New golf tournament offers $50k purse

A newly-announced pro-am at Queenstown’s Jack’s Point course will tee off the week leading up to the prestigious New Zealand Open golf tournament at Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort.

The developer of Jack’s Point’s Lake Tewa precinct is pitching in with a $50,000 prize purse for the inaugural Lake Tewa Pro-Am Invitational.

It’ll be held on Sunday, February 26, four days before the NZ Open starts, so it’ll be a drawcard for some of the golfers heading to Arrowtown.

Thirty teams comprising one pro and three amateurs will contest the 18-hole event, with the winning pro bagging the $50k.

‘‘I see regular international events at Jack’s Point as an essential part of the make-up of this vibrant community,’’ says Falconer Group principal Dean Franklin, who’s developing Lake Tewa.

‘‘It is our intention this becomes an annual event.’’

The pro-am will launch with a gala dinner on February 24, followed by a practice day on the 25th.

Alongside the Sunday golf there’ll be a ‘summer lawn party’ on the shores of Lake Tewa, by the Clubhouse Restaurant.

There’ll be a big outdoor screen to follow the live golf, food trucks, sales of picnic hampers and Amisfield wine, and entertainment from top Kiwi jazz muso Nathan Haines and his DJ wife, Jaimie Webster Haines.

‘‘This will be a fun, family day to complement the tournament,’’ Franklin says.

He intends confirming the playing roster in late January, but notes ‘‘there’s strong interest from national and international professionals’’.

Jack’s Point golf GM John Griffin says this’ll be their biggest tournament for some time — formerly, they used to host NZ Open teams and players who missed the cut.

The pro-am, he believes, is ‘‘a great sort of kick-off for that week of golf in Queenstown’’, and should attract some who’d not played the course, which is consistently ranked amongst NZ’s top five.

‘‘I can assure you they all love coming to Queenstown, potentially you’ll find them popping in a day earlier.’’

The large screen will be handy as Griffin says the course layout makes following groups of players harder than at Millbrook and The Hills next door.

He notes the resort’s been heaving with golfers.

‘‘This first half of the season, September through to Christmas, has been sort of unprecedented numbers.

‘‘We can only put it down to people having had two-and-a-half years locked up at home, and they’ve got travel credits and hotel credits — they just want to get out and use them, and it’s mostly Australians.’’

Meanwhile, Franklin says Lake Tewa sales have bucked the national trend.

The last of eight luxury lakeside properties recently sold and there’s been keen interest in the Alpine Residences from NZ and Australian buyers, he adds.

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