New golf course takes shape as part of $750m development in New Zealand

  • Greg Turner Gibbston Golf
    Gibbston Valley Resort

    The masterplan for the Gibbston Valley Resort near Queenstown, New Zealand, which includes a nine-hole golf course by Greg Turner

  • Greg Turner Golf Gibbston
    Gibbston Valley Resort

    The seventh hole, which features relics of the site’s mining days

  • Greg Turner Golf Gibbston
    Gibbston Valley Resort

    Several holes have been grassed, including the fourth

  • Greg Turner Golf Gibbston
    Gibbston Valley Resort

    The course will include two double greens

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Grassing is underway on a new nine-hole course at Gibbston Valley Resort near Queenstown, New Zealand, designed by pro golfer-turned-architect Greg Turner.

The course is part of a $750 million luxury housing development, spearheaded by Greg Hunt, chief executive of Central Otago winery Gibbston Valley. The project site is next to the winery, which lies at the western end of the Kawarau Gorge. An underpass linking the winery and the resort development is expected to be complete in early 2025.

“Gibbston Valley Resort has been decades in the making – interrupted by such events like the global financial crash and Covid, along with certain realities in ensuring the popular Gibbston Valley Trail – soon to be extended to connect through to Bannockburn and the Dunstan Trail – is not adversely affected,” said Turner.

New Zealand-based contractor TIC Projects built a two-tiered practice green before starting construction of the golf course.

“The course lies between the main state highway and the dramatic Kawarau River, providing an extraordinary combination of river gorge and mountain views,” said Turner. “In the mid-19th century, the valley was home to a thriving gold mining boom and consequently, there are significant relics of that period, including distinct tailings [leftover materials from the processing of mined ore].”

Turner’s nine-hole routing comprises five par fours and four par threes, with the longest hole approximately 380 yards. The course can also be played as a par-three layout by teeing off from forward tees on the par-four holes.

“Our design concept is to create a course as an amenity for residents and guests,” said Turner. “This nine-hole layout will have all the interest, intrigue and conditioning of a full-blown course.”

There are two undulating double greens – one shared by holes one and eight, and the other for holes two and six.

“Dramatic terrain, gold miners’ tailings and large rocks provide the main features, with no need for bunkering,” said Turner. “Like the nearby Arrowtown Golf Club, rated by Tom Doak among the top courses in the country, the drama of the terrain and rocky features remove the need for bunkering.”

The nine holes at Gibbston Valley are expected to open in 2025.