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					                                    NEW ZEALAND OPEN FEATURE

The Hills
Home of the
New Zealand Open
for the next 3 years

                           Parkland & The Hills
                 Parkland and Toro have been an integral part
                        of The Hills from day one. See page 2
                                                                                        Spectactular views from the fourth tee across
                                                                                        to the green, which is flanked by several of

                                                                                        the course’s 90-something bunkers.

PARKLAND UPDATE                                                       
The equipment & irrigation behind the New Zealand Open

michAEL hiLL - jEWELLER                                               5
Where it all began for michael hill

ThE hiLLs                                                             6
From dreams to reality

FROm PiTch’N PUTT TO ThE NZ OPEN                                      9
how  holes turned into the next venue for the NZ Open

high AchiEvERs                                                       10
The hills talented children

A cLUbhOUsE TO bE REmEmbERED                                         11
it’s not just the golf course that’s wowing the golfers

Our thanks to The Cut magazine for allowing us to reproduce
some of their articles for this special edition of Parkland Press.
                                                                                     Parkland Update - home of the NZ Open
                                                                                      ThE hiLLs – hOmE OF ThE NEW                              River and lake can have a high level of algae at times.   irrigation system which easily handles the tough                capacity mowers for the rough.
                                                                                                                                               To combat this problem, The Hills installed a fully       Otago conditions.
                                                                                      ZEALAND OPEN                                             automatic Toro filter system along with 2 stainless
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Ian Douglas has always been an early adopter of new
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ideas and equipment. He was among the first to
                                                                                      The New Zealand Open is coming to                        steel intakes in the wet well. Peter Gant particularly    high sTANDARDs DEmAND                                           purchase a TyCrop MH-400 high capacity topdresser.
                                                                                      Queenstown for the first time in its long and
                                                                                                                                               enjoyed designing the lake circulation system. Water      TORO EqUiPmENT                                                  The Hills then became the very first customer in New
                                                                                                                                               circulates via a 150mm main using a 7.5kw pump
  Right: The TORO                                                                     distinguished history. Parkland and Toro are                                                                       In keeping with owner Michael Hill’s commitment                 Zealand to buy the new Toro Reelmaster 5410 fairway
                                                                                                                                               with 3 high volume Otterbine aerators in each of the
  Groundsmaster 4000                                                                  proud to be associated with The Hills – the                                                                        to quality and technology, Operations Manager
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         mowers. They now have 2 of them.
                                                                                                                                               3 ponds.
                                                                                      home of the tournament for the next 3 years.                                                                       Ian Douglas has purchased high specification Toro               Although The Hills already has a large Toro fleet, their
                                                                                                                                               The biggest installation challenge was the pipe
                                                                                                                                                                                                         equipment for the course.                                       commitment to The New Zealand Open is such that
                                                                                      NO sPEc TOO TOUgh FOR                                    work on the 15th hole tees. The rock in this area was
                                                                                                                                               substantial - much like the ground experienced in         The Hills’ Toro fleet is 15 units strong. Equipment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         they have purchased additional machines including
                                                                                      TORO iRRigATiON                                          parts of Jacks Point. Installation was completed in       ranges from Toro Greensmaster Flex 21 walk behind
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         new Toro Sidewinder reel mowers, the latest Toro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         MultiPro 1250 spray unit and a wide area Toro
                                                                                      Parkland, Toro and The Hills have worked together        January 2005. The result for The Hills is an excellent    greens mowers to Toro Groundsmaster 4000 high
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Groundsmaster 4000D rotary mower.
                                                                                      from the very beginning. Peter Gant designed the
                                                                                      irrigation system which grew from a relatively simple,                                                                                                                             The Hills is definitely a Toro course and it is going to
                                                                                      single row decoder system to a state-of-the-art Toro                                                                                                                               be an outstanding venue for the New Zealand Open.
                                                                                      SitePro controlled setup with 750 and 760 valve-in-
                                                                                         20 the CUt June 2007
                                                                                      head sprinklers.

