Entertainment drawcard at PGA

New Zealand teenage singer Jamie McDell at The Hills  last year.  She will  perform at the PGA Championship concert in March. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
New Zealand teenage singer Jamie McDell at The Hills last year. She will perform at the PGA Championship concert in March. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.

Dubbed the ''19th hole'', the centrepiece of The Hills PGA Championship is shaping up to be as entertaining as the golf this February.

Headline musicians, Central Otago wine and food and activities are on the menu at the PGA and tournament director Michael Glading said this year they will ''up the ante''.

''We trialled `the 19th' last year, and taking on board what we learned from that we've moved it to a fantastic new location, and have very much upped the ante of the traditional 19th, so it's no longer just a beer at the clubhouse for players.''

''It will be an entertainment attraction in its own right, providing a relaxing and enjoyable family-friendly area in the perfect location on the course, with plenty of space to sit back and enjoy the scenery and plenty to do.''

The championship runs from Thursday, February 28 to Sunday, March 3.

New attractions will be Queenstown's Over The Top helicopters taking guests to a mountaintop extreme golf tee as well as award-winning wine from Otago vineyards. The 19th will be sited on the members' driving range, right in the middle of the course.

Two on-course bars - one at the 19th and the other at the ''party hole'' 15th - will also be an attraction for spectators.

The tournament this year will host a Saturday night open-air concert featuring up-and-coming Kiwi singer-songwriter Jamie McDell and Arrowtown band the Lynch Mob.

Organisers are placing more emphasis this year on entertainment alongside the golf. Mr Glading said, while play from top-notch golf professionals and celebrities would be the major drawcard for many, there was also a focus on making ''the 19th'' a ''must-attend'' event in its own right.

''The combination of beautiful late summer weather, a stunning location, great sporting action, the opportunity to wander the course and admire Sir Michael Hill's amazing sculpture collection, the 19th, music, food and wine has to be a winning combination.''

Tickets cost $55 for the four days, or $20 a day for Thursday and Friday, and $30 a day Saturday or Sunday. Children aged 10 to 17 years enter for $15 on Saturday only (free all other days) and under 10-year-olds enter free.