Golf Australia - - AROUND THE TRAPS -

ONE of the most pop­u­lar am­a­teur tour­na­ments in New Zealand has started ac­cept­ing en­tries for its April 2018 event.

The 10th an­nual Cen­tral Otago Au­tumn Golf Classic, which is now man­aged by PaR nz Golf­ing Hol­i­days, will see more than 400 men and women play­ers com­pete over five courses in the beau­ti­ful Cen­tral Otago re­gion. Many com­peti­tors ar­rive as teams rep­re­sent­ing over 150 clubs through­out New Zealand and Australia.

Tour­na­ment Direc­tor Denise Lang­don, of PaR nz Golf­ing Hol­i­days, says the re­gion is likely to be at its crisp, clear and colour­ful best for the event from April 9 to 13. The mixed field will be di­vided into four groups, each named for an Otago lake and com­pris­ing about 100 mixed­abil­ity play­ers.

The five courses in­volved – Alexan­dra, Ar­row­town, Cromwell, Queen­stown and Wanaka – are some of the coun­try’s most pic­turesque.

The travel guides ex­haust su­perla­tives when it comes to de­scrib­ing the Cen­tral Otago re­gion. Moun­tains, lakes, forests, cliffs, grass­lands, rock out­crops and wide ex­panses of sky – ‘stun­ning’ is a word that ap­plies to them all. And the host courses eas­ily fit into the beau­ti­ful land­scape.

Alexan­dra Golf Club lies on easy-walk­ing sandy ter­rain near the mighty Clutha River and is sur­rounded by the high mountain ranges of the Old Man, Dun­stan and Hawk­duns.

Ar­row­town Golf Club (pic­tured right) is set in rolling hills on the out­skirts of an his­toric gold-min­ing town. Formed along the Ar­row River be­low the Crown Range, play­ers al­most al­ways have clear views of Coronet Peak and the Re­mark­ables dur­ing au­tumn.

Like its Clutha River neigh­bour at Alexan­dra, Cromwell Golf Club is also more than 100 years old but has been re­designed in re­cent years by Greg Turner, who cre­ated a more in­ter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing lay­out.

The Kelvin Heights penin­sula is home to the scenic Queen­stown Golf Club, which of­ten fea­tures in classic post­card im­ages taken from the gon­dola at Bob’s Peak.

The course is sur­rounded by Lake Wakatipu and framed by the Re­mark­ables mountain range, which makes it hard to keep your head down. Golfers are af­forded amaz­ing views of moun­tains and shim­mer­ing alpine wa­ters at ev­ery tee and green.

Like most of the scenic courses in­volved in the Au­tumn Classic, the award-win­ning Wanaka Golf Club is perched high above the Wanaka town­ship in the heart of the Queen­stown Lakes re­gion.

Play­ers ne­go­ti­at­ing the front-nine have views over the town­ship to Lake Wanaka and the Mount Aspir­ing Na­tional Park. The back-nine has more of a park­land feel with tree-lined fair­ways and views of Mt Iron, Mt Gold and the Cardrona Val­ley.

A chal­leng­ing lay­out fol­low­ing nat­u­ral con­tours in ad­di­tion to small greens make the Wanaka course one to be re­mem­bered for more than its im­pos­ing scenery.

Each group in the Au­tumn Classic will play ev­ery course, with cu­mu­la­tive sta­ble­ford points de­ter­min­ing the win­ners in mul­ti­ple di­vi­sions re­sult­ing in nu­mer­ous daily prizes, along with over­all in­di­vid­ual win­ners in hand­i­cap di­vi­sions and team awards.

“Now’s the time to be get­ting teams to­gether for a great week,” Lang­don said. “Most par­tic­i­pants choose to stay in Queen­stown – but wher­ever you’re based you are no more than about an hour from a tour­na­ment course.”

En­tries opened on Oc­to­ber 1, and PaR nz Golf­ing Hol­i­days can help with ac­com­mo­da­tion, car rental and Air New Zealand flights.

For more de­tails and an en­try form, visit the website

The views from the Queen­stown GC course are sim­ply stun­ning.

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