                                                                                      The project started in March 2002 with a 9 hole golf
                                                                          CT Jun07 MichaelHill.indd 20                                                                                                                         7/4/07 9:17:37 AM   CT Jun07 MichaelHill.indd 21
                                                                                      course envisaged. By August, the design concept had
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             For more info on any of the
                                                                                      changed considerably and the decision had been
                                                                                      made to upgrade to a top quality 18 hole course.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             articles featured call us on:
                                                                                      Double row sprinklers were introduced on the                                                                                                                                           Auckland Ph 09 415 0300
                                                                                      fairways and back-to-back sprinklers on the greens.                                                                                                                                    christchurch Ph 03 349 3760
                                                                                      Water comes from the Arrow Irrigation scheme
                                                                                      through Millbrook into a lake at The Hills. The Arrow                                     Pictured above: TORO sprinklers in action

               NZ OPen

                         He acHieved celebrity status as MicHael Hill Jeweller.
                         Now, as Michael Hill Golfer, he’s pulled off one of the greatest coups in New Zealand sport by
                         having the New Zealand Open allocated for three years to the Hills, the golf course he created on
                         his property at arrowtown, 20 kilometres from Queenstown. staff writer bOb HOwitt flew
                         south to check out the course and for an exclusive interview with the remarkable Mr Hill.
                                                                                                                                                                 It’s more than 50 years sInce mIchael hIll’s passion for golf and
                                                                                                                                                                 entrepreneurial talents first merged. as a student at Whangarei Boys high
                                                                                                                                                                 school, the enterprising teenager created the red star Golf club in the
                                                                                                                                                                 backyard of the house he grew up in at 28 manse street.
                                                                                                                                                                    It wasn’t a particularly big backyard, but that didn’t deter young
                                                                                                                                                                 michael, who’d been introduced to the game by his parents who were
                                                                                                                                                                 members of the mt Denby club. his mother Billie was a quality player, his
                                                                                                                                                                 father Dick enthusiastic but erratic.
                                                                                                                                                                     With a vision that would project him as one of the most influential new
                                                                                                                                                                 Zealanders of his time, michael set to with a lawnmower and 18 baked
                                                                                                                                                                 bean cans, forming a mini pitch and putt course, the cans being sunk into
                                                                                                                                                                 the turf to form the holes.
                                                                                                                                                                     the red star Golf club flourished. he charged 1s 6d (about 15 cents
                                                                                                                                                                 in today’s money) for a round and regularly had about 15 school mates
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   for the future. “I had a vision as I stood there,” he says. “From that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   moment, I knew what I wanted to achieve.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               NZ OPen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Becoming michael hill Jeweller, the iconic character who in 1987 had a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   profile in new Zealand second only to the prime minister, wouldn’t be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   achieved without causing considerable angst within his family circle. Firing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   himself with determination to launch his own jewellery enterprise was all
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   very well, but the whole family was inexorably involved in his uncle arthur
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Fisher’s long-standing business. and Fishers was recognised as Whangarei’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   leading jewellery company.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       through a fortuitous circumstance, hill had funding available to either
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   purchase an existing business or establish something new, courtesy of a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   friend who had inherited £1.5 million and who was prepared to back him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       hill twice offered to buy his uncle’s business, upping the ante
                                                                                                                                                                 chipping and putting away with his parents’ clubs. each session would end         substantially the second time, but Fisher resolutely declined to sell. so hill,
                                                                                                                                                                 with young hill on the microphone presenting prizes to the winners.               who was now bursting to express himself in the business world, was left with
                                                                                                                                                                     the man who in 2007 has audaciously snared new Zealand Golf’s                 no option but to go it alone.
                                                                                                                                                                 most prestigious event would acknowledge that that was where “the seed                he eventually purchased mcDonald’s grocery store for $19,500, a record
                                                                                                                                                                 was sown”.                                                                        price for downtown Whangarei at the time. his backer was true to his word
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   and by easter of 1980 the transaction was complete. Within two and a half
                                                                                                                                                                 When hill and his wife christine opted to attend the movies in Whangarei          weeks michael hill Jeweller was in business... with seven staff members who
                                                                                                                                                                 one spring evening in 1979, wearied from decorating the beautiful home            had been lured across from Fishers!
                                                                                                                                                                 they had established overlooking the inner harbour, they little suspected it          the opening sale was a legendary occasion for Whangarei and set
                                                                                                                                                                 would be the night that would change their lives forever.                         in motion the michael hill formula for success. his revolutionary selling
                                                                                                                                                                     the house was massive, built of cedar and blocks in a hexagonal               techniques would spread throughout the country and to australia and
                                                                                                                                                                 design, with huge windows. Because they’d overrun their budget                    eventually canada. the formula included dramatically different store designs,
                                                                                                                                                                 and exhausted available funds, they were completing the interior                  a product range devoted exclusively to jewellery and high impact television
                                                                                                                                                                 painting themselves.                                                              advertising featuring none other than michael hill himself.
                                                                                                                                                                     It was the fumes from the painting that drove them to take in a movie.            he had a vision of launching seven stores in seven years. When he
                                                                                                                                                                 they dropped their children, mark and emma, at christine’s parents’               decided to relocate to australia, he was close to achieving that goal, having
                                                                                                                                                                 house and cruised on into the town centre. later, when picking up the             established six stores, in Whangarei, hastings, lower hutt, takapuna,
                                                                                                                                                                 kids, the phone rang. It was their neighbour. “I don’t know how to tell           Palmerston north and hamilton, with another on the horizon and his original
                                                                                                                                                                 you this,” she said, “but your house is burning down.”                            backer having long since departed the scene.
                                                                                                                                                                     When the hills arrived at the scene, their dream house was one                    When the company listed on the stock exchange in 1987, it raised $3
                                                                                                                                                                 incredible conflagration, the cedar and butynol roofing membrane proving          million. that was, of course, the year of the calamitous sharemarket crash
                                                                                                                                                                 a lethal mix. half of Whangarei, it seemed, had turned out, watching in           and hill is immensely proud of the fact that he is the only survivor of the
                                                                                                                                                                 awe as the house burned inexorably to the ground.                                 companies that listed that year. his ‘moving abroad’ sale in Whangarei was
                                                                                                                                                                    What can you do in a circumstance like that, with your beautiful home          quite an event, his store turning over in six weeks the equivalent of what
                                                                                                                                                                 beyond saving? What hill did was to walk to a high vantage point where            others would handle in a year.
                                                                                                                                                                 he wrote down his plan for the future. he was 40 years old and he didn’t             australia was a completely different challenge, but michael hill Jeweller
                                                                                                                                                                 consider he had achieved a hell of a lot, having spent 23 years working for       loved challenges. “We took the aussies completely by surprise,” he says.
                                                                                                                                                                 his uncle in the family jewellery business. as he stood above the burning         “We succeeded because we were different. I went on television again, doing
                                                                                                                                                                 embers of his home, his future suddenly crystallised itself. he found a           my wacky ads. I was perceived as a car salesman, which probably didn’t do
                                                                                                                                                                 business card in his back pocket and wrote on it BUy Uncle’s BUsIness.            my reputation any good, but the three shops we started with all took off.
               Some of the 50,000 tussock plants that feature                                                                                                        reflecting on that traumatic evening 28 years ago, hill says the fire could   We lured people by offering them a sapphire ring at cost price. now we
               on the course appear to almost enclose the tee                                                                                                    have spelt the end of the world for him. Instead, it provided the inspiration     have 140 shops in australia.”
               boxes on the 16th hole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             June 2007 the CUt 17

