Golf: Entertainment also drawcard

The Hills golf course map.
The Hills golf course map.

Organisers of the 2013 NZ PGA have put just about as much effort into the entertainment side of things as they have the golf itself.

The popular 19th has moved from last year's tournament and director Michael Glading says it will be much more that just a beer at the clubhouse.

Entertainment this year will include a Saturday night concert featuring up-and-coming Kiwi artist Jamie McDell and local favourites the Lynch Mob.

Tournament operations and marketing rep Michael Goldstein said the aim was to secure the future of the tournament by attracting as many spectators as possible.

This would mean getting local support for the golf as well as stirring up enthusiasm for the event as a package.

''We need this to become an event with local support. We need atmosphere. We are trying to take things up a notch from last year.''

Mr Goldstein said the Government was looking at investing in the tournament for years to come, but this would depend on the tournament's success in its second year.

Organisers are hoping for a bigger crowd than last year, not purely for revenue, but to build on its appeal.

This year, the 19th will be sited on the members' driving range. Operating for all four days of the tournament, it will feature wine from Waitiri Creek, Amisfield, Northburn, Akarua, Valli, Wild Earth and Gibbston Valley Wines, complementing food from Francesca Pizza, Waitiri Creek Pies, Wild Earth Gourmet BBQ and Devil Burger. Two on-course bars - one at the 19th and the other at the ''party hole'' on the 15th - will be sponsored by Marlborough-based Moa Beer.

Mr Glading said that 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 on the local summer calendar 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.

''It's a hugely attractive day or two out for visitors or locals who don't necessarily watch or participate in golf, and our aim is to see the NZ PGA Championship feature right up there with the best of the all-day sporting events, and the best of the region's food and wine festivals over summer.''

Prices are:

• $55 for all four days.

• $20 a day for Thursday and Friday.

• $30 a day Saturday or Sunday.

• Children aged 10 to 17 are $15 for Saturday only (free all other days).

• Youngsters under 10 are free of charge.

• Entry to the 19th, all stalls and tents and the music concert is free to ticket-holders.