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Whether you are after a pristine resort style course, a rugged yet elegant layout or immaculate amenities and surroundings, Queenstown New Zealand has golfing options for everyone.
Queenstown is rapidly becoming a year-round international golf destination where it’s easy to find the perfect round. Local courses The Hills and Millbrook Golf Resort host The New Zealand Golf Open, so the international golfing spotlight is now firmly shining on the region – and for good reason.
During a recent family visit to Queenstown I enjoyed some time at three of its best courses: Jack’s Point, The Hills Golf Course and Millbrook Golf Resort. They're each very different and all are worth a visit.
Millbrook Golf Resort
The Sir Bob Charles-designed Millbrook course is considered by many to be one of the world's finest alpine golf courses. The recently-added Coronet Nine makes this is a truly spectacular 27-hole offering. I was able to play The Remarkables Nine as well as The Coronet Nine.
Millbrook definitely has a resort feel about it – meandering through the property as well as some very impressive homes. But this does not take away from some truly memorable holes. As with the other courses there are stunning views on every single hole, with my standout hole coming on The Coronet side.
Hole 3 is a long and daunting, slightly downhill par 4 with a major emphasis on accuracy.
A drive down the left rewards you with a shorter shot in to the green, and if you don’t have the distance, this can force a lay-up for your second shot. A hogs-back green still makes life difficult once you are putting. Oh, and you get an amazing view of Coronet Peak from the tee box!
The spectacular course at Jack’s Point, set between The Remarkables mountain range as well as on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, combines breathtaking terrain and cutting-edge golf architecture.
The layout takes you from wetlands to rocky hillsides, from lakeside through native bush, along dry stone walls before dropping downhill towards the water-surrounded 18th hole.
There is a really rustic feel about the course with nice touches at every turn. I loved small things like the railway sleeper cart paths as well as old fences and gates.
Every hole is a 'wow' moment, and each one feels very individual. You don’t even see many of the other holes with the course's interesting routing, which feels like a large loop away and then back to the impressive clubhouse.
As hard as it was to choose a favourite hole, I could not look past the stunning short 7th hole which drops steeply downhill to an infinity green which is backed by a massive drop-off down to Lake Wakatipu.
This plays a lot shorter than its yardage and you have to trust having the correct club in your their hand. I could not imagine playing this hole on a windy day!
The Hills Golf Course
Regarded as New Zealand’s most exclusive golf club, The Hills, like Millbrook, is situated in the former gold mining town of Arrowtown and is owned and operated by New Zealand Entrepreneur and Jeweller, Sir Michael Hill.
Set in the beautiful Wakatipu Basin with amazing views of the Remarkables, Coronet Peak as well as The Crown Range, everything about the golf course is just stunning – from the drive in, to the stylish contemporary clubhouse with five star hospitality, to the breathtaking views of all the surrounding mountain ranges and uniquely different holes.
A major feature of The Hills which you don’t see on any other golf course in the world is the distinctive sculptures and artwork designed by Mark Hill (son of Michael Hill) as well as other New Zealand and International artists.
None of these sculptures feel out of place and you often find yourself admiring them rather thinking about your next shot!
The design of The Hills is extremely well balanced, there are no parallel fairways and no two holes are alike. The course is fair for the average golfer but can be made very challenging for the tour player with many 'risk-reward' holes.
The signature hole is the 17th, christened 'The Canyon' – a 506 metre dogleg right, arching round a huge beach bunker that borders a lake. Your approach shots need to then be threaded between two giant imposing rocky outcrops.
But my standout hole for sheer beauty and challenge goes to the par 3, 4th hole. A 180m monster off the back tee with water in front and on the right with an unbelievable view of the crown range in the background.
Be sure to put Queenstown on your list of golfing destinations, if it's not already there, because you will not be disappointed!