Synthetic turf specialist TigerTurf Golf and Lawn has recently completed a project to install an artificial golf green for an ‘extreme hole’ on Cecil Peak in New Zealand, which can only be accessed by helicopter.
Measuring 285 metres long and featuring a vertical drop of 450 metres, the ‘extreme hole’ is the result of a collaboration between Over The Top Helicopters, who are based in Queenstown, NZ, and Eric Faesenkloet, owner of Golf Warehouse, a leading provider of golf accessories and equipment in the country.
Located on New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown is described as a ‘Mecca’ for tourism in the country by TigerTurf’s Arthur Parkin, who spoke to GCA about the ‘extreme hole’ project.
“The hole is located in a world-class destination,” said Parkin. “Cecil Peak is a mountain immediately across Lake Whakatipu from the town of Queenstown and is in fact a large sheep station. Skiing, adventure tourism, climbing, mountain biking, fly-fishing and tramping are a few of the activities available in this pristine wilderness area. It has become a golf destination as well, with addition of world-class courses such as The Hills at Millbrook and Jack’s Point at Queenstown.”
Implementing an artificial green in such an extreme location provided some significant logistical challenges.
“There are no roads up to the peak so all 40 tons of aggregate base, turf, machinery, tools and men had to be lifted up by the Over the Top helicopters,” explained Parkin. “Only a small excavator could be lifted up and the Schist rock on the top of the peak made the base work tricky. All the aggregate had to be pre-bagged at base and lifted up. Fortunately the weather was kind and the install went ahead without too many difficulties. A week later it actually snowed on the green and during construction it was fortunate there were no strong winds, rain or snow in what is essentially a sub-alpine environment.”
The hole features three tee blocks – one measuring 275m, one 230m and one 175m. It was opened by New Zealand’s prime minister John Key ahead of the NZ Open 2014, which was held at ‘The Hills’ course in nearby Millbrook.
“Everybody who has been up and experienced the ‘extreme golf hole’ has come down elated and with many great photos,” added Parkin.