Some courses are easier to categorise than others and Arrowtown would certainly fall into the harder basket.
It’s quirky, honed from an unusual landscape of narrow almost furrowed valleys with schist rock outcrops and sharp but small undulations. The landscape is peculiar to say the least. That said, it does hang together to provide an experience that feels both authentic and novel. The humps, hollows, folds and rocky outcrops provide and unusual but rather charming environment for golf. Tucked in the north-eastern corner of the Wakatipu basin, the surrounding vistas are still stunning if not as expansive as from its near neighbours.
But the more intimate scale shouldn’t detract. It’s less imposing than Jacks Point and less expansive than Millbrook or The Hills – but in some ways more charming because of it.
Where the Wakatipu basin is relatively lush meadowland Cromwell is arid and parched. And on the valley floor, where the golf is located within the township itself, a sand belt exists that is reminiscent of where Melbournes finest courses lie. It is rolling land with some gentle undulation, a combination of exotic trees generally allowing plenty of room to play, with occasional marram grasses to add texture.
The surrounding hills and ranges are relatively arid with only low vegetation. In many ways this could be Australia! The course itself is unpretentious, a country members course with a modest green fee that belies some really interesting golf played on excellent turf.
Towering mountains to the east, an azure blue lake to the west and below, stands of the native (and prickly) matagouri bush and outcrops of schist rock make the entire Jacks Point aesthetic experience a striking one. Anyone who doesn’t find the backdrops stunning is very hard to please! Given the nature of the climb early in the round we would recommend a cart for all of those other than the fit.
Unquestionably a must play if you are in Queenstown.
Millbrook was perhaps the first purpose built golf resort in New Zealand. In recent years it has expanded from 18 - 27 holes. While the initial golf course itself was understandably somewhat conservative in its design, the recent addition of the Coronet nine and some significant renovation of the existing holes has lifted the golf experience considerably.
The facility in general has won numerous international awards and has largely avoided the error of over-intensification of residential and hotel development.
The course is located on an old sheep farm near to the charming gold mining township of Arrowtown. The topography might be best described as gently rolling and includes a number of ponds, the sparkling clear spring fed Millstream, schist rock outcrops and an assortment of mainly exotic trees.
At the end of the Kelvin peninsula lies a headland that would, almost without doubt, be the most valuable real estate in the entire basin. All day sun, almost entirely surrounded by water (and as a consequence benefiting from the thermal influences such a large body of water provides) with stunning views in all directions – what better spot for residential development? Except instead there lies a golf course!.
Along with Arrowtown, the QGC is one of the original members’ courses. A perfect foil for the more palatial resort offerings nearby, the course is rather more humble in both design and facilities than its illustrious neighbours but still offers a very pleasant day out.
Fairly steep and rocky, the course is not an easy walk so if you aren’t looking for a cardio work out you might be better with a cart.
Queenstown doesn’t do ugly places to play golf! The Hills is not the most spectacular (probably reserved for Jacks Point) but it isn’t far off. The course spreads itself across an old deer farm in the rather large wedge between Millbrook and Arrowtown. The terrain is rolling countryside augmented with some significant rock outcrops and a spectacular canyon. The stunning natural surroundings are augmented by a number of significant sculptures – ranging from the petite to packs of wolves and statuesque horses – and the art alone is worth the stroll.
The surroundings, conditions, service and amenities are all absolutely first class. This is unashamedly exclusive golf and the course itself is solid and dependable. As a whole The Hills is a wonderful experience.
Superbly organised tour for 12 in Feb 2015 - could not have gone better. Will be in touch for the next one for sure!
Rob & Stacey briefed us well on opening night at Hole in One Café. Golf at Millbrook & Jacks Point was most worthwhile, & we were specially looked after at incomparable The Hills by Bill Shaw & Greg Turner. Memorable dinners at Amisfield & Millhouse were a reminder of the importance of accompanying service, & Saffron suffered in comparison. Millbrook accommodation was exceptional. With Arrowtown & environs, no need for Queenstown
GREAT HELP FROM ROB
Hi, 3 of us visited Queenstown recently & while I had already arranged the golf side of things, I left it very late to organise transport. In stepped Rob, who managed to secure us a hire vehicle in what was an extremely busy time in Queenstown. I'm sure if I had tried to go it alone, the Queenstown cabbies were going to make a fortune. If this is an indication of their service for something they really are not going to make anything out of, I can only imagine what efforts they would put into a group. I'm not ruling out a golfing return to the area & this time, Rob & the crew can do the work. Appreciate your help mate. Cheers