Jack's Point - South Island - New Zealand

Jack’s Point Golf,
McAdams Drive,
Jack's Point,
Queenstown,
New Zealand


  • +64 3 450 2050

  • John Griffin

  • John Darby

  • Andrew Dorsey

John Darby has undoubtedly become one of the key figures in contemporary golf course architecture in New Zealand. There are fine tracks such as Millbrook, Clearwater, and The Hills already tucked away in his portfolio, but with the unveiling of his newest creation, Jack’s Point, in late 2008, he has arguably surpassed all of his previous projects.

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, Darby was blessed with some wonderful golfing land, amongst the tussock grasslands, rocky outcrops, steep bluffs, and native bush. He is purported to have followed a design principle of minimal excavation, using the integral features of the land as much as possible.

The result is a modern throwback to classic, naturalistic architecture – seemingly influenced by courses such as Sand Hills and Ballyneal, but with a clear Central Otago flavour. The Jack’s Point routing takes the golfer from wetlands to rock-infested hillside, from lakeside through native bush, skirting dry stone walls before plunging downhill towards the water-fringed closer.

Difficult as it is to single out any individual holes for praise, it is hard to ignore the eye-catching short 7th which plunges steeply downhill to an infinity green that’s backed by a drop-off down to Lake Wakatipu. The challenge for the first-time visitor is to trust that he or she has the right club in hand, with no visual references or perspective to guide them (and that’s on a still day!).

Aesthetically, the final touches at Jack’s Point are natural and rather rustic, while the surrounding scenery must be some of the best in the golfing world. But it is the design as a whole that impresses – it has hidden depth, which reveals itself to you on repeat visits and is an incredible golfing journey.

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Reviews for Jack's Point

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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: 5.6 out of 6 Reviews: 16

I had high expectations on playing Jack’s Point, and the experience did not disappoint for a minute.

Jack’s Point was our only course in the South Island during our AUS/NZ golf trip. It is very conveniently located a 20 min ride from the Queenstown International Airport. Golf apart, the place is a destination in itself, and we were glad to stay and catch a glimpse the next day.

All the superlatives have been used in the comments below about the site and they are well deserved. The setting is probably among the most beautiful you can find for a mountain course. It is reminiscent of Banff Springs or Jasper in Alberta, which naturally come to mind : moderately hilly grounds surrounded by majestic mountains in the backdrop.

The course starts slowly with holes 1 to 4 taking you uphill towards the Wakatipu lake that you cannot see. The stretch from hole 5 to 8 was my favourite, with fantastic views on the lake. The tee shot on the par 3 7th hole, where you aim at a downhill green with the blue waters of the Wakatipu lake in the background, is perhaps my favourite. I found the lay out does justice to the surroundings and the return nine are fun and interesting as well, with perhaps the risk-reward par 4 15th to single out. The downhill drive on 16th, with the Remarkables in the background, is another highlight.

There is a 19th hole, a par 3 close to the 17th tee box.

A must play.

6 / 6
Jack's Point
April 04, 2018


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This is as good as it gets.

Its difficult to find words that do justice to this setting. You're playing right at the feet of the Remarkables mountain range. This means that even on the holes that don't look out over the majestic Lake Wakatipu, its feels like you're in some sort of fantasy land. You have to see it.

The environment is so good that it seems like some 'purists' want to trick themselves into believing that the course design is average. They want to think that the course is just a nice gimmick to be played once or twice. In reality, its a great layout that forces a variety of shots and approaches among the dramatic rocky outcrops and plentiful tussock. Perhaps these people are jealous that apparently the lucky few living in the attached residential development are the only people allowed to join for roughly thousand bucks a year, and play at a fantasy course as much as they like. That's peanuts for something like this. OK, now I'm jealous too.

I note Jack's is currently ranked 6th on this site, but last year Australian Golf Digest ranked it as number two in NZ, second only to Tara Iti. And its much less of a hassle to get a game here.