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                                             Reproduced from The Cut magazine                                                                                                          Reproduced from The Cut magazine   
               NZ OPen

                   While Hill’s jewellery stores were booming, the Warehouse came
                unstuck when it ventured into Australia. “That,” says the shrewd
                businessman, “is because they bought into a chain that wasn’t working.
                We offered Australians something excitingly new.”
                   Michael Hill Jewellers have since set up in Canada, where the operation
                was until recently administered by Hill’s daughter Emma, who is now back
                in New Zealand. They researched the local market before opening their
                doors and found that Canadian women are not as independent as New
                Zealand women, men making most of the purchases. Canadians prefer
                four claw settings rather than eight and white diamonds rather than yellow.
                “We learned so much in our research,” says Hill. “While it was important
                to adapt to the local market, one thing we didn’t change was our basic
                philosophy to keep the operation simple and to continue concentrating
                on our area of expertise. We had once tried to branch out into shoes, but                                                                                                                                                       AN 18-HOle GOlf cOurse that
                that was unsuccessful, so we decided to focus one hundred per cent on the
                business we knew most about, jewellery.”                                                                                                                                                                                        could stage the New Zealand Open was not
                   When the newest store was opened in Alberta, the outside temperature
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                on the five-year, 10-year or 20-year plan
                was minus 30 degrees Celsius. Emma was concerned no one would venture
                outdoors to the opening, despite extensive newspaper advertising and
                the offer of a one carat diamond for one dollar, but at opening time 400
                people were queued up outside the store. Michael Hill Jewellers currently
                has 190 stores in New Zealand, Australia and Canada with a vision for
                1000 stores by 2022. The UK is the next market to be probed.

