The first golf course in New Zealand was established in Dunedin in 1870 and, from this beginning, the game has spread to all parts of the country. In 1893 the first amateur championship was contested. The New Zealand Golf Association, which is the governing body of the game, was formed in 1910 when it superseded the New Zealand Golf Council. The association is primarily concerned with the administration of men's amateur golf, whereas the Golf Council, formed in 1899, controlled both men's and women's clubs. Women's golf is now the concern of the New Zealand Ladies' Golf Union.
In 1903, when the first statistics of the game were compiled, there were 15 men's and 11 women's clubs affiliated to the council. By 1962 there were 321 men's clubs with a total playing membership of over 28,000.