Cricket great Sir Ian Botham headed for The Hills today in
attire Sir Michael Hill would have been proud of.
Dressed in a bright orange polo shirt and multi-coloured
shorts ahead of playing a few practice holes for the NZ PGA
Pro-Am Championship, which begins at Sir Michael's
championship golf course tomorrow, it became apparent the
commentator was making the most of his time in New Zealand.
Having been "eaten to death by little flies" on a fishing
expedition, he was confident the offending insects "all died
of a hangover afterwards".
"The temperature of the river was perfect; we just put the
chardonnay in it ... it's the way to go fishing."
He has also been white water rafting and joked he'd begun
training for the Taupo ironman.
However, any suggestions of bungy jumping in the adventure
capital of New Zealand were quickly dismissed.
"No. It's the one sport where you must not lie about your
Instead, Sir Ian was planning a systematic assault on the
Gibbston Valley wineries - beginning with Amisfield Winery
tomorrow to savour "one of the great pinots".
"I know the wineries pretty well ... I've been to Queenstown
"If there was anywhere else in the world I would live, it
would be here.
"It's got everything - it's got the seasons, skiing, winter
sports, the summer sports - and a few wineries."
Teeing off as an amateur in the Pro-Am this week, Sir Ian
said he'd played at Kinloch [in Taupo] and described it as
one of his favourite courses.
While his handicap had slipped to a nine (he used to play off
a four), he had no hesitation in accepting the offer to play
during the second annual tournament at The Hills.
"It took about 30 seconds [to decide].
"That's how long it took me to get the iPad up to check the
"I've played here [The Hills] before [and] Millbrook and
Arrowtown - which is one of the quirky little courses; risk
and reward - mainly risk in my case."