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Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Week That Was, july 15, 2018

     Zach Peed has added another link to his chain of “pristine private destination courses” that serve “the needs of executives and corporate entities for retreats and other events.” Peed has reportedly agreed to buy Victoria National Golf Club, a 22-year-old venue that took shape atop a former strip mine outside Evansville, Indiana. Victoria National is home to an 18-hole, Tom Fazio-designed layout that checks in at #43 on Golf Digest’s list of the 100 best U.S. courses. Fazio believes it’s capable of hosting a U.S. Open, and the magazine has described it as “the most unusual, unpolished, and unpretentious Fazio design ever” and “all you could want and expect out of a golf course.” If all goes as planned, the club will become the fifth member of Peed’s Dormie Club, and the second with a Fazio-designed course.

     Just weeks after the negotiations involving its sales to ClubCorp collapsed, Peter Nanula’s Concert Golf Partners has identified a new target: 12 Oaks, the centerpiece of a 687-acre master-planned community in suburban Raleigh, North Carolina. 12 Oaks made its debut in 2009, a most inopportune time for real estate ventures in America, and it was nearly strangled to death by the Great Recession. The 1,100-house spread is now said to be “flourishing” and “expanding,” however, which means that the club could soon see potential members walking through its doors. 12 Oaks features an 18-hole golf course that was co-designed by Michael Nicklaus and John Cope of Nicklaus Design. If the sale is completed, the club will be Concert’s second in the Tar Heel State. Nanula’s company bought MacGregor Downs County Club, also in suburban Raleigh, in 2014.

     Pakistan has found its first brand-name golf architect. Nick Faldo has agreed to design an 18-hole track for what’s been described as “a prestigious golf community” in Multan, a city in Punjab Province that dates back to before the time of Alexander the Great. The course will be the first “signature” layout in Pakistan, and in a press release Faldo asserts that it’ll offer “strategy and facilities equal to memorable championship courses around the world.” He expects to break ground this fall and to open the course in late 2019. Pakistan is currently home to 40 courses, according to Golf Digest, and Faldo has an opportunity to set the standard for those that will built in the future.

     The French care about the World Cup, not the Ryder Cup, and that’s why one of golf’s premier international competitions – set to take place outside Paris in September – is getting a lukewarm reception from locals. “Honestly, nobody knows there’s going to be a Ryder Cup in France,” Michael Lorenzo-Vera, a French professional golfer, confessed to the New York Times. His reasoning: “Golf is not a good thing here. It’s for rich people and spoiled kids.” The French Golf Federation is trying to spark interest in the sport, but the nation’s participation rate is still stuck below 1 percent (0.63 percent in 2016, according to KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice). If the Ryder Cup can’t give the nation's golf business a boost, it’s hard to imagine what would.

     Like Kim Jong-il, a despised dictator who claimed to have preternatural golfing abilities, Gurbanguly “Spellcheck” Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan allegedly scored a hole-in-one on the new Jack Nicklaus “signature” layout outside Ashgabat. Not that it matters, because Spellcheck tells as many lies as our own president. What’s significant, though, is that the course, which opened last fall, isn’t listed on Nicklaus Design’s website. For that matter, neither are the other courses that the firm has agreed to design for Turkmenistan’s corrupt leader. Maybe this is an oversight, but I think not. If Nicklaus Design is too embarrassed to admit that it cashes checks written by one of the world’s most notorious human-rights violators, it should stop working for him.

     Duly Noted – The Robb Report says that David McLay Kidd’s new course at Sand Valley is “pure gold,” which is presumably the ultimate honor that a publication dedicated to “affluence, luxury, and the best of the best” can bestow. . . . Before the end of the year, FLC Group expects begin operating Bamboo Airways, an airline that will shuttle vacationers to the six resorts it owns and operates in Vietnam. FLC told an Asian news service that its resorts currently welcomes more than 3,000 golfers every month, most of them from South Korea, Japan, and China. . . . Though his father railed against it for years, Eric Trump has conceded that the new off-shore wind farm visible from the freshly renamed Trump Aberdeen “doesn’t spoil this place” or “my enjoyment” of Martin Hawtree’s golf course. In other words, the U.S. president’s irresponsible campaign against sustainable energy was ultimately much ado about nothing.