                Not wanting to overstay their welcome in Australia and unwilling to
                become citizens of that country, the Hills chose to return to New Zealand
                in 1992. It wasn’t their native far north that beckoned, however, but
                rather a spectacularly beautiful part of the country that had captured their
                hearts from the first time they visited it, Queenstown. They wanted to try
                something different.
                    That something different, which would manifest itself in a sensational
                manner neither the Hills nor the golfing fraternity of New Zealand could
                ever have visualised, began quietly enough at Spinnaker Bay on the
                Frankton arm of Lake Wakatipu. While the scenery was breathtaking, the
                property was compact. The Hills wanted something more expansive.
                    Their saviour came knocking on the door in the form of enterprising
                real estate agent Bob Jack. He’d heard a whisper the Hills could be in the
                market for something special. They looked first at Kelvin Heights but found
                nothing appropriate. Lake Hayes was more promising, but again nothing
                hit the mark. “Well,” said Jack, “there’s a deer farm near Arrowtown that
                could possibly interest you, although the buildings are awfully run down.”
                    The moment the Hills stepped on to the property they fell in love
                with it. Never mind the broken down buildings; the scenery was to die
                for. The 180 degree view that swept from Crown Hill past the delightful
                former gold mining settlement of Arrowtown to the renowned ski resort
                of Coronet Peak and on to the peerless Remarkables completely dazzled
                them. Directly across the road linking Lake Hayes with Arrowtown, a mere
                5-iron away, was Millbrook, one of the snazziest golf courses in the land
                and where Hill immediately became a member.
                    “There was never any doubt about where we wanted to spend the rest
                of our lives, from the moment we took in a view that, I have to say, we
                found absolutely breathtaking,” says Hill. “Christine reckons it’s one of the
                rare occasions since she met me that I was lost for words!”
                                                                                                           A bird’s eye view of the stunning 17th hole,
                    An 18-hole golf course that could stage the New Zealand Open was
                                                                                                           aptly named The Canyon.
                not on the five-year, 10-year or even 20-year plan. The 138 acres the

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CT Jun07 MichaelHill.indd 18                                                                                                                              7/4/07 9:17:25 AM   CT Jun07 MichaelHill.indd 19                                                                            7/4/07 9:17:35 AM

                                                             Reproduced from The Cut magazine                                                                                    Reproduced from The Cut magazine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NZ OPen

              Spectactular views from the fourth tee across
                 the green, which from the by several across
              toSpectactular viewsis flanked fourth tee of
              the course’s 90-something bunkers. several of
                to the green, which is flanked by
                the course’s 90-something bunkers.

