Millbrook was perhaps the first purpose built golf resort in NZ. In recent years it has expanded from 18 - 27 holes. While the initial golf course itself was understandably somewhat conservative in its design, the recent addition of the Coronet nine and some significant renovation of the existing holes has lifted the golf experience considerably. The facility in general has won numerous international awards and has largely avoided the error of over-intensification of residential and hotel development.
The course is located on an old sheep farm near to the charming gold mining township of Arrowtown. The topography might be best described as gently rolling and includes a number of ponds, the sparkling clear spring fed Millstream, schist rock outcrops and an assortment of mainly exotic trees. Set in the Wakatipu Basin there are 360 degree vistas of the surrounding mountain ranges including the Remarkables and Coronet Peak.
The resort itself has a mix of hotel, apartment and residential development but, while there is considerable on-going development, the relationship between buildings and golf is not nearly as intrusive as in most similar developments.
Golf at Millbrook has truly evolved from pleasant golf in stunning surrounding to a world class golfing experience.
The initial 18-hole course was designed by Sir Bob Charles in association with landscaping firm Boffa Miskell. In late 2009 the new Coronet Nine (along with considerable modification to the final four holes of the Arrow nine) was opened. This, along with significant re bunkering of the remaining holes, has served to thoroughly modernize the golf experience.
The three nines meander across the site, making good use of the numerous natural features. The fairways on the 13 holes to the west of Millstream (the newer part of the course) are generally wider and encourage a more expansive, risk reward type of approach.
Off the Championship (black) tees any combination of the three nines is a true test while from the member tees the course has a nice balance of playability versus challenge.
During the spring and early summer (October - Jan) the spring growth can add a lushness to the rough which places a greater premium on accuracy from the tee. The course is generally presented in very good condition with greens running medium to fast (usually at their fastest in late summer/autumn).
Perhaps because of the associated resort development the quality of the golf test can sometimes be underestimated (certainly the newer part of the course provides ample variety and challenge). Our favourite combination of nines combines the Coronet and Arrow nines although the NZ Open, probably for practical rather than golfing reasons, utilises the Remarkables rather than the Arrow. Either way, Millbrook is generally a strategic challenge played in majestic surroundings and usually fine turf quality.
Coronet 4 – 6 is a beautiful stretch and Arrow 8, with its expansive fairway and redan-style green, provides real drama. And if there is a more elegant green-site than that of Arrow 9 we haven’t seen it.
First class in every way. Excellent accommodation, locker room, good quality hire clubs, electric carts, trundlers, full pro shop facilities, driving range with range balls, etc...
Accessibility and cost:
Members day is Friday afternoon but visitors are generally welcome. Green fees are set at .....
It would be a shame to play golf in Queenstown and not have visited Millbrook. Not only was it ahead of its time (in NZ terms at least) but everything about the place is tastefully done. And if it weren’t for the on-going property development the golf itself would get far more attention.
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