Hospitality Business Magazine

Millbrook expands course to host NZ Golf Open 2023

The runaway success of Millbrook Resort’s new 36-hole golf operation has triggered the next stage of development at the luxury Queenstown resort.

Significant investment and improvement works get underway next week at the resort’s driving range, to cater for increased use of the current range and prepare for the 2023 New Zealand Open.

With a view to improving the experience and overall condition of the range, Millbrook Resort is investing a million dollars into a staged development which will double the available grass hitting area and extend the existing artificial all-weather hitting area on both sides of the current driving range building.

The extension of the artificial turf will increase capacity on that surface from approximately five spaces to 17, providing more options to use the range over winter when grass isn’t available.

Golfers will emjoy signage highlighting the new distances to coloured flags for more accurate measurements from their location on the range.

To enable it to cope better with increased guest and member use, the additional grass hitting area will be grown in a ‘sand carpet’ with drainage installed, making it more usable when it’s wet and quicker to repair divot damage.

The area will be large enough to cater for an influx of NZ Open golf tournament players. The event runs from March 2 – 5 at Millbrook only for the first time, taking full advantage of the new 36-hole configuration.

Following the installation of inground services, the access road to the driving range and upper carpark will be asphalt sealed, with line marking added to maximise this space. Landscape improvements are also being implemented as designed by Baxter Design Group that retain the area’s agrarian ‘feel’ such as sheep fences and the recycled woolshed which was transformed into the driving range building in 2007.

Toilet facilities will also be added to the existing driving range building.

The latest improvements are part of continued planned investment in the resort.  Work was completed in 2021 on the $50m development of the Mill Farm area of Millbrook including the addition of the new Coronet 9 which opened in January. 

“We continue to have full confidence in the resort’s long-term future and the timing couldn’t be better to carry out this work in the build-up to this summer and the 2023 New Zealand Open in March,” says Millbrook’s Director of Property and Development Ben O’Malley.

The work is expected to be completed by early next year and a temporary range will be set up until then, with separate areas for guests and members.

In January this year a $5million-plus infrastructure development included a totally renovated Golf Shop and new village centre improvements, designed to enhance the five-star golf and lifestyle resort’s guest experience and boost New Zealand golf tourism.

A new 1000sqm practice putting green was constructed near the Golf Shop and tees were reconfigured on the Remarkables No.1 hole to make way for this work. Impressive new golf cart storage barns and cart wash-down facilities were built to cater for the resort’s fleet of golf carts, which doubled due to the new course offering.

A 25m-wide tree lined boulevard is an outstanding feature between the cart barns and Golf Shop, and an improved arrival court alongside the reception building created a larger, safer and easier to navigate forecourt, surrounded by schist stone walls and with views towards The Remarkables. It also includes a new porters shed.

Millbrook is now one of only two golf courses in New Zealand offering two distinctly different 18-hole courses, played on alternate days by members and visitors.

“The new course configuration has been incredibly well received and we have very strong bookings for the upcoming season,” says Ben O’Malley.

“The area alongside the driving range is zoned for recreational facilities and we’re considering further improvements such as a golf academy and a potential new tennis centre.”