Arrowtown - South Island - New Zealand

Arrowtown Golf Club,
166 Centennial Avenue,
Arrowtown,
New Zealand


  • +64 3 442 1719

  • Steve Paape

  • Reg Romans and B.V. Wright

  • Willie Moore

Arrowtown Golf Club is literally situated next door to the New Zealand Open venue, The Hills, and is just around the corner from Millbrook. Arrowtown is too short to host a modern-day professional pro tournament as it measures only 5,915 yards (5,409m) long, but the course is very enjoyable and is set in spectacular scenery. Perhaps the phrase ‘golfing gem’ was coined for this course?

Arrowtown originally began in 1911 as a 6-hole course, although this club was later disbanded. Then, in 1935, twelve people formed a new club and acquired 90 acres of land on the Arrowtown-Arrow Junction Road. This was developed the hard way with rakes, wheelbarrows and hand mowers, and once formed had to be maintained by members. This original 9-hole course opened for play in 1936 and was designed by Reg Romans – the first secretary of the Arrowtown Golf Club – and B.V. Wright. In 1971 the club acquired new land on the opposite side of the road and nine further holes were laid out, again under advice provided by B.V. Wright.

The end result is a little masterpiece with fairways threaded through tiny valleys, between boulders, or over gorges with greens nestling snugly into hillsides.

In recent years the club has undertaken some major developments including new fairway and green irrigation systems which were completed in 2001. The clubhouse was also upgraded at the same time and now offers spectacular views over the front nine and the mountains beyond.
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Reviews for Arrowtown

Av. Reviewers Score:

The jewel in the South Island’s crown from a golfing perspective is Arrowtown Golf Club. It’s a short bundle of fun that flies under the radar of its more famous neighbours: Arrowtown Golf Club - photo by Fergal The Hills and Millbrook Resort. After Tara Iti and Paraparaumu Beach, I confidently hold Arrowtown in my top 3 favourite courses to play in New Zealand.

Despite its short length, the tight fairways and seemingly unbelievable landing areas, this mountainous terrain will get your heart racing. It’s the type of golf course where you’d love to learn the game and can’t wait to step back onto the 1st tee.

Fergal O’Leary returns to the land down under

January 22, 2017


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Great front nine but the back nine outside the 18th doesn't really rate compared so many courses I've played in the lower south Island that didn't even make the top25 ....like say "te anau" ...

Some of the fastest greens I've ever played on ... at times during the summer you can forget about going for green further out than a nine iron etc without seeing the ball roll to the other end ...esp the 2nd hole par 5

11th 12th ....very basic holes you could play on any country nine hole course ..

I would rate below the likes of Kelvin Heights ,,,but on par with the likes of cromwell locally ..

October 01, 2016


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Back to Arrowtown four years after my first visit. I remembered it as being some of the best fun one can have on a golf course, and I still feel that way about it. There’s a new 9th green, created by Greg Turner and Scott MacPherson around three years ago, that uses sharp mounding front right, and a right to left cambered green to try and entice you to hit the risky left side of the fairway off the tee. I think this small injection of strategic choice into the round is a move in the right direction, as if there’s one thing Arrowtown definitely lacks, it’s width off the tee, meaning that your route to the green can be rather decided for you. I wouldn’t say that this is a fault of the design; it’s just such a small piece of land. One exception is the hugely quirky 4th; a short par-4 that offers some width short and left off the tee, but leaves you with an utterly blind medium to short iron. The alternative is a sliver of fairway at about 250m, which will give you an easy (although still semi-blind) wedge in.

As one of the pros put it, this can be golf played from island to island. Arrowtown Golf Course - Photo by reviewerThis type of golf can get a little tiresome usually, but at Arrowtown, it seems hugely fun. It’s hard to pin down exactly why to be honest. I think the green sites are the main reason – there’s pushed up plateaus, kickplates, tiny angled greens between mounds – so much variety. I think it also adds to the experience when you can be often wondering, ball mid-air, whether you’re going to get a crazy bounce off the schist outcrops that are dotted all over the course. I actually felt a little disappointed that I didn’t get one all day.