                                                                                                                                                                                               Hills initially purchased (that would subsequently expand to 500 acres as
                                                                                                                                                                                               neighbouring properties were bought up) was simply to allow them to build
                                                                                                                                                                                               their dream home and install a putting green that would pretty soon expand
                                                                                                                                                                                               into a three-green pitch and putt area.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  The pitch and putt zone soon took on a life of its own. Ever enterprising,
                                                                                                                                                                                               Hill established three tees for each green, effectively creating a nine-hole mini-
                                                                                                                                                                                               course. With his extrovert personality, he quickly buddied up with the various
                                                                                                                                                                                               personalities who belonged to, or regularly visited, Millbrook and it was a
                                                                                                                                                                                               logical progression for him to invite them across to Hillbrook, as it became
                                                                                                                                                                                               affectionately known, for a ‘shoot-out’ after they’d completed their serious
                                                                                                                                                                                               18 holes. Such celebrated golfers as Bob (now Sir Bob) Charles, Greg Turner,
                                                                                                                                                                                               Phil Tataurangi, Steve Alker and Grant Moorhead became regulars, the host
                                                                                                                                                                                               adding special appeal to the occasions by presenting magnums of wine to the
                                                                                                                                                                                               leading performers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  The three-hole pitch and putt zone was restrictive, so Hillbrook was
                                                                                                                                                                                               expanded to a five-hole short course that burgeoned into a significant annual
                                                                                                                                                                                               charity fund-raising event. Tents were erected, wine tasting introduced and
                                                                                                                                                                                               celebrity All Blacks, Black Caps and Silver Ferns became involved. It became
                                                                                                                                                                                               a newsworthy occasion that attracted media from near and far. Paul Holmes
                                                                                                                                                                                               popped in one year, Mike Hosking another, and TV One and TV3 annually
                                                                                                                                                                                               garnered material for their news programmes. Proceeds were donated
                                                                                                                                                                                               to Raleigh International, the UK based youth development organisation
                                                                                                                                                                                               that helps people of all backgrounds and nationalities to discover their
                                                                                                                                                                                               full potential.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Hillbrook, notwithstanding its celebrity status, to this point was nothing
                                                                                                                                                                                               more than an adjunct of Millbrook, a place where zany things happened,
                                                                                                                                                                                               where fun was the order of the day.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   It was John Darby, Millbrook’s course designer, who planted the first seed
                                                                                                                                                                                               that would lead to the Hill property becoming a serious golf course. Hill had
                                                                                                                                                                                               approached him about expanding the existing six-hole layout to include a par
                                                                                                                                                                                               four, with the intention of making the mini-course a little more challenging.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Darby visualised a much grander picture. After assessing the entire
                                                                                                                                                                                               property, he put it to Hill that he could, and should, create a full 18-hole
                                                                                                                                                                                               course. “We could do it for four million dollars,” he boldly assured the
                                                                                                                                                                                               property owner and golf enthusiast.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   “We didn’t complete it for four millions dollars, although it was a good
                                                                                                                                                                                               try!” admitted Hill as he surveyed his near-completed masterpiece last month.
                                                                                                                                                                                               “I’m not prepared to reveal how much it did cost – it’s my best kept secret.
                                                                                                                                                                                               Christine doesn’t know, or I’d be in big trouble. What I can say is that we’ve
                                                                                                                                                                                               probably broken every rule in the book about how you establish a new golf
                                                                                                                                                                                               course but we’ve ended up with something truly unique, something we can
                                                                                                                                                                                               all be immensely proud of.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                   With Darby acting as designer, Hill initially placed his gardener Sebastian
                                                                                                                                                                                               Mead in charge of the bunkers. “My gardener, for god’s sake! He visualised
                                                                                                                                                                                               the shapes.” Mead would later be joined by Ian Douglas, the former
                                                                                                                                                                                               greenkeeper at Millbrook. The pair are responsible for creating the 90-plus
                                                                                                                                                                                               bunkers on the course. “They’ve done a magnificent job,” says Hill.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   They certainly have. The bunkers blend beautifully with the environment
                                                                                                                                                                                               and look as though they have been part of the landscape for years. One of
                                                                                                                                                                                               them stretches to over half an acre. The silty soil of Arrowtown ensures they
                                                                                                                                                                                               hold together perfectly while being cut and shaped. They have been filled
                                                                                                                                                                                               with sand brought in from Oamaru, a special sand that never changes colour
                                                                                                                                                                                               or blows away. They drain superbly too. In places like Auckland, where

               20 the CUt June 2007
                 20 the CUt June 2007

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  CT Jun07 MichaelHill.indd 20                                                                                  7/4/07 9:17:37 AM   CT Jun07 MichaelHill.indd 21                                                                                                                 7/4/07 9:17:38 AM

                                               Reproduced from The Cut magazine                                                        Reproduced from The Cut magazine 
               NZ OPen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NZ OPen

