Golf: New phone box for The Hills

The red phone box beloved by Sir Michael Hill, golfer. Photo / Supplied
The red phone box beloved by Sir Michael Hill, golfer. Photo / Supplied

First there were the wolves. Then the magnificent horses. And now Sir Michael Hill's latest golf course installation has been unveiled - a good old British red phone box.

Why, you may ask?

According to The Hills Director of Golf Craig Palmer it's a case of "because we could".

The fully-restored cast-iron phone box, complete with a refurbished old wooden phone with a crank handle on the side, sits in a premium spot at the prestigious The Hills course alongside the 8th tee.

Golfers working up a thirst or feeling hungry as they make their way around the course can pick up the phone to call the clubhouse and order food or refreshments.

"Up until now golfers on the course have used their mobiles to call through if they want a cold drink or something to keep them going," says Craig.

"I started to think that one of the old-school phone boxes would look pretty cool on the course and Sir Michael agreed. We like things that are a bit quirky and thought if we could get it to function it would serve a purpose as well.

"We found a guy in Brisbane who'd imported a few of them but it was in pretty rough condition, so we got it sandblasted by a company in Luggate then did the rest of the repairs, restoration and painting ourselves. We couldn't find out the exact original colour but picked a good Cherry Red which is the closest we found.

"We chose the spot by the 8th tee because we'd run power in there a while ago when we were doing some other work on the course, so while you do pick up the phone to 'call' the clubhouse it's actually an intercom system.

"If they call at the 8th tee we can have food to them by the 9th, and if they call when they're on the 11th green we'll get refreshments to them by the 13th.

"It weighs about 750kgs and we used a tractor with forks to drop it in there, so it's not going anywhere," he says. "It looks really good and Sir Michael loves it."

The Hills golf course co-hosts the 2016 BMW ISPS Handa New Zealand Open next week from March 10-13.

While thousands of visitors to the course over the four-day tournament love the opportunity to admire Sir Michael's extensive New Zealand and international exhibits in the course Sculpture Park, organisers believe the phone box will have special appeal.

"We're not sure exactly where in the UK it came from, but we know it's a K6 model that definitely used to stand on a street corner somewhere over there. It's a great nostalgia piece for anyone brought up in the UK or who's ever travelled there.

"The temptation for members of the public to use the phone to "order up large" might be a bit much during tournament week, though, so it won't be operational then."

- NZ Herald

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