All the very best lads

6 / 6
Jack's Point
September 22, 2017


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Jack’s Point is no doubt the most famous course in Queenstown. It is 100% all about the nature and spectacular views. The course has been set up for real-estate project and over the years I’m sure more and more houses will spring up. This hopefully explains the rather strange routing that takes you straight up a fairly steep hill then over the top to maximize lake and Jack's Point Golf Course - Photo by reviewer mountain views. The opinions are varied but the holes on the way up don’t work as well as they could for me. They act much more as connector holes as opposed to unique holes that contribute to solid architectural significance.

The main entertainment in the beginning of the course if you have nice weather is the small airport next to the course at the bottom of the hill that caters to skydivers and has a steady stream of little planes taking off and climbing rapidly creating a fair bit of noise and distraction, then you hear the screams of the skydivers as they jump out of the planes above the course. Once up on top of the hill there are 3 holes along the cliffs/waterfront that have some of the most amazing views you will be treated to on a golf course. Architecturally the holes are average resort course holes but the view is all world and that makes up for a lot. Naturally the golf is still fun, just not really special.

Jack's Point Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

As if the lake and mountain views were not enough as soon as you work your way back over away from the lake you are treated to the complete awesomeness that is the Remarkables. This is the jagged mountain range rising straight up just out of Queenstown. This can be compared to something like being in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with the Grand Tetons rising straight up into the sky on the outskirts of town.

While the hole number eludes me at the moment it’s amazing to watch your ball fly with the Remarkables in the background, a well struck ball is so easy to follow with that backdrop and seems to fly forever. For me the two best holes on the course were the risk reward par 5 15th hole and their new par 3 19th hole which is located between the 16th and 17th holes. Fact is the 19th hole might be the best hole on the course and oddly enough takes on a completely different style to the rest of the course.

I realize this doesn’t sound like a great review however, there is no way you can visit Queenstown and not play Jack’s Point. It’s one of the most surreal setting you will ever golf in and that’s priceless.

3 / 6
Jack's Point
September 18, 2017


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Have played a couple times many years ago before the price rise ,would be great if they gave a discount for local GC members ..I would certainly like to play again on special (or if I was feeling rich)...

At the time I played to a 18 HC ....I found it much harder than it's course rating ( losing 5 balls along the way) compared to say Millbrook ..

One must use a cart unless you're extremely fit...

Condition of course nothing short of spectacular much like the views

Wouldn't bother on a high wind day as Jack's Point location gets hammered by the wind..

5 / 6
Jack's Point
February 06, 2017


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While the North Island has by far the superior golf, the South Island gifts us with a snow-capped mountainous landscape of Hollywood proportions. Jack's Point - photo by Karen Sitting at the base of Queenstown mountain range known as “The Remarkables”, the South Island showcases some commendable golf courses too. Jack’s Point, designed by John Darby, will be the most awe-inspiring course you’ll ever play. People will look at photographs and think it’s fake, but it’s really that perfect. You’re essentially playing golf in a Lord of the Rings movie set. Your head will be on a swivel looking at the enormous mountains that tower over you and Lake Wakatipu. It’s arguably the most sensational, almost surreal, setting for a golf course. Thankfully the layout is pretty good too!

