But to fully immerse yourself in Kiwi golf culutre and appreciate the game in this beautiful land you do need to include a stop at one of its many unpretentious old country courses. There are many.... though none as charming, or quite as quirky, as Arrowtown- and certainly none that are as much fun to play. - The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses Vol. 5
Located 20 mins outside of Queenstown and near a historic and charming mining town, Arrowtown GC was built without a single bunker nor sand. However, from its humble beginnings as a series of rock schisms on land unfit for farming, the course was built into something unique and is today regarded by many as one of the most fun in New Zealand. Who needs bunkers when boulders will punish errant shots?
Dramatic undulations, exposed stone, erratic bends, fariways that run through thin valleys and a playing surfaces that never quite presents the ball flatly are all characteristics of Arrowtown GC. This comes from 9 holes dating back to the early 1900s - when they were first formed by hand cart and wheelbarrows. It was later expanded in the 1970s and today stands as a small masterpiece for its use of existing landscape for design. Precision is required and a 3-wood is recommended over a Driver in most cases.
Although a new clubhouse was built in the 2000s, Arrowtown GC still uses an honesty box should players wish to get a round in when not open. Slip your greens fees into the box and away you go. Playing this course on a beautiful autumn day allows one to appreciate the beauty of New Zealand, especially when topped off with a meal or drink in the neighboring historic mining town after the round.
1st: Par-3 A novel hole to begin the round includes a decision on whether to test your distance control off the tee or allow the ball to carrom off of a large bump/mound and chance that it feeds toward the hole.
2nd and 3rd: Both fairways play through thin valleys with walls high enough to block the sun in the morning. These are frightening, as there is stone that reminds one how unlucky they can be if a ball were to hit. to be honest, and one expects an enemy from Lord of the Rings to come from over the rise.
9th: From its raised tee this hole a great way to end the front nine and take in views of both the Crown Range and Coronet Peak.
13th: The last in a combination of a par-3 & par-4 which proceed this 500 yard par-5... placement off of the tee is needed because approach shots which are not will be met with large rocks that frame the hole. Two cherry trees protect both sides of the green. In late September/early October these trees are a living postcard with pink flowers.
18th: After playing 17 holes and biting fingernails because of all of the boulders on this course this last hole is be trouble because of the pond on the left. A raised green slopes toward the pond so a drive toward the left (but not too far to where you are in the water) is best. Right-handed players then can fade the ball onto the green. Good luck.
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