Alotian - Arkansas - USA

Alotian Golf Club,
101 Alotian Drive,
Roland,
Arkansas (AR) 72135,
United States of America


  • +1 501 379 2568

  • No website available

  • 10 miles NW of Little Rock

  • Members and their guests only


Billionaire investment banker, Warren Stephens, had a golf dream and his realisation, costing a cool $18m, is the Alotian Club.

In 2001, Stephens and Tom Fazio fell head over heels in love with the undulating, sometimes hilly, Arkansas property and three years later the golf course near Little Rock opened for play.

When we say opened for play, we mean opened for private play, because this is a high-end, ultra-exclusive golf club, where you’ll need to befriend a rare Alotian member to get a game. Stick to the six degrees of separation idea and you could get lucky.

Overlooking Lake Maumelle, Tom Fazio boldly routed the nattily named Alotian course over 300 acres of steep, pine-flanked ground. The earth certainly moved here. According to reports, Stephens bought an adjoining 300-acre farm simply for the topsoil. Couple this level of investment alongside underground cooling and heating systems for the bent grass greens, with fans that keep them cool during hot weather and you know this banker is deadly serious about his golf course.

The Alotian has been open for seven years, but accolades have been slow to arrive. The reason, we think, is that Tom Fazio’s designs are not in vogue with the rating aficionados. Some think his designs are rather predictable, others prefer a lighter design style. However, if you’ve played the Alotian, you might be impressed.

Measuring a hefty 7,405 yards from the back tees (there five separate teeing areas on some tees) and featuring 100-foot elevation changes, this is a course and property to rival Augusta. Ironically Stephens is a member at the famous Augusta National and we suspect Alotian is his Arkansan nod to the most famous course in America.

Little Rock is the name of the signature hole at Alotian Club. The 6th is distinctly reminiscent of Juniper (Augusta’s par three 6th). Little Rock measures 210 yards from the back plate and the tee shot must carry across a rock-strewn valley to an offset green that is cut into the hillside some 60 feet below the tee box. It’s a cracker.

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Description: Billionaire investment banker, Warren Stephens, had a golf dream and his realisation, costing a cool $18m, is the Alotian Club. Rating: 7.2 out of 10 Reviews: 6
TaylorMade
Mark White

Upon its opening in 2004, The Alotian Club received recognition as it immediately broke into Golf Digest’s top 50 golf courses in the USA. The course is also known for its exclusivity due to its owner and a small membership. This notoriety and privacy likely has possibly hurt the assessment of the golf course. Several people I know say it’s one of the more over-rated courses they have played. Yet I believe that is because one’s expectations are influenced to unreasonable levels by that Golf Digest ranking and the difficulty in assessing the course. Indeed, the other major golf magazines in the USA do not include it in their top 100.

As for me, I think it is a very fine golf course although not in the top 15 designs by Mr. Fazio. Nor do I think it is the best in the state as I liked more the Country Club of Little Rock due to the variety of its holes. Nevertheless, I suspect the people who are fortunate to be Alotian members feel very blessed due to the tranquility and beauty of the course. One feels completely relaxed on this golf course despite some greens that are perplexing as well as a few heroic tee shots and approach shots. The best golf evokes a mixture of challenge and joy and this course accomplishes both of those feelings.

The owner, Mr. Warren Stephens, enlisted the most sought after architect, Tom Fazio, to build a course somewhat modeled after Augusta National. Mr. Stephens, a member of Augusta National, also built a clubhouse and culture modeled after Augusta National. The course is one of the best conditioned courses one will ever play and the service at the club is impeccable. Despite being non-members, my friends and I were made to feel very welcome as if we were members.

There are several criticisms I have heard of the course, the first being that it is a near impossible walk due to the numerous and often steep changes in elevation. While I think one could walk it, I would not recommend it so this criticism has validity. The first holes drops 80 feet although it is downhill. The sixth hole drops a similar amount. Due to the near constant rises and falls on the course, cart paths are abundant.

A second criticism is that the course lacks strategy. The very wide fairway and lack of meaningful rough make the course become a relatively easy tee shot. The fairway bunkers are easily spotted and generally only the worst of strikes will find them. However, given the undulating nature and steep slopes on many greens, this is a second (approach) shot course and depending on the pin placement, there is strategy to knowing where to land one’s ball on the surfaces of the greens.

A third criticism is that the course has too many holes that look and feel the same. Most holes begin with an elevated tee shot downhill then back up to a green sitting on higher ground. The par 3’s all seem to be overly dramatic.

A final complaint is that the course does not offer any unique architectural features. I think this is true but it’s not something that I believe to be always a requirement for a course to be good.

I believe it is a course that the more one plays it, the more they enjoy it. What I suspect the members value about the course is it’s beauty and that one always feels like they have a chance to make par. The greens are all very well done, even if they are not exceptional. The same applies to the individual golf holes. While there are perhaps no exceptional holes, there is not a weak one on the course. There are several holes I admired, more so on the back nine, as the front nine perhaps relied too much on offsetting fairway bunkers an equal length from the tee on both sides. However, I did favor the greenside bunkering on the eighth and the fairway bunkers on the ninth, with one on the left and two placed side by side on the right for one’s tee shot to avoid.

