Rock-faces, Lakes and Climbs
The Round Up
Location: Arrowtown, Otago
Green Fees: $275
Kiwi Caddy’s First Tee Advice: Fairly comfy tee shot to let one fly!
The Takeaways: Some outstanding holes which integrate the natural landscape, Severe elevation changes make for a tough walk and some dramatic tee shots, Excellent conditioning
The 6th is a par 3 which plays uphill, hugging a towering cliff to the right hand side.
The par 4 7th is a fantastic hole, with the tee shot splitting two rock faces, and the left side covered by bunkering.
The 11th is a long, uphill par 5 requiring a tee shot which splits the rocks up the middle. A blind pitch shot to the green awaits.
In January 2022 Millbrook Resort completed their development of the ‘Coronet’ Course- 18 holes developed by Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson alongside the longstanding ‘Remarkables’ course which promised to offer a completely different experience. Millbrook is a well-established resort in the Arrowtown area, with the Remarkables course previously being co-host of the NZ Open with exclusive neighbor ‘The Hills’. Upon opening to great acclaim, Millbrook’s two courses will now be the sole host of the NZ Open in 2023, speaking to how highly it is regarded in Kiwi golf circles.
Laid out with its namesake mountain in the backdrop, the Coronet 18 traverses much more rugged, undulating terrain routed through valleys, atop hills and amongst wetlands the variety in both scenery and golfing land makes for an engaging loop. Large exposed rocks and schist outcroppings add plenty of natural variety, and the distinct absence of trees presents opportunities for creative shots and plenty of paths to get the ball down – just how golf should be played!
The Coronet 18 navigates some extreme changes in elevation, a couple of walks from the fifth green to the sixth tee may best be described as hiking, which explains the resort’s decision to make carts mandatory. From a golfing perspective, the changes in elevation and deep undulations pave the way for thrilling downhill tee shots and some tricky uphill approaches.
The course meanders between naturally rugged to seamlessly slide into its surrounds, and a traditionally manicured resort course. The playing style tends to follow the aesthetic, and in my opinion the holes which naturally integrate the exposed rock and contours lend themselves to be the better golf holes, demanding more creative shots, while the more traditional resort-style holes, particularly at the back end of the round are not quite as captivating.
The highlight of the round is the two hole stretch at six and seven. The sixth is an uphill par 3 tightly squeezed into a corner of the property hugging a towering exposed rock face. The par 4 seventh demands a tee shot between two rock faces with heavy fairway bunkering left. These holes maximize the natural landscape and its drama, and in many ways speaks to what I wanted the entire course to play into! Despite this, there is plenty to love about the Coronet 18, and I think it would be fair to say every hole on the layout has something to recommend and engage the golfer.
Green complexes are large and varied, fairways are wide and playable and the scale of the property is immense! There are plenty of fun shots to be had, and I actually don’t mind the integration of the artificial water hazards across the back 9, adding a strategic element to some of the flatter land across the property. Architecturally speaking, the course won’t kick down any doors, however it has plenty of strategy to it, a mixture dramatic shots and scenery, and a fantastic variety in golf holes- no two are similar and there’s always something to be said for that!
Like many of its neighboring courses, the scenery is dramatic, awe inspiring and a downright treat to experience. There is depth and layers to every view, and watching balls soaring into the mountains and rocky faces is something to behold. The conditioning of the course is fantastic, the playing surfaces will never be an issue, and it’s plainly a fantastic place to spend time.
The Coronet 18 is leaps and bounds ahead of the Remarkables 18, and offers something more bold and captivating than a traditional resort course for much of the round. If you’re down in Queenstown this is definitely a course which shouldn’t be overlooked from both a golfing and experience perspective.
Booking a Tee Time
Easiest way to book a tee time is to email firstname.lastname@example.org and request one. During peak season it may be worth requesting a month or so in advance to secure a spot!
Best Golf Nearby
- Jack's Point
- Millbrook (Remarkables)
- The Hills
- Arrowtown Golf Club