Putting it on the line: Kiss My Putt's Janie Reese at Arrowtown's Millbrook golf course


A newQueenstowner’s tapping into a new market for the resort — learner golfers.

Golf addict Janie Reese, who was Destination Queenstown’s Aussie rep more than 15 years ago, has started ‘rookie retreats’ as part of her new on-course golf-mentoring business, Kiss My Putt.

She’s creating itineraries for groups of eight who’ll come to Queenstown — she’ll hook them up with a golf pro, but then she’ll teach them ‘‘the stuff you don’t learn on the driving range’’.

‘‘I’ll teach them the etiquette, the rules, how to get out of tricky spots.’’

As her business name suggests — ‘‘I needed a name that people went, ‘oh, she’s a bit naughty’’’ — she aims to make the game fun.

‘‘Golf can be scary when you’re learning so I take that fear away.’’

Reese says her rookie retreats are unique — ‘‘there’s nobody doing this and motivating people to play golf’’.

‘‘I’ve got a database of people who have started playing golf, they can’t travel overseas, they’re wanting to get better, they’re not good enough to go on their partner’s golf tours, and they want to come down.’’

Although the business is limited, of course, to domestic tourists, ‘‘I’m still chipping away at the Australian market because once that’s open, I’m going to be away laughing’’.

In her itineraries clients take golf lessons in the morning, then undertake ‘‘unique, bespoke activities’’ in the afternoon.

After Reese left DQ in ‘05, she spent 14 years with the Accor hotel chain, based in Auckland.

When Covid hit, she left Accor and, realising she wouldn’t be able to get another tourism job, decided to combine her two passions — travel/tourism and golf.

Even 15 years ago golf was pulling visitors here, but she believes it’s becoming a bigger driver than ever.