Arrowtown Golf Club
Short, Quirky Fun through Perfect Land
The Round Up
Location: Arrowtown, Otago
Green Fees: NZ Affiliate: $65, Overseas: $140
Kiwi Caddy’s First Tee Advice: Use the bank on the right to funnel your ball to the fairway
The Takeaways: Incredible land formations for golf, Small & crafty green complex, Outstanding variety, Well executed bunkerless greenside protection, Fun!
The 11th is a cracking par 5 with the tee shot playing through a narrow valley which kicks balls down to the fairway
The par 4 12th is another tight tee shot through a valley with an approach shot to a raised punchbowl green with a drastic drop-off at the front
The 9th is the hardest par 4 on the course, playing to a narrow fairway sloping towards the water. Approach to an elevated green with steep drop-offs left!
If there was a pure fun scale for golf courses, Arrowtown Golf Club may well break it, and in terms of natural land diversity the course is untouchable in New Zealand. The course is short, it’s neat, cleverly routed across two tight parcels of land- nine holes either side, and by combining bold use of land formations and dynamic shaping of greens, the course is an absolute pocket-rocket with shot values off the charts.
The land at Arrowtown was built for golf and traversing the eighteen hole routing takes you through tight valleys, over exposed boulders and over the top of mounds and gorges. It’s pretty clear that not a lot (If any) dirt was moved in the creation of the golf course. The course plays firm and fast, balls run and the ground game is beautifully well received- a thrilling way to play the game.
The holes are short, fairways are narrow and the greens are small yet packed with craft and nuance. Variety in the layout is driven by the scale of the land formations and changes in elevation, alongside mixing up hole lengths, shapes and angles. The course asks questions of you every shot, and there are few courses I have played which offer so many routes to get the ball in the hole. With plenty of risk-reward par 4s and 5s on offer, there is a boatload of strategy involved to play the course well and for the most part leaving driver in the bag is the best option, but boy is it tempting! Full of character, the course is quirky in the most intelligent way possible!
From an architectural standpoint, Arrowtown’s greens and surrounds are what makes it so great. Green complexes are widely varied with punchbowls, discrete slopes, kickpoints both ways and multi-tiers which create some intriguing pin positions and exciting approach shots.
Protection of the greens is highly unique and without a bunker in sight Arrowtown leans into its firm and fast conditioning, opting for tightly mown and sharp run-off areas around the greens, adding some more friendly backstopping and mounding which kicks the ball towards the hole. Approach shots are thrilling and often after hitting one, you can’t help but throw another one down to attempt a different route.
The fact that I haven’t even mentioned the scenery tells you exactly how good the golf course is. Surrounded by dramatic mountain ranges, visually the course is off the charts, and every bit as good as the more famous courses next door.
Arrowtown is a golf course is one which I could play a thousand times over and not get bored, it gives off the impression that no two days plays the same and simply altering pin positions will completely change the strategic approach to many holes. The variety in the layout, as well as the diversity in the questions the land asks you and the shots it requires you to hit makes for an unforgettable round of golf.
Sure the front nine is inherently not quite as excellent as the back as a result of the extremely dramatic land on the back side, but the golf holes remain engaging, strategic and fun. Arrowtown is a golf course that shouldn’t be overlooked in New Zealand’s landscape, and for pure enjoyment it may well lead the way!
Booking a Tee Time
Easiest way to book a tee time is to fill out the booking form and request one. During peak season it may be worth requesting a month or so in advance to secure a spot!
Best Golf Nearby
- Millbrook (Coronet)
- Millbrook (Remarkables)
- The Hills
- Jack's Point