PHOTOGRAPHY BY GARY LISBON
To understand the natural beauty of Arrowtown Golf Club is to understand and embrace a quirky yet compelling brand of the game. Your favoured wedge for sand play can remain at home as there’s not a single bunker on the property. Instead, you need a heightened level of ingenuity to conquer a layout where the brilliance lies in its simplicity.
The course makes the most of what the site naturally possesses. The schist outcrops that are such a feature are eye-catching and downright dastardly if your ball ricochets off in some undesired direction as a result of landing in one.
Mixing open spaces with some exceptionally skinny corridors – most notably the tee shot at the par-5 second hole – ‘Narrowtown’ generally rewards precision over power. It’s short and seemingly vulnerable on paper, but few golfers walk off the last green without scratching their head. The cleverness stems from the course’s subtleties. Several green complexes are understated while others – such as at the par-4 ninth hole – are dramatically undulating and often fiendish. In short, tangling with Arrowtown for 18 holes is a game of mental gymnastics. But therein lies its inherent charm.
Arrowtown Golf Club
Where: Centennial Ave, Arrowtown, Central Otago
Green fee: $50 (NZ affiliated), $95 (non-affiliated)
Phone: +64 3 442 1719