The Queenstown region is among the most beautiful in New Zealand, and for golfers encompasses courses on Lake Wakatipu near the heart of Queenstown, as well as those a short drive away in the gold rush town of Arrowtown. The best known of these is the Millbrook Resort, established on farming ground in the 1990s with an 18-hole course designed by Sir Bob Charles. A third nine at Millbrook (Coronet) was added in 2010, designed by fellow tour professional Greg Turner and his partner Scott Macpherson. Turner and Macpherson added a fourth nine at Millbrook in 2021.
At first glance the original course (Remarkables) at Millbrook appears your typical 1990s resort style golf course, with little sophistication in design and an emphasis apparently on fast, sloping greens and conditioning over strategy and interest off the tee. Fairways and greens are often flanked by bunkers that really only act to reinforce the view that straight down the middle is your ideal aiming point. In truth Millbrook is better than it appears, however, with some really sound golf topography on display across the resort, and a decent routing that makes use of views of the surrounding Remarkables Mountain Range.
The newer holes on the Coronet Course by Turner and Macpherson are probably the standout and more likely to feature greens that are angled or arranged to suit a particular line from back in the fairway. The Coronet bunkering also fits the rolling terrain much better than the older sand-pit style traps. The prairie nature of the older Coronet holes and the views from the elevated 2021 nine are highlights of the experience. Although the more obtrusive residential component is a drawback, there are strategic choices to be made here and a couple of really bold, contoured greens that linger in the memory.
Turner and Macpherson also redesigned some strong holes on the Arrow Nine of the Remarkables Course, including the par four 8th with its wickedly falling green site and the unusual horseshoe 7th.
Of the older Charles holes on the Remarkables Nine, there is enough undulation to keep most amateurs interested and several strong tests, such as the uphill par three 2nd and twice-crested par four 4th, to hold the attention of the good golfer. The standard of design across the more established areas fails to match the newer holes, but the routing and topography are both solid enough to suggest that with the right refinements this could be a terrific layout.
The resort itself at Millbrook is charming, and the area so popular with holidaymakers that the appeal for visiting golfers is easy to see. Queenstown is a great destination, and the golf here at Millbrook is a solid starting place for most golfers planning their next trip.