Millbrook makes finishing touches

Par-three finish: Brian Spicer

Two water-surrounded golf holes at Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort are expected to add drama to the finishing stage of this year’s New Zealand Open.

In a new deal, Millbrook will stage the final two days of the Open instead of co-host and neighbouring course, The Hills.

Tournament organisers are turning the final hole of the Coronet Nine – a reachable par-5 over water – into the 17th.

And the current ninth hole on the Arrow Nine – a par-3 virtually surounded by water – will be the finishing 18th hole. Resort golf boss Brian Spicer says the changes bring the event’s finish into Millbrook’s centre.

These two signature holes “should add drama to the conclusion and ensure a spectacular spectator experience”.

The par-3 18th – reasonably rare in tournament golf – should be relatively straightforward, he concedes, “but in a tournament like this, you never can tell”.

“If you need a birdie to win it, you have to go for it – it will be very difficult, especially if the wind’s blowing.”

Tournament boss Michael Glading believes the final two Millbrook holes will bring new drama to the 93rd Open.

Interestingly, these holes were designed by former NZ Open winners.

Golfing legend Sir Bob Charles was responsible for Millbrook’s original 18 holes in the early ’90s, including the Arrow Nine.

Queenstown-based former golf pro Greg Turner designed the Coronet Nine in 2009 and remodelled the 18-hole course.

The $1 million ISPS Handa NZ Open – co-hosted by Millbrook and The Hills over the first two days – runs from March 9 till 12. It’s a PGA Tour of Australasia tier one event, co-sanctioned with the Japan tour.