Fergal O’Leary returns to the land down under

5 / 6
Jack's Point
January 22, 2017


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Jack's Point Golf Course is set in a valley between the Remarkable Mountains and Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island. The course was designed in 2008 by Kiwi John Darby who studied golf and landscape architecture at Harvard. After seeing what he designed here, I would say he graduated magna cum laude. Darby's design philosophy is an interesting one, "look hard, play easy." Like my experience at Sand Hills, playing at Jack's Point was more than a round of golf, it changed my perspective. Jack’s Point has one of my favorite holes, the unconventional 15th which the golfer first sees when they walk over the crest of the hill. There is a hand-fitted rough-hewn stone wall, over which sits a 383-yard uphill dogleg right par-4 gem. The tee box is built above a high meadow and the golfer must hit a forced carry over it, to a long fairway set at an angle to the tee box, over a sheep paddock. The 15th is a classic risk-reward hole that dares the golfer to take an aggressive line left, with a severe penalty for missing. The South Island is other worldly and raises the human spirit, elevates your mood and leaves your yearning to come back for more. It is easy to overuse superlatives when describing top golf courses, but New Zealand’s South Island has such stunning unspoiled beauty even without any golf. The air is unimaginably pure, the water seems bluer than other water, and the natural lakes in the region look like they were airbrushed in. Jack’s Point takes advantage of its location in the midst of a mountain range—appropriately called “The Remarkables”—to a degree that is almost inconceivable, and I will take the pleasant memories of visiting with me to the grave.

John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs

5 / 6
Jack's Point
November 11, 2016


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CW Jones
January 16, 2017

I have just played Jack's Point on a very windy day. Yes, the course has wonderful panoramas and many fine golf holes but I rate it below many other courses for enjoyment levels for mid to high handicappers. Many fairways are generously wide with nice risk-reward balances with bunkering or a stone wall (which becomes a ha-ha) or other features. The quality of the fairways is typical of the six courses played to date on the tour: excellent. The greens were quite fast and true. When the wind didn't interfere, the ball rolled very nicely. What are the downsides? It is "cart course", hence playing here is not sport but a mere pastime. With the wind up, some exposed and sloping greens were ridiculously perfidious. On some fairways, the first cut swallowed balls which then took some finding thus a slow round seemed inevitable. With some blind sections, (especially on one par five) there were no markers to indicate a target line. Hence, one hit blind or my wasting time scouting ahead twice on the hole. All of these are easily fixed. For me, Millbrook and Queenstown (Kelvin Heights) are far better fun, good exercise (good for us near 70-year olds) and fairer challenges. I am glad I played the course and I would not discourage others from doing so. Yet, I am unlikely to bother the next time. For me, the greatest yardstick course for great golf for all ages and handicaps is Royal Melbourne West in Australia. Would that all designers examined its playability, yet its difficulty.

Since first seeing the pictures of this course a few years ago, I was sure it would have to get played if the opportunity arose, and thankfully it did. This is one of the most spectacular settings for a course you will ever see and the scenery is definitely on a par with the likes of Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers, albeit more of an alpine experience. NZ certainly makes visually stunning courses. The course itself does not disappoint. The opening hole is a gentle but interesting introduction of what is to come, followed by 3 holes up to the summit of the hill. Although it is a bit of a trek up there and the approaches to the par 4 2nd and 4th may feel a bit similar, they are still good golf holes in their own right, though maybe making up the weaker section of the course, in relative terms. The 5th is a lovely dogleg par 5 that exposes the fantastic views but also offers a good, risk reward opportunity for being more aggressive off the tee. The fairways are fairly generous but stray off them and you willJack's Point Golf Course - Photo by reviewer be punished by very long grass. 6 in my view is the first world class hole, a short par 4 down to the lake that again asks the question of how aggressive you want to be off the tee. The par 3 seventh is visually stunning with its infinity green perched high above the lake, though perhaps seeing and hearing about this hole prior to playing it removed some of the wow factor that I was expecting. The 8th is strong par 5 with a tough second to an elevated and blind green past some well positioned bunkers and the 9th is just a good, long and tough golf hole ( and did remind me a bit of the 12th at Nairn as a previous post notes) I think the back 9 offers more in terms of strategic golf with positioning being key off the tee on 10 and 12. The impressive par 3 11th sandwiched between them. Looking back on the par 3s, I felt there was a good variety of shots required and actually preferred the challenges of 3, 11 and 13 to the signature 7th. My favourite hole would certainly be the 15th with the wall along the left acting as a fascinating hazard to avoid and again influences your tee shot with bunkers right taking the overly cautious bail out. A lovely interpretation of the cape style hole. The 18th, a little reminiscent of Kinloch with its lake down the left side is incredibly tough off the backs and deserving of its number 1 rating. I enjoyed it although it maybe isn’t too in keeping with the rest of the course. It’s the sort of heroic finishing hole that more modern ‘championship’ venues seem to favour these days. So overall the course is very strong and I’m sure it’s a must play if you are anywhere near Queenstown, probably the south island for that matter.. It reminded me a lot of Jack Nicklaus’s Kinloch on the North Island with its rugged bunkering and the style of some of the holes. I think its position just behind Kinloch is justified as it just lacked a few of the world class holes that the Taupo track has I feel that (like Kinloch) if it were in the USA or the UK it would be a world top 100 course, suppose it just needs more people to get there.
5 / 6
Jack's Point
April 18, 2014