     In compliance with new European laws regarding data collection, I’ve been asked to provide a statement about my use of the data that’s collected about those of you who read the World Golf Report. So here it is: I don’t collect any data, and I don’t bake any cookies into your computer. All I do is write what’s on my mind and then post what I write. I don’t know your names or addresses or ages or income levels, and I have no interest in any of that information. That being said, the World Golf Report occupies a slice of cyberspace owned by Google, one of the world’s foremost data collectors, and I’d bet dollars to donuts that Google collects information about you. For what it’s worth, I’ve downloaded an official-looking statement that’s supposed to appear at the bottom of the blog, but I can’t figure out how to load it. If any of you can tell me how, please do.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Week That Was, july 8, 2018

     The Sand Hills of Nebraska may soon sprout another destination-worthy golf course, to complement Sand Hills Golf Club, Dismal River Club, and Prairie Club. Cleve Trimble, who’s long been eager to build a world-class course on property he owns in Valentine, is searching for investors who’ll help to foot the bill for “a great private retreat” called Old School Golf Club. The club’s centerpiece will be an 18-hole, Gil Hanse-designed track that promotional materials say will be laid out “deliciously” upon “dramatic landforms” that promise “splendid vistas and haunting serenity.” And as a bonus, Trimble also plans to offer “canyon rim residential acreage.”

     Pipeline Overflow – In a recent discussion thread at Golf Club Atlas, Tom Doak said that he’s “signing up for a project in northwest Ireland.” The Traverse City, Michigan-based architect provided no details, but some will surely follow. . . . Ken Moodie, an architect based in Manchester, England, has been hired to co-design a course that will take shape on a site outside Houghton, in the East Midlands. The 18-hole track is expected to become the new home of Scraptoft Golf Club, and Moodie will be collaborating with former touring pro Ken Brown to create it. . . . Bruce Novak wants to add nine holes to his Indian Oaks Golf Club, a nine-hole layout outside DeKalb, Illinois, provided that he can secure a long-term lease on 100 acres in Shabbona Lake State Park. He’s offered what’s been called “an outside-the-box proposal,” and state officials are mulling it over.

     Renaissance Golf Group, a freshly created ownership and management vehicle, has acquired a pair of golf properties in Leland, North Carolina. Jay Biggs’ LLC paid an undisclosed amount for Compass Pointe Golf Club and Magnolia Greens Golf Course, both of which had been owned by Bobby Harrelson, a local developer. Compass Pointe has an 18-hole, Rick Robbins-designed layout, while Magnolia Greens features a 27-hole, Tom Jackson-designed complex. Biggs, who served most recently as a senior vice president of golf and club operations at Pinehurst, says that Renaissance expects to implement “new ideas and strategies” at the properties and to put an emphasis on “quality, service, and fun.”

     Surplus Transactions – An affiliate of Allegiant Air has agreed to buy Kingsway Country Club, a 42-year-old venue in Lake Suzy, Florida. Kingsway, which features an 18-hole golf course designed by Ron Garl, will serve as an amenity for a resort that Allegiant aims to build in Charlotte Harbor. . . . Taking what they’ve called “a leap of faith,” James and Teresa Skinner have moved from Klamath Falls, Oregon to Curwensville, Pennsylvania. The reason: They’ve purchased Eagles Ridge Golf Course, an 18-hole, James Harrison-designed venue that they hope will become a “fun place to visit.” . . . Saying that they’re “hoping for the best,” Tom and Sandi Spencer have acquired the former Briar Hills Golf Course, an 18-hole track south of Traverse City, Michigan. The 30-year-old course, which now operates as Antioch Hills Golf Club, has been controlled by a local bank for the past three years.

     Some of the usual suspects – the declining interest in golf, escalating maintenance costs, the ever-increasing price of water – have claimed a Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course in suburban Tucson, Arizona. Golf Club of Vistoso, described by the operator of a competing venue as “a stand-alone, high-end, pricey golf course,” went dark last month, because its business model is “just not sustainable.” Vistoso had operated sine 1995. Romspen, a Canadian lender, bought it at a foreclosure auction in 2014 and has been trying, without success, to sell it pretty much ever since.

