Inaugural NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship Launched in Queenstown

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011 in Press Releases

Reposted media release: NZ PGA Pro Am Championship
6 December 2011

Inaugural NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship Launched in Queenstown

Auckland – Today at The Cloud in Auckland, Prime Minister, John Key, launched the inaugural NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship. The tournament, a partnership between the NZ PGA and The Hills, (owned by Sir Michael Hill) has been agreed for a minimum five year term and will initially be part of the Australasian PGA Tour with total prize money of $500,000 in 2012. Next year’s tournament will be played between Thursday 29th March and Sunday 1st April at The Hills in Queenstown.

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 for 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.

John Hart, NZ PGA Pro-Am Organising Committee Chairman, explains why he and his team felt inspired to bring this format to New Zealand.

“Several years ago I was lucky enough to play in the Dunhill and I absolutely loved it - the combination of getting to play alongside some of the world’s best golfers and well known celebrities in the heat of a professional tournament was an amazing opportunity. The NZ PGA and The Hills believe that this format will be very attractive in New Zealand, promoting the game of golf and providing excellent leverage opportunities for both business and tourism at home and abroad.”

Sir Michael said, “We have been delighted with the support we have received from both the private and the public sector and look forward to working with our partners to develop an iconic event that New Zealanders can be proud of in one of the World’s finest tourist destinations, Queenstown.”

The major sponsors for the event to date are: Air New Zealand, The Hilton Hotel Queenstown, Michael Hill Watches, New Zealand Major Events, Sky City Entertainment, and Ultimate Hikes New Zealand

For more information on the event please visit


For further information, images, or to arrange an interview with John Hart, Tournament Chairman, or Michael Glading, Tournament Director, please contact:

 Paul Gunn,
NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship Communications Manager        

Tel: 027 440 9964[email protected]

Background Information

The Tournament Format: NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship

Up to 144 Professionals will tee up on Thursday with the top 60 plus ties making the cut on the Friday and progressing through to the weekend to play for the NZ PGA Championship.

A field of 64 Amateurs (friends, sponsors, celebrities) will play a Seeding Tournament on Friday 30th March at Jacks Point.

On the Friday night, at a Cocktail Function, 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 inaugural NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship.  Amateur handicaps will be actual to a maximum of 18.

The Course: The Hills

In its stunning amphitheatre encircled by the Remarkables Mountains, with 180 degree views taking in Coronet Peak and the Crown Range, The Hills has the x-factor as a tournament golf course.

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 close to Arrowtown, Central Otago, it is home to an incredible array of flora including native brown top grasses and wild native mountain tussocks. The Hills is proud to have hosted three consecutive New Zealand Open Championships since opening in 2007 and is looking forward to being the new home of the NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship and the NZ PGA Championship.

The Location: Queenstown

With mountain peaks as far as the eye can see, shimmering lakes and crisp alpine air, Queenstown is quite simply a place of pure inspiration. It’s also a golf lover paradise.

With six stunning golf courses all within 25 minutes’ drive of the town centre, Queenstown is fast gaining a reputation as an internationally renowned golf destination. Choices range from the immaculately groomed greens of resort courses to breathtaking fairways with rugged mountain peaks as a backdrop.

Golf facilities are world-class and there’s plenty of variety between The Hills, Millbrook Resort, Jack’s Point, Arrowtown Golf Club, Queenstown Golf Club at Kelvin Heights, and the Frankton Driving Range and Golf Course.

A range of different courses means no two rounds need be the same and a week-long trip can be both technically challenging and fun. Tailored tours and packages cater for the solo golfer right through to larger groups. Every style and level of golfer will be well looked after.