South Island

The South Island is arguably the more dramatic of the two main islands of New Zealand – there are few more beautiful places on the planet. A lap of the island will see you take in fjords, mountains, glaciers, rainforest, vineyards, incredible beaches and stunning lakes, all within an area around the size of England. However, with a population of just over one million, it is fifty times less crowded.

Unpopulated until Maori arrived around 500 years ago, European (and Chinese) people started arriving in numbers around the time of the gold rushes of the 1860s, and it is soon after this that golf arrived on the island, with the Otago Golf Club in Dunedin being the first, established in 1871. Nowadays, the undoubted hub of quality golf courses is Queenstown – our top three South Island courses are all to be found near this stunning lakeside destination.

Our South Island rankings were last updated in March 2017.

Top 100 Golf Courses - South Island

Jack's Point

1st South Island - Best in Area

The golf course at Jack’s Point is nestled between 2,300 vertical metres of the saw-toothed, razorback Remarkables mountain range and the majestic Lake Wakatipu to the east...

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The golf course at Jack’s Point is nestled between 2,300 vertical metres of the saw-toothed, razorback Remarkables mountain range and the majestic Lake Wakatipu to the east... Rating: 5.5333333333333 out of 6

The Hills

2nd South Island - Best in Area

The Hills is billed as New Zealand’s most exclusive golf club and it’s located in the former gold mining town of Arrowtown. It therefore seems appropriate that the course is owned and operated by a jeweller.

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The Hills is billed as New Zealand’s most exclusive golf club and it’s located in the former gold mining town of Arrowtown. It therefore seems appropriate that the course is owned and operated by a jeweller. Rating: 5.3333333333333 out of 6

Arrowtown

3rd South Island - Best in Area

The course at Arrowtown Golf Club is a little masterpiece with fairways threaded through tiny valleys, between boulders, or over gorges with greens nestling snugly into hillsides.

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The course at Arrowtown Golf Club is a little masterpiece with fairways threaded through tiny valleys, between boulders, or over gorges with greens nestling snugly into hillsides. Rating: 4.4 out of 6

Millbrook (Arrow & Coronet)

4th South Island - Best in Area

Created by John Darby and Bob Charles, the course at the Millbrook Resort opened in 1992 – seven years before its co-designer, the 1963 Open Champion, was knighted.

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Created by John Darby and Bob Charles, the course at the Millbrook Resort opened in 1992 – seven years before its co-designer, the 1963 Open Champion, was knighted. Rating: 4 out of 6

Southland

5th South Island - Best in Area

The location of Southland Golf Club’s Oreti Sands course is about as peripheral as it gets on the golfing map, seeing as it lies at one of the most southerly points on New Zealand’s South Island...

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The location of Southland Golf Club’s Oreti Sands course is about as peripheral as it gets on the golfing map, seeing as it lies at one of the most southerly points on New Zealand’s South Island... Rating: 5.3333333333333 out of 6

Christchurch

6th South Island - Best in Area

The Christchurch Golf Club has a history stretching back to 1873 and according to our records it's the second oldest golf club in New Zealand.

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The Christchurch Golf Club has a history stretching back to 1873 and according to our records it's the second oldest golf club in New Zealand. Rating: 4 out of 6

Terrace Downs

7th South Island - Best in Area

The 550 acres of the Terrace Downs Resort are set in the foothills of the Southern Alps, an hour’s drive from Christchurch, on the edge of the Canterbury Plains.

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The 550 acres of the Terrace Downs Resort are set in the foothills of the Southern Alps, an hour’s drive from Christchurch, on the edge of the Canterbury Plains. Rating: 4 out of 6

Clearwater

8th South Island - Best in Area

Designed by John Darby and Bob Charles, Clearwater Golf Club hosted the New Zealand Open championship in 2011 and 2012.

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Designed by John Darby and Bob Charles, Clearwater Golf Club hosted the New Zealand Open championship in 2011 and 2012. Rating: 4.3333333333333 out of 6

Pegasus

9th South Island - Best in Area

Pegasus Golf & Sports Club may be the new golf course on the block (opened for play in Dec 2009) but it has already hosted the Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open twice.

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Pegasus Golf & Sports Club may be the new golf course on the block (opened for play in Dec 2009) but it has already hosted the Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open twice. Rating: 5 out of 6

Otago

10th South Island - Best in Area

In 1893, the first New Zealand Amateur Championship was staged at Otago, and the Golf Club has hosted this tournament on ten further occasions.

Read More >>

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: In 1893, the first New Zealand Amateur Championship was staged at Otago, and the Golf Club has hosted this tournament on ten further occasions. Rating: 4 out of 6