Stars line up for NZ PGA Pro-AM at Queenstown
13 Mar 2012
NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship - Queenstown
29 March - 1 April, 2012
When the 2012 NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship opens, Queenstown’s exclusive The Hills golf course will play host to stars of the sports, screen and culinary worlds - serving up championship golf, first-class wine and fine food, in a stunning alpine landscape.
Hollywood actor Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Ocean's Eleven and The Guard) is teed up to play golf alongside Australasian sporting stars and celebrity amateurs, and Kiwi celebrity chef Josh Emett is fixing to serve up some classy dining at the privately owned The Hills.
Cheadle - who plays off a 10 handicap and is a regular in major celebrity pro-ams - headlines the celebrity amateurs playing in the event. Other big names include ex-All Blacks Justin Marshall, Andy Haden and Jeff Wilson, Wallabies legend Nick Farr-Jones, former All Blacks coach John Hart and Kiwi entrepreneur and Hills owner Sir Michael Hill.
International players coming will include South Africa’s David Frost, a 10-times winner of the US PGA Tour. New Zealanders Phil Tataurangi, David Smail, Mark Brown, Michael Hendry and Gareth Paddison will also take part.
Other big names from the golfing world include veteran golfer and British Open winner Sir Bob Charles, and young Kiwi rising star Lydia Ko - currently world women's amateur No 1.
New Zealand golfing events
The inaugural New Zealand PGA Pro-AM golf championship, which will run its course at The Hills from 29 March to 1 April, is a new player in New Zealand golfing events.
The tournament has a unique format and incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament and a team competition which features invited amateur golfers playing alongside the professionals.
Up to 132 professionals will tee off on Thursday, 29 March with the top 60 plus ties making the cut on the Friday and progressing through to the weekend to play for the championship.
A field of 64 amateurs, consisting of friends, sponsors and celebrities will play a seeding tournament on Friday, March 30 at Jacks Point, near Queenstown.
On the Friday night, at a cocktail function, each amateur will be teamed up with a professional and pairs will play as a two-ball, best-ball team on the Saturday and Sunday for the championship, with $50,000 of prize money going to the professional in the winning pair.
Dining with the stars
Off-course highlights will include two six-course dinners prepared by Michelin-star Kiwi chef Josh Emett who earned international culinary attention working as Gordon Ramsay’s head chef at the Savoy Grill in London. Emett is due to open a new restaurant in Queenstown in April.
The dinners, at The Hills clubhouse on 29 and 30 March, will feature Central Otago Akarua wines.
During the day there will be lively entertainment, retail stalls and food and wine tents where spectators can sample some of the pinot noir and other wines the Central Otago wine region is famous for.
The Hills golf course
The Hills - previously home to the NZ Golf Open - is New Zealand’s most challenging tournament course, and the event’s unique format is expected to attract large crowds.
The rugged setting in a glacial valley with 180-degree views of the surrounding mountains gives the X-factor to the tournament golf course, and makes it a magnificent destination for spectators.
The Hills Clubhouse is an outstanding architectural statement - winner of the New Zealand Institute of Architects Supreme Award in 2008, and a finalist in the 2008 World Architecture Festival.
The course has family-friendly facilities and panoramic views of Queenstown’s famous alpine landscape. It is surrounded by world-famous wineries, top notch restaurants, luxury accommodation and a vast range of activities.
Initially Michael Hill’s own private golf course, it was redesigned by Darby Partners to host the New Zealand Open in 2007. Set over 500 acres of former deer farm land near Arrowtown, it is home to an incredible array of flora including native brown top grasses and wild native mountain tussocks.
The Hills has hosted three consecutive New Zealand Open Championships since opening in 2007 and now becomes the new home of the NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship and the NZ PGA Championship.
Background: NZ PGA Tournament
The tournament, a partnership between the NZ PGA and The Hills, has been agreed for a minimum five year term and will initially be part of the Australasian PGA Tour with total prize money of NZ$500,000 in 2012.
Inspired by the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, one of the most prestigious events on the European tour, the event builds on the long established NZ PGA Championship, first played in 1920.
Professionals will play for the NZ PGA Championship over four rounds, but in a unique event format, 64 invited amateurs and celebrities will be each paired with one of the 64 professionals that make the cut, playing together as a team for the NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship over the final two days.
Background: Queenstown - golfing paradise
With six golf courses all within a 25-minute radius of the town centre, Queenstown is gaining a reputation as an internationally renowned golf destination.
Choices range from family friendly 9-hole courses to breathtaking fairways with rugged mountain backdrops and immaculately groomed 18-hole championship courses.
Facilities are world-class and the six leading courses - The Hills, Millbrook Resort, Jack’s Point, Arrowtown Golf Club, Queenstown Golf Club at Kelvin Heights, and the Frankton Driving Range and Golf Course - offer a wide variety of golfing from fun to technically challenging.
Away from the greens, Queenstown is famous for year-round adventure thrills from skydiving and bungy jumping to jet boating and paragliding. There’s also the chance to explore scenic trails on foot or bike, sample award-winning Central Otago wines and local cuisine, enjoy a spa treatment or a quiet saunter around shops, galleries, bars, cafes and restaurants.
Queenstown is also a great base for visiting some of the Southern Lakes region’s most famous attractions like the picturesque historic goldmining village of Arrowtown, Glenorchy’s epic Lord of the Rings scenery, and Milford and Doubtful Sounds.
New Zealand entrepreneur: Michael Hill
New Zealand golfer: Sir Bob Charles
New Zealand chef: Josh Emett
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