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dave larder
February 22, 2015
4 of us played Jacks point 9th & 13 Feb 2015, Queenstown NZ 8,9,10 & 13 handicappers. If windy forget it, both days balls blowing off many greens, turning 90deg + in air. Green fees Expensive for unplayable conditions. Course is spectacular, but don’t waste your money if it is windy.
without a doubt my #1 favorite golf destintion, have played there 12 times in the last 2 years .only downside $200 for the 1st round even though you might play 5 times in week. no discounts. the kiwi rips the aussie!
6 / 6
Jack's Point
July 18, 2013


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Four years after my first two visits, I was back at this stunning wedge of land. And I can’t really report anything different – I stand by my assertion that this is a track worthy of comparison with all but the very best in the world (or certainly, my experience of the world’s top courses). I’m aware that there is divided opinion out there, but it mostly seems to centre around whether that person insists on seeing the base of the flag. Yes, the early stretch (2-4) can feel like a bit of an uphill slog, but you need to get over the hill to get to the good land on the other side. I actually felt that the short third was a better hole than I remember, particularly the green – you can’t see all of it, but the angled tier is perfectly visible for you to know what shot you need to hit. I’d only say that 2 and 4 ask the same questions (drive as far as possible to leave the steepest angle of attack to a green protected by a deep bunker positioned front middle), and that feels a little repetitive.Jack's Point Golf Course - Photo courtesy of Jack's Point

The rest of the round has no such issues with diversity – there’s an abundance of thrilling shots to be played, but rarely the same thrill each time. A drive into a narrow tongue of land to reach a par 5 in two, a fairway wood over huge bunkers, a forced carry par-3, a stone wall providing a Cape effect off the tee, and the famous long-drop short 7th to its infinity green.

As with most places, I noticed some more subtle design features as I visited new areas of the course on my repeat visit. I gained more respect for the harmless looking short par 4 6th – in avoiding the more obviously penal drop off to the left, I learned that the opposite mistake was almost as hard to salvage,due to the greenside bunkering and right to left camber of the putting surface. I came to appreciate the tightly shaved green surrounds, and the highly taxing chipshots they presented (e.g. the 8th), and I noticed the green tilt on #14, that rewards the counterintuitive lay-up (aim WAY left).

There’s been some slight changes in course presentation, and I found them positive. The unnecessary thicker collar of rough half way up the 2nd fairway has gone, leaving a first cut that’s present purely because of the high traffic through that narrow gap. And the rough is much less penal now in certain places – most noticeable on the early holes (the wetlands around the turn still hold some extremely severe rough, marked as lateral water).

Rightly sits atop our South Island rankings, in my opinion. May stay there for some time…. Matt Richardson
6 / 6
Jack's Point
February 01, 2013


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We had the bonus of playing Jack's Point on the morning following a dump of snow on the mountains. The views were spectacular and the course was of a high quality both as regards maintenance and presentation. There are a number of memorable holes and some testing shots to be played. The clubhouse is very impressive. The only one minor quibble was the claim of the pro that this was a links course - it is not. The rough is very long and the bunkers a little unkempt round the edges as at some links courses, but the fairways and greens are not links style. We would, though, jump at the chance of playing the course again.
6 / 6
Jack's Point
February 24, 2012


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