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Highlands owner: Tony Quinn

Highlands motorsport park wants a piece of the resort’s golf course action.

The Cromwell facility has plans for a landmark 18-hole course and 100-section property development – an estimated $40 million project.

Multi-millionaire owner Tony Quinn, right, says: “There are 58 hectares of forest down the back of the racetrack.

“If we can buy the land and get consent from the council then the plan is to build a world-class golf course and residential development next year.”

And Quinn, who built his racetrack in just 18 months and opened it in 2013, isn’t messing around.

A masterplan is already drawn up and he’s working with leading New Zealand golf course designer Brett Thompson and former Kiwi golf pro Phil Tataurangi.

Queenstowner Thompson managed the design of Jack’s Point, Christchurch’s Clearwater, The Hills and Windross Farm in Auckland.

The plan is to showcase the natural environment with an inland links-style course.

Course bid: The masterplan

But, if his plans are realised, you still might not see racer Quinn out on the course all that often.

“It wasn’t my idea,” he says. “I’ve never been interested in golf. It doesn’t help that I’m useless at it.”

In fact, it was Queenstowner Grant Aitken who convinced him it would be a good thing for Cromwell and Highlands members.

“It’s succession planning. When our members get too old to drive cars, they can hop in a golf cart and play 18 holes.”

Despite being on the wrong end of Kawarau Gorge, Highlands is already a major tourism attraction for Queenstown and the region.

Its track experiences, museum, go-karts and other offerings are heavily marketed in the resort, and draw motorheads and tourists alike. Quinn says the course will complement the motorsport park and also be a “beautiful spot” to build a home.

“Golf tourism has overtaken the ski business in Central Otago and people come to Queenstown for a week and they play at Millbrook, The Hills and Jack’s Point.

“Golfers like to play a different course every day and we can offer something very special.”

Quinn says they can golf in the morning, drive round the track, then wine-taste in the afternoon. “The full package.”