The development — with an estimated cost of $45m — has been three years in the planning. In 2014 the Overseas Investment Office approved Millbrook’s purchase of 67 hectares of the former Dalgleish Farm land on its western boundary.
The new development will add nine new golf holes to Millbrook’s current world-class 27-hole offering, meaning two full 18-hole courses will operate when it opens.
Site clearance is scheduled to start in early 2018, including a raft of ecological and landscape enhancements. Once the new golf course is constructed and ‘grown-in’ the aim is for it to be open for play over the summer of 2021/22.
Introducing a 36-hole format at Millbrook will be a ‘game changer’ for the resort in more ways than one. Millbrook Director of Golf Brian Spicer said the additional nine holes of golf on the farm land would effectively add 100% golf capacity.
“It will mean we have two fully operational 18-hole courses that can be played simultaneously for minimal additional maintenance costs” he said.
“It’s fantastic news because it will cater not only for our Millbrook Country Club members and locals, but for the significant growth opportunities for high-yielding golf tourism in New Zealand, particularly here in the Queenstown Lakes area.
The news has also been welcomed by Golf Tourism New Zealand (GTNZ) Executive Director Ryan Brandeburg. GTNZ had been tasked with growing the value of inbound golf tourism from $145M to $223M by the end of 2016.
“I’m happy to report that we currently sit well in excess of $300M annually, and Queenstown has proven to be an incredible draw for international visitors,” said Ryan.
“The town captures a significant amount of the 32,000 international visitor rounds played across New Zealand’s marquee courses in 2016, and happily many of those visitors are lovers of wine too, which Queenstown’s pretty good at!”
Mr Brandeburg said the timing of the new course was “perfect”, with the quality seen across Millbrook’s existing 27-holes, The Hills golf course and other courses in the region meaning the destination was poised to be a drawcard for international golfers for years to come.
The golf course layout is the brainchild of experienced golf course designers Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson who designed Millbrook’s new Coronet Nine in 2007/8. The new holes will combine with the Coronet Nine to make an 18-hole course.
The new holes make the most of the beautifully ice sculptured valleys and dramatically undulating land form which allows for what is believed to be the highest golf in the region, if not New Zealand.
Former NZ golf pro Greg Turner said much of the new nine would occupy “perhaps the most spectacular landscape at Millbrook.”
“With the combination of the Arrow and Coronet nines receiving such universal acclaim from the NZ Open field this year, to be able to extend the Coronet experience to a full 18 is an exciting prospect indeed,” he said.