Teeing it up for Skyline Charity Classic: From left, Simon Hayes with the Classic trophy, Skyline Queenstown GM Wayne Rose, Whakatipu Reforestation Trust chair Neill Simpson and Queens town Golf Club GM Andrew Bell

Queenstown’s longest-running golf tournament’s being repurposed as a charity event.

The Skyline Classic, played annually at Queenstown Golf Club’s Kelvin Heights golf course since 1979, from this November becomes the Skyline Charity Classic.

The event will support a different local charity each year, starting with the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust.

As part of the relaunch, local gondola company Skyline’s renewed and increased its sponsorship of the Classic, which is already regarded as the country’s longest single-sponsored golf tournament.

One of Skyline’s recently replaced gondolas has also been installed by the first tee, facing the gondola cableway on Bob’s Peak.

Storyboards inside will tell the story of the Classic and the close links between Skyline and the origins of the golf course.

The cabin will also provide an opportunity, via a coin slot and QR code, for visitors and locals to donate to the Classic’s chosen charity each year, at any time.

Behind the Classic’s reset is club member and former organising committee chairman Simon Hayes.

‘‘Over the years it’s lacked a little bit of the finesse and excitement it had, and Covid was one of the reasons.

‘‘I’ve been agitating a bit and saying, ‘let’s try to get the Skyline back to the pre-eminent position it had’.’’

That’ll include refreshing the tournament itself and adding a sponsors’ Ambrose tournament on the Friday eve.

‘‘We hope to have an increased prize list, increased activities happening on the course and to have members who aren’t playing involved as volunteers.’’

Club GM Andrew Bell says by adding the charity element ‘‘we’re moving into a far more modern concept’’.

Having an event supporting the community also aligns with one of the principles of the club’s lease, he adds.

Skyline GM Wayne Rose says the reforestation trust’s an excellent first-up charity recipient as they’re embarking on a major native replanting programme, themselves, after removing so many wilding pines for their new gondola cableway.

At the same time, the golf club’s also going to plant almost 1000 natives after also removing a swathe of wilding pines.

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