I’d also add a genuine question, i.e. absolutely not a criticism. A lot of the course was browned off and firm, after a couple of weeks of good weather, but the fairways and green surrounds were quite green and lush. I spent the first few holes thinking this was a mistake; that this was exactly the type of course that needed to be as firm as possible. But on reflection I am wondering if, given the narrow fairways and tiny greens, whether they could potentially overdo ‘fast and firm’, and it might start to feel like crazy golf. For example, I couldn’t see how the mound to the right of the short 14th could be used as a shoulder to play off if it were playing rock hard, and it would certainly be great fun to use it.

I think the main thrust I need to get across is that this course is utterly unique – you won’t find golf quite like this anywhere else in the world, especially the sublime front nine. If you’re coming to the Queenstown area, why not catch something different to compliment your itinerary? Is this the best course in New Zealand under 6000 yards? Has to be. Best course in the world under 6000 yards? Who knows? – I’ve never played a better one. Matt Richardson
March 17, 2014


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Matt Richardson
January 25, 2016
Just to follow on from my comments from a couple of years ago, I played Arrowtown again last week. Greens were definitely fast and firm, e.g. a well struck 9 iron still ran on 4-5 paces, but fairways were lush and not cut particularly tightly, limiting run and ensuring that it wasn't ridiculously hard to hit them. To me, it seemed the set-up fit the course perfectly - kudos to the greenkeeping staff, I feel they've got it just right.
Arrowtown is a tale of two nines; the first nine being the one you’ll remember it for. The design is ingenious – a tiny piece of land for 9 holes of golf, but each hole has wormed its way through narrow channels between tors, rocky outcrops and steep banks. You are not often aware of any other holes from the hole you’re on, which is incredible considering how tightly squeezed together the holes are. One fairway I paced at only 11 yards wide at about 200-220 yards out – this may be the narrowest, but there are none that are particularly wide. However, the contours are shaped such that many fairways are like valley floors, and drives that are not too wayward will bounce back into the fairway, making it a fairer test. However, if you’re more wayward, you’ll pitch beyond the catchment area, and be in deep trouble. Each hole is uniquely shaped, there are plenty of strategic decisions to be made from the tees, and the constant risk-reward challenges surely get the adrenaline going – you know anything wild will be staring at a double or worse, but any drive nailed will be looking good for birdie. Most of the (often tiny) greens are wickedly contoured, and nestle into hillsides or sit on plateaus. This course may not have distance (or any bunkers, I believe), but it has every other defense going. That first nine is a collection of some of the craftiest 300-350 yard holes you’ve seen, with a couple of great short holes and a cracking par five thrown in. And you won’t play golf in many more scenic corners of the earth than this.

The second nine left me feeling that it was kind of like the first nine, but less so. It’s still narrow, it still feels like an idiosyncratic little place, but there wasn’t the same interest or exhilaration as you’re continually seem to face on the front nine. But it’s no slouch either. Particularly, the 18th a great finishing hole with the fairway presenting a hell of a tricky target.

The obvious slur one could level at this course is the length, or lack of it. But that only assumes that you’d pull out the driver on every hole, which you’d do at your peril. Each hole is so tempting, there seems such benefits in that extra 30 yards – so often I found myself thinking “it widens out a bit at 250”. But it’ll find you out in the end if you constantly refuse to back down.

You get the feeling that with some serious investment, especially for bunkering and lengthening, this might rival its more illustrious neighbours. But somehow the thought of that happening leaves you with the sense that something would be lost. It should probably be left just the way it is. Matt Richardson
July 13, 2010


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Tony
June 05, 2011
Arrowtown is an absolute gem of a course with so many unique features, including the rocky outcrops in the middle of the fairways, and the hike up the hill to the 9th tee.
john murcott
October 01, 2016

Use to live 10mins drive from this course is certainly a good course but found it step down from Kelvin heights... on all fronts from course lay-out ,condition , overall golfing enjoyment...

So ended up becoming a member at KH for over 130 games ....now after shifting to cromwell ..joined the local cromwell links course ....personal I would have arrowtown marginally in front of cromwell but behind KH, and wanaka ...I can't really fathom its position unless fast greens and many straight playing holes are your thing....