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: 8.8 out of 10 Reviews: 19
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rob wgstaff
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!
July 17, 2013
10 / 10
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Matt Richardson
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
February 01, 2013
10 / 10
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Peter Long
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.
February 24, 2012
10 / 10
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Mark
Jack's Point Golf Course - Photo by reviewerThis is a course that punches far above its weight. I loved it! I wasn't expecting it be of such high calibre! The greens complexes are excellent, the use of the land/terrain is excellent, the lake-side holes are very inspiring, and the shot qualities are top shelf. Also, the view of the Remarkables Mountain Range is right in your face! You need to look "up" at them. Fantastic. Comparable to playing in Canada on courses next to mountains (Whistler and Banff). I did notice that they are building houses out around the far reaches of the course - I guess we will have to see how that looks someday. It is possible that given some time, Jack's Point will become known globally once more intrepid international golfers make the trip.
November 23, 2011
10 / 10
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stephen anderson
This one ranks as 'best in class' meaning as good as anywhere, no fooling ,,, Check it out for yourself ,,,, ska, tucson arizona....
April 18, 2011
10 / 10
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Tony
June 05, 2011
Jacks Point is one of the most fantastic courses I have ever played. The weather certainly was a bonus. Can't wait to get back down there again.
Michael
I agree with sentiments expressed by the other reviewers. I bumped in to other golfers holidaying in the area back for their 3rd and 4th rounds during the week at Jacks Point. I came back consecutive days. I actually wanted the wind to blow harder to experience the full challenge of the course. Seeing your ball fly off into the Remarkables back drop from the 16th tee is something else and I'm heading back as soon as I can because the $60 green fee is an absolute steal for the experience you get there. As was mentioned earlier it didn't feel like a new course because it looked well settled into the environment. Best course I've played by a margin including Millbrook, Gulf Harbour, Carrington and Formosa.
November 10, 2009
10 / 10
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Daniel Bringans
Jacks Point is a breath of fresh air in the NZ golf scene.A beautiful setting on rugged hills with lots of variety. Breathtaking views of Lake WakatipuAs other reviewers have noted, the only weakness is the finishing duo of holes on flat ground beside a lake and the clubhouse. The spectacular downhill 16th may have been a more appropriate finishing hole.That aside, the course is set to be one of the top 5 in NZ and the current green fees of $60 NZD have to be the best bargain in golf anywhere.Will come back here again and again to play this great course.
July 15, 2009
10 / 10
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Golfer
November 30, 2011
Certainly a fantastic course, check out the green fees, they have now increased to a realistic price for the calibre of course but still great value
Mogens
Jacks Point is a great new course! It has nice wievs over Lake Wakatipu and particularly on the front nine some intimidating shots face the players. The course has a raw and natural look. The course is ready for play, however some areas still lack: range balls were still to arive and the bunkers need some more work, particularly the edges need definition. The raw and natural look lasts untill hole 16. The last two holes along a small lake look a little out of place for this great course.
February 16, 2009
10 / 10
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Kate Lush
January 18, 2011
I had the most amazing day playing Jack's Point on a stunning April day, could hardly concentrate on the golf for the views, sky- divers leaping out of planes, a cloudless sky against the Remarkables, the perfect blue of the lake behind the 7th and the immaculate greens. Natural stone steps and the fluffy edges of the bunkers are very much in keeping with the high country theme and don't need manicuring. Great value for the green fee.
Matt Richardson
Jack's Point is a world class golf course, for so many reasons. Firstly, it's in a location that is hard to beat. Lake Wakatipu one side, the imposing sheer rock face of the Remarkables on the other. In fact, the Remarkables act like a dark sightscreen for some of your drives - it's an amazing sight to nail your tee shot and see it fly off into the distance with such clarity. Also, the course is in incredible nick. The fairways are like carpets, the tees are as good as municipal course greens, the greens are fast and true. But the main reason it’s a great course is the design.

Essentially, the course is a journey over a hill to the other side and back again. That journey takes you through many different phases, contours and styles, but they all hang together so well (except the 18th, perhaps). The first and the 2nd tee shot are emerald ribbons running through wetlands. Then the climb starts through 2, 3 and 4, through rocky outcrops and naturalistic unsculptured bunkering. It’s like a golf course developer got hold some prime National Park land, like the Lake District or Dartmoor – but of course you don’t get that type of land for golf courses often in the UK.

5 is an unbelievable par five – it can be reached in two, but you need your drive to reach a highly tapered end of the fairway between reed-filled cabbage and huge boulders. Then you need to crack your fairway wood blind over the corner and hope for the best. There’s an inviting bail out area but it’s just so damn tempting to go for it, even though you can’t see. The next three holes skirt the cliff going down to the lake, most notable is the tiny downhill 7th – just an easy pitching wedge on a still day, but steeply downhill with a plunge down to the lake behind. It feels like an optical illusion, you just don’t know what club to hit or what shot to play, it’s intimidating to feel so unsure.

9 to 12 come away from the lake, and are slightly reminiscent of gorse-lined links courses in the UK (e.g. some of the back nine at Nairn), all ripples, deep bunkers and plateaux greens, but with a modern feel. 13 is another fantastic short hole, a mid-iron over wetland full of rushes that runs tee to green – instant reload if you’re short. 14 and 15 climb back up the hill, heavily bunkered and dry stone walls to negotiate. 16 plunges back down to the clubhouse – a split fairway either side of a rocky outcrop. The last skirts a lake all the way down the left, it’s a great hole but it does feel a little artificial, like the designers had TV tournaments in mind and wanted an 18th that would provide excitement. My own view would be that for such a natural feeling course, to plonk a stadium-type hole at the end feels a little incoherent and unnecessary.

Just a note to end on – the greens are amazing. There’s hardly a flat putt to be found, it really accentuates the feeling that putting is a game within a game. But it doesn’t go too far – there’s no feeling that the slopes are ludicrous, and the greens are so true that you feel you get what you deserve. And only NZ$60 for an NZ affiliated golfer – what a bargain. I’ll be back time and again. I know that many of the members at my club in Dunedin have played it, and they unanimously love it. Matt Richardson
February 06, 2009
10 / 10
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Jim McCann
April 14, 2009
Jack's Point sounds absolutely fabulous. Are there any other new courses to watch out for in NZ in 2009?
Matt
July 16, 2009
I don't think there's any top-class new courses expected to open in 2009. Mapleham, just north of Christchurch, is opening soon but photos in the NZ press don't look that inspiring. However, there are a few projects in the pipeline that look very promising, all within an hour of Queenstown / Jacks Point. There's Parkins Bay at Glendhu Station, nr. Wanaka, being designed by the same architects as Jacks Point as well as Bob Charles - it's on an amazing piece of land. Same could be said for Gibbston Valley, being designed by Greg Turner and Scott MacPherson. The same team is designing McArthur Ridge, an hour from Queenstown, near Alexandra. I don't know how many of these are past the planning stage, but hopefully they will all come to fruition.
Paul
September 20, 2010
My Aussie friend described Jack's Point as 'the best golf experience I've ever had' - I couldn't have put it better myself... As a landscape architect and experienced low handicapper, I can appreciate the way this course has been put together from lots of perspectives. Top class. A++++