     Desolation Row Extended – Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club, a 30-year-old venue in suburban San Diego, California, has bitten the dust, claiming to be a victim of skyrocketing water prices. Kevin Hwang, one of the club’s owners, ended the club’s run just four years after spending $4.4 million in taxpayer money on turf reduction, a move that was supposed to lead to financial sustainability. . . . Charles Willimon, Jr. has pulled the plug on Bonnie Brae Golf Club. The club, in Greenville, South Carolina, had operated since 1961. . . . The current golf season will be the last one for Royster Memorial Golf Course, a nine-hole municipal track in Shelby, North Carolina. The course had its debut in 1948.

     Duly Noted – Before he became the 45th U.S. president, Donald “the Deceiver” Trump made multiple attempts to buy Hamilton Hall, a Victorian building that overlooks the Old Course at St. Andrews. Bank of Scotland rejected at least one request for a loan, however, deeming it “too risky.” Hamilton Hall was eventually purchased by Herb Kohler, who’s converted it into some of the nation’s priciest housing. . . . Like the World Cup, Bashar Assad, and “the Deceiver” himself, the European Tour has cemented a relationship with Russia. The tour’s real-estate arm has named Moscow Country Club, the home of a layout designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., as one of its official Destinations. The club features “top-quality golf” and “five-star hospitality,” not to mention around-the-clock surveillance by multiple intelligence agencies. . . . Two decades ago, the United States was home to more than 5,000 member-owned, golf and country clubs. Today, according to Frank Vain, the president of St. Louis, Missouri-based McMahon Group, “the generally recognized number” has fallen by 22 percent, to about 3,900.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Week That Was, july 31, 2018

     Are the houses flanking the Trump Organization’s course in Dubai being sold to money launderers? It’s entirely possible, seeing as how a non-profit that studies global criminal networks has identified $100 million worth of “suspicious purchases” of real estate in the emirate. Citing a report by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, the Associated Press says that Dubai’s real-estate boom, which in turn created its golf boom, was fueled by “war profiteers, terror financiers, and drug traffickers.”

     A columnist for the Irish Times believes that “Ireland has too many golf clubs,” and he provides some evidence to support his opinion. Here it is: Since 1980, according to data provided by the Golfing Union of Ireland, the number of “affiliated clubs” in the nation has increased by 81 percent, from 248 to 450, while golf membership has increased by only 22 percent, from 123,000 to 150,000. Not surprisingly, the discrepancy leads to fairways that are sometimes “entirely empty.”

     Hilltop Valley Golf Club, a venue that Asian Golf Travel Nation thinks will be “another welcome addition to the Hanoi golf scene,” is expected to debut later this year. The club will anchor an 1,150-acre community that its developers have said will include environmentally friendly houses, a trade center with office space, a resort-style hotel, sports and entertainment areas, an enclave for “hi-tech agricultural production,” and a pair of 18-hole courses that have been designed by Brit Stenson of IMG Design. Hilltop Valley is located roughly 40 miles west of the capital city and is said to be “accessible by paved road in less than two hours.”

     Some information in the preceding post first appeared in the August 2011 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report. 

    Pipeline OverflowFred Couples’ first golf course in Mexico, the featured attraction of a conservation-minded private community that’s emerging on property outside Cabo San Lucas, is scheduled to open before the end of the year. Couples co-designed the 18-hole layout at Twin Dolphin Golf Club with Todd Eckenrode, and Golfweek reports that the partners will deliver a “playable” track where “everybody can have a good time.” . . . Nicklaus Design’s second golf course in Morocco, the centerpiece of a 300-acre community in Ifrane, is scheduled to open sometime this summer. Recently retired Jack Nicklaus says that the 18-hole layout at Michlifen Golf & Country Club has been laid out on “one of the most scenic, beautiful vistas you will find for a golf experience,” but it’s one that will soon be dotted with villas and apartments. Nicklaus’ North Palm Beach, Florida-based firm opened Samanah Country Club, in Marrakech, in 2008. . . . The city of Alameda, California and Greenway Golf have taken the wraps off the South Course at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex, a track whose design was influenced by the links-like Sandbelt courses outside Melbourne. Rees Jones, the designer, believes that “the Australian style is really good for the public,” in part because it makes for layouts that are “easier to play on the ground.”

