Cape Kidnappers golf course
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Cape Kidnappers golf course
Tom Doak used fingers of land to create Cape Kidnappers on New Zealand's North Island. Courtesy of Cape Kidnappers
Cape Kidnappers - clubhouse
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Cape Kidnappers - clubhouse
It's a short shuttle ride from the lodge to the Cape Kidnappers clubhouse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers golf course - 3rd hole
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Cape Kidnappers golf course - 3rd hole
The third hole at Cape Kidnappers is called "Wee 3" because it's just 155 yards from the white tees. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers G.C.
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Cape Kidnappers G.C.
Even the inland views are special at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers golf course - 6th hole
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Cape Kidnappers golf course - 6th hole
The cliffs of Cape Kidnappers emerge looking back from the sixth green. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers golf course - no. 7
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Cape Kidnappers golf course - no. 7
It's all downhill from the seventh fairway to the green at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers golf course - 8th hole
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Cape Kidnappers golf course - 8th hole
They call the eighth hole at Cape Kidnappers "Backstop." A ridge in the green can funnel the ball back toward the hole. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers golf course - hole 10
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Cape Kidnappers golf course - hole 10
The 10th hole kicks off a rousing back nine at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers golf course - 11th hole
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Cape Kidnappers golf course - 11th hole
Wind can play havoc with the par-3 11th hole at Cape Kidnappers. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers golf course - 12th hole
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Cape Kidnappers golf course - 12th hole
They call the 12th green at Cape Kidnappers an "infinity" green. In the distance, the ocean melds with the blue sky. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers golf course - hole 14
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Cape Kidnappers golf course - hole 14
It's easy to forget that Cape Kidnappers is also a working farm. A cow grazes next to the 14th green. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Kidnappers golf course - 15th hole
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Cape Kidnappers golf course - 15th hole
The 15th hole at Cape Kidnappers follows a finger of land out toward the cliffs. The par 5 is nicknamed "Pirate's Plank. Courtesy of Cape Kidnappers
Cape Kidnappers - cliffs
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Cape Kidnappers - cliffs
The Cape Kidnappers cliffs are legendary. Courtesy of Cape Kidnappers
Cape Kidnappers GC
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Cape Kidnappers GC
The views from Cape Kidnappers are marvelous. Courtesy of Cape Kidnappers
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Cape Kidnappers golf course captures the imagination on New Zealand's North Island

HAWKE'S BAY, New Zealand -- It was Captain James Cook who dreamed up the epic name Cape Kidnappers for the dramatic cliffs off the eastern coast of the North Island in 1769.

More than two centuries later in 2004, it was owner Julian Robertson and architect Tom Doak who made this natural wonder one of the world's most sought-after golf courses.

The 7,147-yard, par-71 Cape Kidnappers golf course, home of the 2008 and 2009 Kiwi Challenge with sister course Kauri Cliffs, ranks no. 33 in the world by Golf Magazine and no. 6 among the top courses outside the United States by Golf Digest.

The aerial photograph depicting fingers of land that jut out into the Pacific Ocean remains the trademark of Cape Kidnappers. Those back nine holes are hardly the only highlight, though.

The par-3 sixth traverses a deep gulley to a green that provides the first look at the cliffs up close. The par-4 12th drops to the "infinity" green perched at land's end. Two scoring holes -- the 130-yard 13th and 348-yard 14th -- follow next for those who can control their heightening senses. The "Pirate's Plank" gets narrower the closer the 650-yard, par-5 15th creeps to the green at the edge of the cliffs. The 16th tee requires two good swings, the first to reach the fairway and the second to launch a ball into the ocean, a rite of passage for every first-timer. Consider that second shot another victim kidnapped by this marvel cape.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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The Farm at Cape Kidnappers leaves a lasting impression simply by passing through the front gate. It's an isolated nine-kilometer drive to reach The Farm, a luxury lodge built in 2007 atop the summit of the 6,000-acre working farm. This five-star resort destination is not like most farms, though. It's all play -- and no work -- for guests.
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Cape Kidnappers golf course captures the imagination on New Zealand's North Island