                                                                                           there is a largely clay base, water accumulates in bunkers after heavy rain.
                                                                                           Not here. Hill lavishes praise on Mead who, he says, has sculpted them
                                                                                           brilliantly, to the extent that Sir Bob Charles is on record as declaring them
                                                                                           the best bunkers on any course in New Zealand.
                                                                                              One invaluable natural resource that will ensure The Hills is always
                                                                                           lush and in pristine condition is the water course that flows freely from the
                                                                                           mountains behind Arrowtown. It has allowed the designers to create creeks,
                                                                                           ponds and water hazards galore and ensure that every tree on the property
                                                                                           is irrigated.
                                                                                             By the time nine holes had been constructed (starting with No 6), Hill
                                                                                           was concerned the project cost was spiralling out of control. Using Kiwi
                                                                                           do-it-yourself ingenuity he went and bought a front-end loader, 24- and
                                                                                           18-ton diggers, a truck, some tractors and cultivators, and hired a massive
                                                                                           earth scraper, plus a D8 bulldozer that was used to shape the fairways. He
                                                                                           appointed Ian Douglas as Operations Manager and changed the modus
                                                                                           operandi. The construction project lasted four and a half years and it was
                                                                                           Douglas who kept the troops motivated through the long, monotonous days
                                                                                           as deer farm metamorphosed into world-class golf course.
                                                                                               Darby takes the credit for designing the holes, several of which are                                             Above left: dragonfly sculptures by Mark Hill appear to be skimming across the lake that borders the sixth fairway and, above right, New Zealand golfer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Michael Campbell, Michael Hill and The Hills’ club pro John Griffin cast appreciative eyes across the new course.
                                                                                           destined to rate among New Zealand’s greatest golf holes the moment the
                                                                                           course is opened. However, there were times when he was overseas and,
                                                                                           as Hill puts it, “executive decisions had to be made” regarding the course’s                                         appointed to market the new Zealand open, had played three holes.                      “to be honest, I’m not sure,” he admits. “I didn’t approach new Zealand
             Mark Hill alongside his weta sculpture on The Hills’ first fairway.
                                                                                           configuration. Whenever that happened, those making the decisions                                                    “australians are slow to praise anything to do with new Zealand,” hill says,       Golf, they came to me. I’ve heard that sir Bob charles was so impressed
                                                                                           adhered to the basic philosophy of ensuring the course always blended in                                             “but after three holes Bob was absolutely fizzing.”                                after he played here that he went to them singing the course’s praises. But,
                                                                                           with the flow of the land. “We have been blessed with naturally undulating                                                such a stunning course would not have been complete without a                 honestly, I haven’t had that confirmed. I’m just thrilled that after all our efforts
                                                                                           land,” says Hill, “ and we’ve built the course around it.”                                                           clubhouse to match, and auckland architect andrew Patterson has done hill          we’ve created a course worthy of the open.”
                                                                                               Only one hole didn’t measure up. Hill the perfectionist didn’t hesitate.                                         (not to mention arrowtown and new Zealand Golf) proud.                                 hill said that on more than one occasion during the construction of the

