The LPGA Tour will be heading to New Zealand next year for the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open, which will take place from 28 September to 1 October at the Windross Farm Golf Course in Ardmore, Auckland.
The tournament, boasting a purse of US$1.3 million, will mark the first LPGA or PGA Tour event to take place in New Zealand.
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, is Lydia Ko’s hometown, and the world No. 1 could not be happier about the LPGA coming to her home turf. “I am so excited with this announcement to bring the LPGA to my hometown in Auckland,” said Ko. “New Zealand is – I am sorry I am biased – the most beautiful country in the world.”
“I am honoured to be the first player to sign up to play. It is going to be amazing for me and my family to host my LPGA friends in my country. I want to see golf grow in New Zealand and more women playing the game, so this news is fantastic.”
The new tournament will be played among panoramic landscapes just 45 minutes south of Auckland at Windross Farm, New Zealand’s newest golf course, designed by Brett Thomson and Phil Tataurangi. It is a superb addition to the North Island's golf courses and a facility that promises a special golfing experience.
The new course traverses 60 hectares of pristine farmland, with spectacular 360-degree views of tree-lined hills and lush green countryside. Developed as an inland links-style course, Windross Farm offers a mix of flat and undulating ground, man-made lakes and dramatic, strategically placed bunkers to provide the best of golf and the natural environment.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open will be a tremendous addition to the LPGA schedule in 2017 and beyond. “We’re excited to extend our global reach, partner with a great company like MCKAYSON, and enable our Tour players and global television viewers to experience the beauty of New Zealand.”
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said coverage of the event will help grow golfing tourism, to the benefit of Auckland. “The tournament allows us to work with government to showcase Auckland to wider, high-value tourism markets like those in China, Japan, South Korea, the US, Australia and the UK. The media exposure alone in the high-value markets will reach millions of people.”
The tournament, established in 2009, will continue to advance the profile of golf in New Zealand. More than $500 million has been invested in new golf facilities over the past 15 years, including the Windross Farm Golf Club, which will host the event.
New Zealand Golf chief executive Dean Murphy welcomed the news. “New Zealand Golf is thrilled with the boost for golf and the golf industry in this country, and for the women’s game in particular,” he said.
“Inbound golf tourism brought in $329 million to New Zealand for the year ended August 2016, which was a 23 percent increase over last year.
“The LPGA international platform will allow Auckland and New Zealand a unique opportunity to promote ourselves to a worldwide audience in over 150 countries with over eight hours of television coverage.”
The MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open adds to an already impressive line-up of international golf events in New Zealand in 2017. The ISPS Handa New Zealand Open takes place in Queenstown during March, with some of the world's top PGA professionals taking part. Following the Women’s Open in October, the Royal Wellington Golf Club will host the prestigious Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which will be broadcast live around the world.
Tickets to the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open will go on sale early next year, with more details to be released in the coming weeks. For more information about the event, please visit: www.nzwomensopen.com
Golf in New Zealand
New Zealand’s natural beauty, showcased by quality and affordable courses and complemented by the friendly and relaxed service, makes it one of the world’s top golfing destinations.
It’s never far to go to play golf because New Zealand has the second-highest number of courses per capita in the world - just behind Scotland, the home of golf. New Zealand has almost 400 golf courses in settings ranging from parkland to links. There are world-class offerings on both the North and South Islands, including two courses listed among the world’s top 50.
One day you could be teeing off with a backdrop of snow-covered mountains and glistening alpine lakes in Queenstown, and the next putting alongside the bubbling hot pools of Rotorua. From small-town clubs surrounded by rolling farmland and dramatic clifftop greens with expansive coastal views, to stunning lakeside alpine settings like The Hills, New Zealand golf courses are as diverse and dramatic as the landscape itself.