The Golfing World's Premium Art Gallery
The Round Up
Location: Arrowtown, Otago
Green Fees: $1,000
Kiwi Caddy’s First Tee Advice: Fairly comfy tee shot to let one fly down the hill!
The Takeaways: Plenty of moments of excellence throughout, Strong undulating land with plenty of elevation changes, Strong bunkering and greenside protection, Purely conditioned
The 5th is a long par 4, slight dogleg right which leaves you an approach over the lake.
The drivable downhill par 4 15th is a fantastic hole, giving an option to have a crack at the green over marshland and heavy bunkering, or safely lay up to the right hand side.
The 17th is a long, uphill par 5 requiring a tee shot left of a huge bunker, leaving an approach which splits two rock faces to an elevated green.
To simply throw The Hills into a bucket of golf courses would be wrong. The Hills has been set up as one of the most unique and unusual experiences in the world of golf, an extremely special balance has been cut of exclusivity, artistry and some of New Zealand’s most dramatic golfing terrain. It’s a special place to spend time, and no matter where you are on the property there is bound to be something which catches your eye, makes you think and makes you smile.
Owner Michael Hill is a well-publicized art enthusiastic and he has used The Hills as his personal gallery, placing beautifully random sculptures all over the course. Groups of horses, dragonfly seemingly floating over a pond, a samurai fighting off a pack of wolves and my personal favourite- an enormous bloke perched up in a chair by the first green! It’s unusual, it’s fun and provides a distinctive sense of place to a fantastic golf course.
The artistry at The Hills is fantastic, but it won’t distract you from just how good the golf course is. This is far from a resort style golf course and occupying some drastically rolling terrain perfect for golf, the routing weaves through valleys and over hills, integrating ponds, streams and some excellent strategic bunkering. The layout features a strong dosage of variety in hole structure and length, and there is a nice integration of shorter holes amongst some of the longer par 4s and 5s.
Elevation changes add natural variety to tee shots and approaches, as do bold fairway and greenside contouring, with a sprinkling of blind shots for good measure. Each hole across the routing has something to recommend and there’s always something to be said for that, whether it be the green complex, the risk-reward tee shot or the strategic greenside protection.
The golf course is fair, not excessively punishing and rewards good golf shots. Promoting creativity, the course doesn’t utilize too many forced carries and offers opportunities to run the balls up to the green, there is also a decent amount of width available off the tee which opens up some strategic angling. Green complexes have plenty of intrigue, and the edges of greens are cut tight, making the sharp run-off areas, combined with the well thought out bunkering the flag’s best defense, making approach shots from the wrong side of the hole far less favourable.
The conditioning of the course is as good as anything you will find, fairways are like carpet, the greens roll true and fast, and the gorgeous white sanded bunkers offer nothing but friendly lies.
There are a number of moments of excellence throughout the round. The par 5 17th hole plays straight uphill through a valley, requiring a tee shot thread through two rock faces, avoiding perhaps the largest bunker in New Zealand! The downhill tee shots at the 18th and driveable 15th are a thrill, the approach on number 5 across the lake and the par 3 16th across the stream certainly get the heart rate up, whilst the drivable fifth offers plenty of options off the tee! There’s plenty to love about the layout, and shots you will always remember.
Consistent with the other great courses in the Arrowtown area, The Hills offers some of the best scenery in the golfing world. Significant elevation changes provide perfect viewing platforms for the Remarkables mountain range which frequents as a phenomenal backdrop. It’s a beautiful place to be all year round.
A one-time experience at The Hills will reportedly run you $1,000NZD, that’s a hefty bill. What I will say, is that if you’re in the area and have the money, I’m not sure you will ever regret the experience on offer. The golf is fantastic, hospitality elite, and it may be the greatest art gallery in the golfing world.
Booking a Tee Time
Easiest way to book a tee time is to fill in the form HERE and request one. I would suggest requesting as early as possible!
Best Golf Nearby
- Jack's Point
- Millbrook (Remarkables)
- Millbrook (Coronet)
- Arrowtown Golf Club