Player Hosting, a Kiwi Thing to do

Two years ago, when Millbrook Country Club members and owners Lindsay and his wife Julie opened their doors to two young professional golfers who were playing on their doorstep in the New Zealand Open, they had no idea the friendship they would find.

Jarin Todd and Berry Henson have stayed with the Aitken’s for the past two New Zealand Open tournaments in Queenstown (2018 & 2019). They have enjoyed the Kiwi hospitality and staying right on the edge of Millbrook’s championship golf course rather than a hotel half an hour away in town.

Lindsay Aitken was all too happy to open his doors to help a couple of professionals and to show them a great time no matter how their rounds played out.

Pro Jarin Todd (R with Lindsay Aitken at the 100th NZ Open. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville /

“We decided to open up our door two years ago as we thought it would be quite neat to see what it’s like, you know, to see how a professional prepares for a tournament, how they handle the pressures of a tournament and to have someone we know playing in the tournament,” said Aitken.

Lindsay believes its way more interesting if you have someone to follow in the tournament and you have more of a vested interest in the tournament itself rather than just a spectator.

“There are some well-known golfers like Ryan Fox that have a big following, but we actually found it more exciting following Jaron and Berry around. No matter how well they did because you knew them, and you sort of could talk to them afterwards about their round”.

“In 2018, Jarin finished third and Berry eleventh which was quite exciting to watch them play. They both said that they felt staying close to the course and in a family, environment helped them relax and settle into their game better” said Aitken.

It’s not just a good experience for the host family, the golfers love the experience as well. From having a bed on the course, itself, being able to head down to the range and have a quick practice, or even playing a round and learning from their hosts.

“I am so lucky to be able to stay with Julie and Lindsay at their wonderful house at Millbrook. They take great care of both Jarin and me for the week of the tournament” said Berry Henson “It always feels like being part of a family, they are out supporting me on the course and are so generous off the course”.

To find out more about the New Zealand Open player billeting programme or if you live in the Queenstown & Arrowtown region and wish to register your interest in hosting players, please email [email protected]

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