We had never been to New Zealand before. We saw New Zealand as a place of natural disasters, people pulling funny faces doing the haka (yep we watch a lot of sport) and volatile weather so it had never been high on our list of places to go. But….a situation arose in March 2020 when the New Zealand Golf Open added an All Abilities field to their tournament…. Inclusive golfers able to play alongside the professional golfers….. same course, same holes, same tees. I am honoured to say my Husband was offered a position in the field as 1 of only 4 invitational competitors. Way to go Ben!
So off we went.
Now any golfer would know that Queenstown has some of the most picturesque golf courses IN THE WORLD. Hubby still pinches himself that he was a part of such an incredible golfing journey.
Jack Points Golf Course was the first one he played at. Located only 10 mins from Queenstown, the scenery surrounding this course was incredible. Set at the foot of the Remarkables mountain range and hugged by Lake Wakatipu, this immaculately presented classic links course provided lots of challenges. The course layout showed great respect for the landscape’s incredible natural features. Ben is used to hitting through kangaroos but not sheep! The wind was unbelievable and many times I think he just hoped his ball was going to land somewhere in the vicinity of where he aimed.
Jacks Point is open to the public to play. From January through to April a visitor round with cart will set you back NZ$195 or a visitor round walking NZ$170.
The next course he played out was The Hills, New Zealand's most exclusive golf course located in the former gold mining town of Arrowtown, a 20 minute drive from Queenstown. A private members club. In a country that has more than 400 golf courses, The Hills is known to be the best. In a rugged glacial valley setting the course provides 180-degree views of the surrounding mountains and gives the X-factor to this tournament course. The Hills was initially New Zealand entrepreneur and jewellery magnate Sir Michael Hill’s own private golf course set on 500 acres of former deer farm land. Ben thought Jacks Point was challenging….holy dooley. This course was next level. Some may say it is even quite bizarre. Plenty of strategic bunkering is required, because once that ball rolls off the fairway into that brown top grass it will never be found again. Ben hates to say it, but he lost more balls on this course than any other course he has ever played at. Length, flight and accuracy is a MUST.
From the minute you arrive until your last putt this course has you in awe.
A feature of this course is the dozen or so sculptures that grace it. The Wolves are coming is 111 cast iron wolves and is alongside the 18th fairway and with its dramatic mountain backdrop, it truly is an extraordinary spectacle.
With Green Fees $1000 per round, it is most likely he will never play this course again but is delighted that it’s a course ticked off his bucket list!
Unfortunately Ben played with a broken prosthetic foot so he did not finish as well as he had hoped and therefore never made the final round to be played at Millbrook. Hopefully he will get back there one day to tick that one off his list.