Prime Minister John Key got into the swing of a Central Otago summer, swapping Cabinet papers for a golf club to officially open Millbrook Resort’s new Coronet Nine golf course today (Sunday 31 January).
The Rt Hon. Mr Key was joined by heavy weights of the tourism and golfing sectors at an opening ceremony on the tee of scenic par-4 319m fourth hole, with its spectacular views of Coronet Peak.
They included Millbrook Resort owner Eichii Ishii, five-times British Golf Open champion Peter Thomson, English golfer, BBC commentator and golf course designer Peter Alliss, Millbrook golf course designer and former New Zealand touring pro Greg Turner, original Millbrook Resort course designer Sir Bob Charles, Tourism New Zealand chairman Greg Muir, Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Clive Geddes, Destination Queenstown General Manager Marketing Graham Budd and Millbrook Country Club Members Committee chairperson Peter Devine.
Mr Key then played the hole with Mr Turner and Mr Ishii with commentary provided by Mr Alliss.
“I was in complete awe of the company I was playing in but thoroughly enjoyed myself,” said Mr Key. “It’s a beautiful course and this new nine holes is a great addition to this high quality resort. It has been tremendous to have the opportunity to play it.”
Mr Key said he was a golfer in his ‘pre politics’ life as a member of the Remuera Golf club where he played a mid 20s handicap.
“Life after politics and I’ll be back into it,” he said.
Mr Key chatted with the guests saying his 14-year-old son had requested a boys’ weekend in Queenstown as a way to spend time with his Dad and wanted to play golf at Millbrook Resort as part of the break away.
He later proposed a toast to Mr Ishii thanking him personally for his investment in New Zealand in creating a world class golf resort.
The Turner Macpherson designed nine hole course is part of Millbrook’s $500 million expansion. Plans include a 27-hole golf course comprising three interchangeable ‘nines’. The spectacular Coronet Nine winds over rolling hills, between streams and wetlands, all set to some of the world’s most breathtaking backdrops.
The launch started with a Maori Mihi and an official welcome from Mr Ishii.
“We first invested in this property in 1987,” said Mr Ishii. “It was my dream to create a paradise where good people can meet other good people and be happy. In 1993 we officially opened Millbrook Resort and today I am very pleased today to share with you the enjoyment of opening an additional nine holes.”
Millbrook Sales and Marketing Director Kim Carpenter said the new course was an extension of Millbrook’s already world-class offering and he was delighted that Mr Key officially opened it.
“The new Coronet Nine is spectacular and takes in areas at Millbrook that our homeowners and guests have never seen,” he said.
“Golf at Millbrook and throughout the Wakatipu area has never been better.”
The Coronet Nine flows through a majestic landscape that is also home to a new resort homes development, with synergies between golf, recreation, hotel and residential development.
“By late 2010, Millbrook will be home to a 27-hole golf course offering some of the best golf in New Zealand,” Mr Carpenter said.
Golf course designer Greg Turner of Turner Macpherson Golf said the course layout was new to Millbrook, designed with careful consideration to the natural landscapes.
“The natural contours of the land for golf course construction are brilliant,” he said. “The exceptional surrounding landscape means that nothing within the course itself needed to be contrived.”
Mr Ishii’s vision involved significant habitat enhancement of the lower holes, reverting Mill Stream to its original course and adding extensive wetland corridors that has seen the return of fish and birdlife to the area.
The third and final new and improved ‘nine’, to be known as the Arrow Nine, is set for completion by late 2010. The Remarkables Nine, Coronet Nine and Arrow Nine will serve to create three differing 18-hole combinations, where any two out of the three 'nines' can be played together.