     Donald Garrett has reportedly paid $5 million for Gateway Golf & Country Club, a member-hungry property in Fort Myers, Florida, Garrett, who owns a local construction company, bought the nearly 30-year-old venue from its members, who support his plans to make it what the Fort Myers News-Press calls “a more social, family environment.” Garrett expects to add modern “lifestyle” amenities that he believes will appeal to a younger demographic, and in 2021 he’ll overhaul the club’s 18-hole, Tom Fazio-designed golf course. His initial change, however, relates to marketing: He’s rebranded the property as the Club at Gateway.

     Surplus Transactions – A investment group led by Jamie Miller has reportedly paid $2.3 million for Legendary Run Golf Course, a 22-year-old venue that promises “country-club-caliber golf conditions” and “the friendliest service in the world.” Legendary Run’s 18-hole, Arthur Hills-designed layout is said to be “one of the toughest public golf courses in Greater Cincinnati.” . . . An entity affiliated with DMB Associates has turned over ownership of Glenwild Golf Club, a 17-year-old venue in Park City, Utah, to the property’s more than 300 members. Golf Digest ranks the club’s Tom Fazio-designed golf course as the state’s best. DMB says that Glenwild has “a healthy balance sheet and no debt” and will be capable of offering “a best-in-class golf experience for members and their guests.” . . . Marty and Connie Panning have agreed to accept $365,000 for their Shady Acres Golf Course, a nine-hole track in McComb, Ohio that’s been in business since 1931. The prospective purchaser is the McComb school board, which plans to close the course and build school facilities on its roughly 70 acres.

    At the end of last year’s golf season, Robert Hardaway pulled the plug on Hunter’s Run Golf Course, his nine-hole, 60-acre layout outside Durango, Colorado. “I just got too old to keep it up,” Hardaway, the course’s designer and builder, confessed to the Durango Herald. He hopes to find a buyer for the course, which had operated since 1995.

     Desolation Row Extended – As expected, Robert Heath of Western Golf Properties and a partner, Michael Schlesinger, have drawn the curtains on Vellano Golf Course, their 11-year-old, Greg Norman-designed layout in Chino Hills, California. The developers, who’ve shuttered other courses, blamed the closure on obstinate homeowners in the accompanying community. . . . Elected officials in Johnson City, Tennessee turned out the lights at Buffalo Valley Golf Course late last year. Their counterparts in nearby Unicoi want to revive the course and are willing to pay $400,000 for it, but their offer has so far fallen on deaf ears. . . . Just a year short of its 80th anniversary, the 18-hole track at Texas Woman’s University has gone belly up. The course, in Denton, Texas, occupies a prime site for campus expansion.

     Duly NotedPhil “the Gambler” Mickelson is making a bet on frozen yogurt dispensed by robots. He views the absence of human interaction at the Reis & Irvy’s chain as a “transformative industry change” and says that he’s “thrilled” to be part of it. . . . Never mind the poverty, the overpopulation, the social distress, and the water scarcity: If current economic trends hold, by 2027 India will become the world’s fourth-largest “wealth market,” according to a research group. As it climbs to #4, it’ll pass the United Kingdom and Germany. . . . Topgolf’s slow takeover of the traditional golf business continues: ClubCorp has unveiled its first “next generation” driving range, powered by Topgolf technology, at one of its properties in suburban Dallas, Texas. In a press release, the self-described “world leader in private clubs” called the new facility “a fun, unique hangout” that offers “a little friendly competition for everyone.”

     Are you wondering how much of a week’s golf news I cover in this blog? The answer, unfortunately, is just a fraction of what passes my way. The golf business, particularly the development side of the golf business, has unquestionably perked up over the past year or two, and there’s no way for me to address all of it. So if your business requires a more comprehensive news digest, contact me via e-mail at golfcoursereport@aol.com. I’ll send you a sample issue of either U.S. or International Construction Clips, depending on your needs.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Week That Was, june 24, 2018

     The blockbuster transaction that would have moved 16 of Concert Golf Partners’ 18 properties into ClubCorp’s portfolio is dead in the water. The parties mutually agreed to scrap their negotiations last week, ending a process initiated by ClubCorp in April. Peter Nanula, Concert’s chairman, reports that the tentative sale collapsed due to disagreements related to price, terms, and “softer issues” concerning “commitments we have made to our members.” The sale “just didn’t come together as we all planned,” he wrote in a text message. The folks at Concert and ClubCorp may now be feeling as though their discussions were ultimately much ado about nothing, but the dissolution of their deal is undoubtedly welcome news to our nation’s club owners and real-estate brokers, as the golf industry is better off having two (or more) strong competitors bidding for properties. And on that score, Nanula reports that his investment group expects to close on another acquisition “shortly.”

