Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club is set to host the country's highest profile golfing event of the year.
The New Zealand Stroke Play Championship will start a new chapter at the club with Golf New Zealand elevating the event's status to a Jennian Homes Charles Tour event and providing New Zealand's male and female professional golfers the chance to win part of a $50,000 prize purse.
With the absence of the New Zealand Golf Open from the sporting calendar due to Covid-19, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club general manager Leo Barber is excited to be hosting what he describes as the highest profile golfing event in New Zealand this year.
"While this is a new chapter for the New Zealand Stroke Play Championship, this will be yet another chapter in the club's rich history of hosting the sport's premier events.
"The club has reached out to other courses in the region and a volunteer workforce has been assembled to deliver what will be an exciting spectacle of golf."
Barber said this will not only be good for the club but excellent for the district and is inviting residents to come and watch the first 72-hole event professionals have played in since the club hosted the 2002 New Zealand Open.
"Entry is free, viewing is superb and there will be some top quality golf on offer over the four days from the cream of New Zealand's golfing talent."
The event tees off on Thursday, March 18 and runs for four days with the final round on Sunday, March 21.
While the professional players will be playing for the prize purse, all competitors in the field, professional and amateur, will be playing for the new Renaissance Brewing New Zealand Stroke Play trophy.
In addition, the traditional amateur trophies the St Andrews Salver and the Melsop Cup will be played for by the male and female amateurs with the New Zealand men's amateur and New Zealand female amateur titles also up for grabs.
The field is open to 156 male and female golfers (both amateur and professional) and includes some big names on the New Zealand golfing landscape such as Michael Hendry, Josh Geary and Luke Toomey.
"The last New Zealander to win the New Zealand Open, Hendry is the most successful player to play on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour with six titles to his name and will no doubt be looking for a seventh around one of New Zealand most celebrated links courses," Barber said.
Meanwhile, Josh Geary nips at Hendry's heels with five Jennian Homes Charles Tour wins and was runner-up at the season-opening Brian Green Property Group NZ Super 6s just a couple of weeks ago.
Luke Toomey will also head into the event as one of the tournament favourites having won the New Zealand Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2014 and 2016.
"The amateurs in the field though won't be letting the professionals have it their own way and the way that Darae Chung, James Hydes and Mako Thompson have been playing in recent months might see them not only pick up the amateur trophies but also the overall Renaissance Brewing New Zealand Stroke Play title."
At the most recent Jennian Homes Charles Tour event, it was another amateur golfer, Kerry Mountcastle, who walked away with the title at the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Super 6s.
The last time this event was played at Paraparaumu under a purely amateur format, Mountcastle not only won the men's trophy but also equalled the club's course record on the way.