            High achievers                                                                 “It wasn’t working so we ripped it up and started again. Now I can proudly
                                                                                           boast there is not a weak hole on the course.”
                                                                                               As the project draws to a close – with the official opening scheduled to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Patterson’s creation almost defies description. It is an exceptional
                                                                                                                                                                                                                architectural achievement moulded perfectly into the landscape. somehow,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                he has got 200 tons of concrete to float. and somehow he has blended
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   course he asked himself, “Why the hell am I doing this?”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       and what answer did he give himself? “Well, I considered I was in so deep,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I just had to keep going! the encouragement of great golfers like sir Bob
            Michael and Christine Hill are immensely proud of the jewellery                coincide with the New Zealand Open that commences on November 29                                                     fairway and clubhouse into such absolute harmony that the undulating               certainly helped. and my philosophy through life has been that if you knuckle
            business they have developed and the golf course they
                                                                                           – Michael extends praise to his band of workers, some of whom pulled out                                             velvety turf extends through from the fairway, over the trundler shed and          down and put the energy into a project, something great can happen.”
            have created. They can also be mightily proud of their two
                                                                                           the deer fences four and half years ago when the property was nothing but                                            on to the roof of the clubhouse. yes, grass flourishes on the clubhouse                Who came up with the name the hills? hill’s wife christine can take the
            talented children.
                                                                                           sprawling farmland. Roger Fleck has spent four years on a digger helping to                                          roof! not only that, but if a wayward approach to the 18th green should            credit for that. “It probably seems obvious now,” he says, “but it wasn’t easy.
            Emma, who has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an MBA,                        sculpt the course. “He was brought on board to be the workshop engineer                                              land on the clubhouse roof, the competitor is obliged to play his next shot        We considered all sorts of names before christine crystallised matters for us.
            is a board member of the Michael Hill Jewellers chain. She spent               but he got on the digger and never got off,” says Hill. “He probably knows                                           from there.                                                                        the logo was designed by our daughter-in-law monika, who like her husband
            four years in Canada where she oversaw the opening of 16
                                                                                           the course better than anyone.”                                                                                           the building is constructed of Grc (glass reinforced concrete), a new         mark, is very artistic.”
            new stores.
                                                                                               Others who merit a special mention are greenkeeper Ryan Topper,                                                  product that is strong and light and can be moulded into complex shapes. a             even before it is completed, it is apparent the hills is going to become a
            Mark, who studied graphic design at the Queensland College                     second-in-charge Ashley Cameron and assistant greenkeepers Shane Taylor,                                             new Zealand first is the use of frameless double-glazed glass walls to take        national treasure, a course that will rate among the finest, not just in new
            of Art in Brisbane, is a gifted photographer and sculptor whose                Guy Vinsen, Craig McFarlane, Regan Marfell and Nathan Lindsay. They                                                  maximum advantage of the views.                                                    Zealand but in the world.
            works not only feature in Wanaka, Queenstown and Arrowtown                     were bound by confidentiality during construction, not allowed to take                                                    hill is beside himself with joy at what Patterson has created. “When              hill believes bringing the open to the Queenstown region – it is 22 years
            but along the fairways of The Hills course.                                    photos or talk about happenings outside work hours, although Marfell                                                 players and spectators visit here, I want them go away saying, ‘Wow, wait          since the south Island hosted the event – will be the catalyst for a surge in golf
            Particularly striking is the five-metre tall weta (constructed from            did reveal to local newspaper Mountain Scene that the course was pretty                                              till you see the clubhouse!’”                                                      tourism. Queenstown is already internationally recognised as a ski retreat and
            stainless steel and corten steel) that lurks beside the pine trees             special. “Most courses have two or three memorable holes,” he proudly                                                     It won’t be just the clubhouse itself that blows their socks off. the         he is positive it will rate even higher as a golf destination.
            bordering the first fairway.                                                   declared. “At The Hills there are probably a dozen that are special.”                                                massive glass windows in the lounge afford breathtaking views of the                   “We have a fantastic opportunity to market Queenstown to the world
            Enhancing the sixth fairway is the Dragonfly Lake, featuring                       Professionals Tataurangi, Turner and John Griffin (who is now The Hill’s                                         remarkables and coronet Peak. “When the open is played at the end of               during the open when millions of golf fans will be able to watch 21 hours
            striking dragonfly sculptures, some of Mark’s earliest works.                  resident pro, with Hill declaring himself his worst pupil) provided valuable                                         november,” says hill, “there will still be snow on the mountain tops. We           of live action. one thing I intend to do is market our fantastic region to the
                                                                                           technical input for Darby in the designing of the course. One essential                                              are, after all, 1200ft above sea level. you get amazingly different moods          world. We’ll make it so appealing, everyone will want to come.”
            Mark, who taught himself to weld and has developed a unique
                                                                                           requirement they stressed, says Hill, was that for the course to be of true                                          and colours here. Visitors will be gobsmacked.”                                        yes, golf, skiing and music – three attractions to lure visitors to
            style, staged a successful exhibition of giant welded steel insects
                                                                                           international championship standard it had to be long, because most top-                                                                                                                                Queenstown. oh, did we mention hill is passionate about music as well,
            in 2001. He is currently working on a piece of sculpture for
                                                                                           ranking pros are driving the ball at least 300 metres.                                                               creating a golf course (that stretches to more than 6500 metres) in your           in particular the violin? he was once a budding concert violinist and he has
            Queenstown Airport.
                                                                                               The landscaping was completed with the introduction of 50,000 red and                                            backyard is one thing. having the national body allocate its precious open,        created the michael hill World Violin competition, a major international
            Emma’s Canadian-born husband Doug Jacques oversees the                         silver tussock plants from Central Otago, most of them painstakingly planted                                         an event of sufficient status to be co-sanctioned with the australasian PGa        event for emerging violinists that is staged in Queenstown each Queen’s
            family’s non-retail assets while Mark’s wife Monika, who is                    by Hill, Christine and the family.                                                                                   and the european tour, to the course is quite another.                             Birthday weekend.
            of Polish descent, is also artistic and designed the new golf
                                                                                               If Hill wanted confirmation he had created something special, it came                                                so how did hill pull off this amazing coup, one that is surely unparalleled        no wonder the man was awarded the country’s top honour, the
            course’s logo.
                                                                                           after Bob Tuohy, the boss of Tuohy Associates Ltd, the Australian company                                            in new Zealand sport?                                                              Distinguished companion of new Zealand order of merit, in 2001.

               22 the CUt June 2007                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             June 2007 the CUt 23

CT Jun07 MichaelHill.indd 22                                                                                                                                                7/4/07 9:17:43 AM   CT Jun07 MichaelHill.indd 23                                                                                                                                                              7/4/07 9:17:50 AM

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                                                       Reproduced from The Cut magazine                                                                                                                                               Reproduced from The Cut magazine     

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