Golf: The 2013 NZPGA Championship - all you need to know

This week's NZPGA golf championship at the The Hills golf course, near Arrowtown, is a ''must do'' event for all golf and sports fans, as well families and food and wine lovers.

Aside from attracting golfing greats and amateur celebrities, the NZPGA line-up over four days is jam-packed with entertainment, live music, excellent food and wine and all set at The Hills with its collection of art sculptures, perfectly-manicured lawns and 360 degree views of the surroundings.

When: Thursday to Sunday

Where: The Hills, McDonnell Rd, Arrowtown

Cost: Season pass $55 (all four days), or $20 a day for Thursday and Friday, and $30 a day Saturday or Sunday. Children aged 10 to 17 are $15 for Saturday only (free all other days), and children under the age of 9 are free of charge all days.

• Tickets available at www.ticketek.co.nz or on the gate.

Time: Daily from 7.30am until early evening.

 

The Course

Designed by Darby Partners, the course was initially Michael Hill's own private golf course. Set over 200ha of former deer farm land close to Arrowtown, it is home to an incredible array of flora including native brown top grasses and wild native mountain tussocks.

Another special element of the course is a significant sculpture park that links outdoor art pieces into the course design, creating a magical playing environment.

The Hills has hosted three consecutive New Zealand Open Championships since opening in 2007 and is now the home of the NZ PGA Championship.

 

The Players

Three time US Open winner and World Golf Hall of Fame member Hale Irwin; Australian Brendan Jones is the top ranked player, defending champion Kiwi Michael Hendry. Peter O'Malley, David Smail, Mark Brown and Phil Tataurangi return to the competition along with Andrew Martin, Gareth Paddinson, Ryan Fox, Nick Cullen, Kim Felton, Scott Strange, Greg Turner and Richard Lee.

Five-time Japan Tour winner Toshi Muto also joins the field alongside other Asian favourites Zhang Xinjun of China, Kang Kyung-nam from Korea and Michael Tran from Vietnam.

Top amateurs: Cricket legend Sir Ian Botham, World Amateur No 1 Lydia Ko, rugby players All Black Justin Marshall, and

Wallabies Nick Farr-Jones and George Gregan, as well as sports broadcaster and cricket legend Mark Richardson, Olympic gold medalist Mahe Drysdale and Australian media presenter Deborah Hutton.

Prize-money: For the 2013 tournament, the prize has been increased by 20% from $500,000 to $600,000 - which moves the tournament to Tier 1 status on the PGA Tour of Australasia.

 

Tournament Format

One hundred and forty-two professionals will tee up tomorrow with the top 60 professionals (plus ties) making the cut on the Friday progressing through to the weekend to play for the NZ PGA Championship.

A field of 66 amateurs (friends, sponsors, celebrities) will play a seeding tournament on Friday at Millbrook. Following this each amateur will be placed with a professional and that pair will play as a two-ball, best-ball team on the Saturday and Sunday for the NZ PGA Championship pro-am title.

 

Transport

Thursday and Friday: From Queenstown the buses will run every other hour from 9am until 5pm, with pick up in Frankton. From The Hills buses will run every other hour from 10am until 6pm, with drop off in Frankton.

Saturday and Sunday: From Queenstown buses will run every hour from 9am until 5pm. Additional buses at 6pm and 7pm for those wishing to attend the Jamie McDell concert. From The Hills the buses will run every hour from 9.30am until 6.30pm, additional buses will return from the concert at 8pm, 8.30pm and 9pm.

Cost: $6 each way for buses - cash only, no booking required.

Parking: $10 per day at The Hills - cash only.

Bring: Hat, sunscreen, warm layers, raincoat, and flat shoes.

 

The 19th

Set in a separate area, ''The 19th'' offers Central Otago wine and food and fun activities for all on the menu. A concert on Saturday is free of charge for ticket holders and features with Auckland singer Jamie McDell and local band The Lynch Mob.

 

Activities:

• Snag: Starting New At Golf (free). For children and rookie adults, Snag uses modified golf equipment to teach entry level golf.

• Sculpture Tour (free). Access to Sir Michael Hill's sculpture park and array of works, including The Wolves That Came by Liu Ruowang and Schist Strata, by New Zealand artist Craig Booth.

• First Tee (free). The charitable organisation is running interactive chipping and putting games at their tent at The 19th for children and adults, with prizes on offer for the duration of the tournament.

• Milford Track Guided Walk (free). Special walk to the 15th tee - an area normally closed to the public. Inquire at the Milford Track Guided Walk marquee.

• Extreme Golf. Over The Top helicopters will whisk guests to its mountain-top Extreme Golf Tee. Guests lift off for a birds eye view of the course to helicopter to the ultimate golf experience )- having a mile high golf swing using the latest drivers and eco balls followed by a glass of champagne before returning to The Hills.

Food:Francesca Pizza, Waitiri Creek Pies, Wild Earth Gourmet BBQ, Suma Sushi, Patagonia and Devil Burger.

Wine: Waitiri Creek, Amisfield, Northburn, Akarua, Valli, Wild Earth and Gibbston Valley Wines

Bar: Two on-course bars - one at The 19th and the other at the ''Party Hole'' 15th - sponsored by Moa Beer, an award-winning Marlborough-based brewery that was recently the official beer for New Zealand at the London Olympics. The Party Hole at the 15th will also have a silent disco and Moa Beer will be doing beer master classes and tastings in the afternoon.

Spa: Custom built pavilion from eforea: Spa at Hilton offering pampering.

Sponsors: Brand New Zealand, Air New Zealand, Hilton Queenstown, Michael Hill, Milford Track Guided Walk, Rebel Sport, SkyCity, Westpac, Rebel Sport and Samsung.

Official Charities: The First Tee and Cure Kids

More information: www.pgachampionship.co.nz