On the back nine I liked the holes from thirteen into the finish. The thirteenth has eight greenside bunkers surrounding an odd shaped green. The long par 5 fourteenth was my favorite on the course featuring a pond on the right off the tee . The hole then doglegs sharply right with a diagonal crossing stream that continues up the right side. The fourteenth has wonderful fairway bunkering dictating the line of play for most players into a well guarded green. The fifteenth is a more gentle turn to the right with a green angled to the right. The fairway is lined on both sides with bunkers as one nears the green on this long par 4 with another well defended green in the form of three fronting bunkers. Sixteen is a longer par 3 with a stream cutting diagonally from the front down the left side of the green. The green seems to become a triangle due to a bunker on the front right, back left, and rear.. Seventeen is a long par 5 playing longer due to the elevation change. The hole gets better as you near the green due to the fairway bunkering, including a center-line bunker about 100 yards from the green. The eighteenth is a long par 4 at just over 500 yards from the back tee swinging to the left. Mr. Fazio used offsetting double bunkers on both sides of the fairway although this time the right side bunkers are about 35 yards farther ahead of the left side. My only complaint is that the green is put into the side of the hill to its right where balls hit right of the green do not have an interesting enough recovery shot.

As for privacy, I saw only a single playing the day we were there although a couple of foursomes were expected later.

It s a treat to play The Alotian Club. It reminded me of Canyata in Illinois in terms of its privacy and beauty. If one gets the chance they should definitely play it and take advantage of the club as well.

April 30, 2022
7 / 10
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Mark K

A magnificent course and a wonderful experience. Not easy by any means, well maintained and can be quite challenging.

February 14, 2021
8 / 10
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Pros: Amazing aesthetics and wow factor, near perfect conditions, an unbelievable experience, and a very memorable clubhouse.

Cons: Lacking strategy off the tee, many of the holes feel similar, and the design elements are very predictable.

Overall, I recommend that anyone take an invite to The Alotian Club. Immediately. It rightly deserves it's place in Golf Digest's list of Top 20 Most Beautiful Courses. The experience is second to none. But, as I have read before, this course could have been REALLY special given the property. The greens are fast and challenging, so having a proper angle into some of the longer holes is important. The issue is that there are just too few holes that offer big risk-reward opportunities to qualify the course for perfection.

August 22, 2019
8 / 10
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AngelDevil666

Overrated a typical Fazio design. The service was good but the course is average at best. It’s a typical Fazio course and as a previous review said don’t loose sleep over not playing here because it’s overrated. Should not be a top 100 course. Exclusivity does not mean it’s a great course if anything I was let down and highly disappointed when I played the Alotian. It’s remincent of Dallas National, Sage Valley, etc so nothing special just another over priced overrated Fazio design paid for by a wealthy individual that attempts to make up for the courses poor design with exclusivity. Disliked it so much I recently turned down another round here opting to work instead.

December 31, 2018
2 / 10
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Michael Wharton-Palmer

Lets get one thing right out the way for this course.

It is not very easily walkable..BUT..never was it meant to be and as such I do feel that as a reason to knock the course is a little harsh, but that is certainly the number one critisism about the place from we that review courses and give our opinions.

It is very upscale just as Mr Stephens wanted it to be.

Nothing regarding service is neglected everything is 100% impressive in that regard.

Wonderful greeting staff, charming folks inside the clubhouse and as an experience of how perhaps the other half live this is second to none.

the practice facility is superb and capped with a choice of balls you would like to hit, it is all very top notch.

The course conditioning matches the service in the clubhouse, immaculate to the extreme but not at the xpense of looking fake or over manicured.

The course as the first rater said is a Tom Fazio and yes it does look and play like many Fazio courses, with wide landing areas and large putting surfaces with the usual Fazio undulations and slopes.

The land flow of the course is spectacular with wonderful elevation changes and spectacular views of Lake Maumelle.

The flow of the holes is very impressive with a marvelous blend of hole lengths and looks through out, a very playable course for all abilities, everything about the course is exactly the way the opwner wanted it to be, so from that perspective it is wonderful.

BUT....

I agree 100% this marvelous piece of property in the hands of somebody else, somebody less predictable could have been one of "those" courses that everybody talks about....as it is ..It is one of those Club EXPERIENCES everybody talks about because that part of a visit here is mind blowing. So the number of balls checked below is for the entire experience knock one and a half off for the course alone.

August 29, 2016
10 / 10
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Fergal O'Leary

Numerous challenging elevated tee shot to an up-sloping fairway with an uphill approach to an elevated green with a false front. Conditioning is excellent along with the high standards. One of the country’s most exclusive clubs with world class service and a famous caddymaster.

December 21, 2015
8 / 10
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