by Darius Oliver
An exciting par three concept course is taking shape at The Hills Golf Club in New Zealand. To be known as ‘The Farm’, the nine-hole course is midway through construction with all nine green complexes shaped and sand in place on a number of green bases ready for grassing.
The final green cavities will be prepared early in the New Year, along with the tees, approaches and green surrounds. Expectations are that the course will be ready for member play toward the end of 2018.
As the designer of The Farm, I am fortunate to be involved in the project and excited by the prospects of creating a unique experience for Hills members and their families. I can’t think of a more attractive site for such a course, nor anywhere with as much natural diversity and charm among its individual holes. Each of the par threes is blessed with a glorious outlook and a green site that enables fun shots to be played from all sorts of tees and all sorts of angles.
Aside from the famously spectacular Queenstown scenery, the chief attraction of The Farm is the near 100-year old Arrow irrigation water race – our holes routed right up against, inside, and even atop, the stunning feature.
Like the charming Arrowtown golf course next door, we have no need for bunkering on The Farm, thanks to the existing ground hazards and the natural challenge presented by the various green settings. The elasticity of the teeing grounds provides golfers of all ages with endless options and fascination. Maximum hole lengths vary from 120m to up around 200m, but the course can be played with just a couple of clubs and from either set distances or by using a variety of tee angles and pin positions.
As the photos below highlight, the opportunity to be part of this project has been a blessing. The Hill family and staff at The Hills Golf Club are a joy to work with, and fully committed to making this course outstanding.
We intend to keep readers updated as construction progresses.
The opening tee is set atop the water race, and played up the hazard toward this enormous double green complex shared with the 8th hole.
All-carry across a ravine from the very back, the 2nd looks toward the Ramarkables and can be played with virtually any club from these forward tees.
The middle holes on The Farm, like the 4th, play into and through a gentle valley.
A true heart-stopper, the short 5th has an infinity aspect and great view but one of the nastiest green sites.
The shortest hole on The Farm, the 7th is set in a natural dell beyond and beside the water race. The green is home to some of the easiest (middle) and toughest (left) pins on the course.
Set at the base of a wonderful amphitheatre, the 9th green is pitched steeply toward a creek on its lower (left) side.
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