     It took three years, and they had to fend off objections from environmentalists as well as unfair comparisons to Donald “the Deceiver” Trump, but Mike Keiser and Todd Warnock have secured approval for their much-anticipated golf course in the Scottish Highlands. “It’s now time to build a golf course,” Warnock gleefully wrote after the proposal for Coul Links received its long-overdue thumbs-up. The next two years promise to be an exhilarating time for all involved, for Keiser and Warnock believe their 18-hole, Coore & Crenshaw-designed track will offer “one of the most memorable golf experiences in the world,” and they expect that it’ll establish the area surrounding Royal Dornoch Golf Club (the venue that inspired Keiser to create Bandon Dunes) as “the third major golf destination in Scotland.”

     Australia’s first and greatest male golf star, Peter Thomson, died last week. The CEO of the PGA of Australia celebrated him as “a gentleman of the game, a legend of Australian sport, and an Immortal of the PGA of Australia.” Thomson wasn’t as well known in the United States as he was in other parts of the world, but he was one of the premier professional golfers of the 1950s. With a playing style that was particularly well-suited to links golf, he won the Open Championship four times during the decade (and for a fifth time in 1965), accomplishments that helped him earn induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. After his playing career ended, he founded a Melbourne-based “signature” design firm that over the years operated as Thomson Wolveridge Perrett Golf Design, Thomson Perrett & Lobb, and Thomson Perrett Golf Course Architects. The companies designed or redesigned more than 180 courses in more than 30 nations, according to one source, and they had a strong presence in Asia and Southeast Asia. It’s hard to say, however, how many of Thomson’s courses adhered to his homespun philosophy about course design: “If my grandma can’t play it, it has to be a lousy course.” Though he worked until the summer of 2016, when he retired due to “declining health” that was later revealed to be Parkinson’s disease, Thomson once called golf “a good excuse for not working.” He was 88.

     The head of an Atlanta, Georgia-based auto-dealership group has hired David McLay Kidd to design a golf course in the Bahamas. Steve Harrell, who owns 700 acres on Great Abaco Island, has set out to build Kakona, a community that his publicists say will be “a one-of-a-kind oasis focused on luxury, longevity, and legacy.” In addition to alliterations, Kakona will offer “a golf experience like no other,” with a Kidd-designed 18-hole, partial-oceanfront layout that’s “sure to become a showpiece in the world of golf course design.” It appears that the community will also have what’s been described as an “executive” track, but its designer hasn’t been identified. Kidd says the property has the “best beach I’ve ever seen,” and he hopes to break ground on the course next year.

     Pipeline Overflow – The course at Kokona isn’t the only entrĂ©e on Kidd’s plate these days. He recently told the Robb Report that he’s collaborating with Mike Keiser on “a secret project” (the course in California, presumably) and, as most everyone knows, he’s been hired to produce the second course at Gamble Sands Golf Club in Washington. A tastier morsel is what he described as “a huge project in the Middle East,” but he won’t talk about it because he signed a non-disclosure agreement. . . . Paul Albanese’s golf course for the Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Michigan will celebrate its grand opening next month. The reviews haven’t yet been written, but in 2015, when the commission for the track was awarded, the resort expected Albanese to deliver one of the state’s top five public courses. . . . Nicklaus Design has so much work in Asia and Southeast Asia, according to one of its top executives, that “it is sometimes a challenge to keep up with it.” Say it with me: Nice problem to have.

     Bob Lohmann has sketched out the future of his design firm. The Marengo, Illinois-based company is transitioning into the hands of Todd Quitno, who’s been working with Lohmann since the mid 1990s. Lohmann, who’s 65, says that his longtime right-hand man has “all the design skills in the world” and “a better handle” than his “on what the market requires today, including the role of technology and social media.” Quitno, a 45-year-old who’s been overseeing most of the firm’s projects for several years, expects “to look at some different approaches as to how we pursue and execute our work,” and he promises “to be responsive to changes, to new opportunities, and to utilize a variety of delivery methods to satisfy our clients’ needs.” The company now operates as Lohmann Quitno Golf Course Architects, Inc.

