckland, Auckland, 1025. 09/815–4999; NZ$30.

Gulf Harbour Country Club. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. (some say the world's finest designer of classic golf courses), this course is about 40 minutes north of Auckland (if the traffic is flowing) on the East Coast's Whangaparaoa Peninisula. Some have called it the Pebble Beach of New Zealand and there's a dress code here: collared shirts, golf slacks or shorts, and no metal spike shoes with socks. The first nine holes are hilly while the last nine offer amazing views of the Hauraki Gulf. Winter specials are posted on the website. After a round, take a stroll around the Gulf Harbour Marina to look at the range of yachts and launches. Gulf Harbour Dr., Rodney District, Auckland, Auckland, 0930. 09/424–0971; NZ$180.

Muriwai Golf Club. A 40-minute drive (depending on traffic) northwest of the city brings you to this links course near a bird sanctuary, with outstanding views of the coast, even from the "19th hole." Because the links are on sandy soil, they can be played even if the rest of Auckland is sodden and the course is often home to tournaments and training. If your partner is not a golfer there are some great beach and forest walks close by. Coast Rd., Muriwai Beach , Auckland, Auckland, 0881. 09/411–8454; NZ$70.

Titirangi Golf Club. Designed by renowned golf architect Alister MacKenzie, this is one of the country's finest (and oldest) 18-hole courses. The club was established in 1909 and takes pride in its rolling fairways, and challenging bunkers and greens. Golfers might be distracted by the magnificent setting and specimen trees. Nonmembers are welcome to play provided they contact the course in advance (and get through the painful automated phone system). Once booked, you must show evidence of membership at an overseas club and the dress code must be adhered to. Tailored shirts and pants are a must and no beachwear of any kind is allowed. Massive road works that are due for completion in 2017 mean Titirangi can be a 50-minute drive from the city. Links Rd., Waitakere City, Auckland, Auckland, 0600. 09/827–5749; NZ$150.