Resort buys land to expand golf course

Last updated 05:00 22/08/2014

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Millbrook Resort near Arrowtown has conditionally acquired neighbouring farmland with the aim of expanding its golf course.

The 66-hectare block, if Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval is granted for the resort's Japanese owners, could expand the course's 27-hole layout to offer two 18-hole courses.

The rugged farmland needs development work but Millbrook property and development manager Ben O'Malley said the natural beauty could be restored with careful planning and hard work. He said he was confident OIO approval would be granted.

The company was excited about the prospect of expanding the course.

The resort is owned by the Japan-based Ishii family, who bought Mill Farm in 1988 and developed it into a lifestyle and golfing resort.

"This is a lofty but achievable aspiration that is at the core of everything we do and the new land would enable Millbrook to take the next step on that journey," O'Malley said.

New Zealand Open organising committee chairman John Hart said the prospect of a two-course layout was exciting.

"For the NZ Open it means we'll have a great opportunity to consider further expanding in future years. The NZ Open, with Millbrook and The Hills as co-hosts, plays a key role in the Government's golf tourism strategy."

Millbrook course designer Greg Turner said he was thinking about an expanded course.

"While expanding Millbrook to 27 holes has balanced the pressures of member and visitor play, expanding to 36 would, to all intents and purposes, add another course."

Millbrook will co-host the NZ Open again in March with The Hills in Arrowtown.

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