The format of the event, similar to that of the Alfred Dunhill Links and AT&T National Pro Ams at St Andrews and Pebble Beach respectively, is a variation on the theme used so successfully at the New Zealand PGA Championship over the past two years.
Host venues, the Hills and the adjacent Millbrook Resort, some twenty minutes outside of Queenstown the tourism playground of New Zealand, will be used in rotation over the first two days before the event plays its final 36 holes at the Michael Hill owned The Hills.
The successful entrant is therefore guaranteed at least two rounds during the event with three other amateurs and a professional good enough to be eligible to play the New Zealand Open and has the possibility of playing the weekend subject to his (or her) team's success as the leading teams graduate to the third and possibly final day.
The Hills has played host to the New Zealand Open on three previous occasions, once as an event co sanctioned with the European Tour and twice in a then Nationwide Tour partnership. Over the past two years the New Zealand PGA Championship has been played in a pro am format at the venue with New Zealander Michael Hendry successful on both occasions.
Hendry will again tee it up this year and as a Tier One event on the PGA Tour of Australasia so will many of Australasia's established and emerging professionals. 2008 US Open runner-up "Rocco Mediate":https://www.pgatour.com/champions/tour-insider/2013/12/17/mediate-reflects-on-2013.html is also in the field, the rookie on the Champions tour in 2013 winning twice and being named Rookie of the Year sure to add further colour to an already colourful event.
Many of New Zealand's sporting stars will play as will Ricky Ponting and Alan Border so perhaps your chance to join some friendly trans Tasman rivalry
Millbrook was one of the very first of the modern era resort developments in New Zealand but a few years ago a further nine holes was added under the design of local resident Greg Turner and is expected to provide a quality layout to support the Hills.
The winning entrant in the promotion will become a member of the Michael Hill team during the event, the prize to include return airfares for two to Queenstown from the winner's nearest Capital City, five nights accommodation at the magnificent Hilton Hotel on Lake Wakatipu, functions during the tournament, transfers, corporate hospitality during the week, player's lounge access during the week and two rounds of golf at each of Jack's Point, Millbrook and the Hills within twelve months of the event.
I have had the good fortune to have attended and commentated on the event's equivalent over the past two years and it has proven to be one of the most enjoyable golfing experiences you could imagine. The quality of the golf courses, the attention to detail of the organisers, the classy accommodation at the Hilton, the chance to play in the heated environment of tournament golf and possibly with a major sporting or entertainment facility make this a must enter competition.
If you are not lucky enough to win the spot on offer then give it some thought for the years ahead as perhaps a paying entrant. Even in that capacity you are assured of great value and entertainment.
You could make it a two week holiday and stay on to play Millbrook, Jack's Point and the Hills with a partner as part of the package. What an opportunity in (for those who have not been there) one of the great holiday destinations and adventure playgrounds of the world.