     Finally, a prominent voice in the golf industry has commented on the regrettable black/white confrontation that occurred at Grandview Golf Club in April. It wasn’t the most forceful statement that could have been made, and it certainly wasn’t easy to find, but Jay Karen stands alone in addressing it. “It’s a shame the police were called to resolve a conflict that could have been handled through a conversation, talking to each other as human beings,” the CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association told NBC News. “These kinds of conflicts should not happen on golf courses, and they shouldn’t happen at Starbucks.” Sadly, other influentials in our business continue to condone what happened at Grandview with their silence. Where are you, Silent Steve Mona?

     Duly Noted – Greg “the Living Brand” Norman, a man who never met a microphone he didn’t like, has begun to host a radio show. Thank goodness he only has time to do it once a month. . . . There could be any number of explanations, so take this with a grain of salt, but the Associated Press reports that last year’s revenues at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point were off by 7 percent from the number posted in 2016. . . . First came Coore & Crenshaw, then Jack Nicklaus, and now Golf Digest has published a list of William Flynn’s best courses. Wake me up when this tedious series ends.

   In compliance with new European laws regarding data collection, I’ve been asked to provide a statement about my use of the data that’s collected about those of you who read the World Golf Report. So here it is: I don’t collect any data, and I don’t bake any cookies in your computer. All I do is write little stories and then post what I write. I don’t know your names or addresses or ages or income levels, and I have no interest in any of that information. That being said, my blog occupies a slice of cyberspace owned by Google, one of the world’s foremost data collectors. I can’t say for sure whether Google collects information about those of you who read the blog, or whether it bakes cookies in your computers, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t. And for what it’s worth, Google says that it’s loaded the appropriate statement at the bottom of my blog, but if it was actually there I wouldn’t have written this.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Week That Was, june 10, 2018

     The Italian government is in shambles, and a British newspaper is wondering if it’s time to consider an alternate venue for the next Ryder Cup competition. For now, the competition is scheduled to be held in 2022 at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, in suburban Rome, but the clock is ticking and the Guardian believes that a “pessimistic view” about Italy’s ability to stage one of golf’s premier events is taking hold among golf insiders. A major worry, according to the newspaper, is the suitability of the Jim Fazio-designed golf course at Marco Simone, which needs an upgrade that’s long been scheduled but still hasn’t begun. The concern about the course is apparently shared by officials with the Ryder Cup, who concede that “the process has taken longer than ourselves, the Italian Golf Federation, and Marco Simone envisaged.” Of course, the Guardian may have an ulterior motive in spreading such doubts, because it seized the opportunity to remind everyone that Adare Manor, the recently refreshed Irish golf resort, is ready, willing, and able to host the Ryder Cup if the plans in Italy fall through.

     Tiger Woods has redeemed himself with a growing number of corporate sponsors, but he’s one of only five professional golfers who made Forbes’ 2018 list of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes. Woods checks in at #16, with $42 million in endorsement income and $1.3 million in winnings, an amount that’s light years behind the top earner on the list, Floyd Mayweather, who totaled $285 million. Not far behind Woods are Phil Mickelson (#22, with a total of $41.3 million), Jordan Spieth (#23, $41.2 million), and Rory McIlroy (#26, $37.7 million). For what it’s worth, Forbes’ top 100 featured 40 professional basketball players, 18 professional football players, 14 professional baseball players, and nine professional soccer players.

     While they persecute refugees and engage in genocide, government officials in Myanmar also continue to support golf development. These days, they’re looking for a private company willing to oversee the development of New Mandalay Resort City, a mega-community that will take shape on nearly 9,900 acres roughly 40 miles east of Mandalay. The Myanmar Times reports that the city will include houses, hotels, a convention center, retail and commercial areas, and a variety of recreational attractions, including a golf course.

     Pipeline OverflowForbes thinks that David McLay Kidd’s recently opened Mammoth Dunes layout at Sand Valley, in central Wisconsin, is “undeniably fun,” “loaded with stunning visuals,” and, perhaps most importantly, “better” than the resort’s Coore & Crenshaw-designed track. . . . Robert Trent Jones, Jr. believes that Termas de Rio Hondo Golf Club, his firm’s “spacious,” just-unveiled course in Argentina, is “a premier venue deserving of a championship-level golf tournament.” A legion of elected officials and other dignitaries at the opening endorsed Jones’ assessment, as they hope the course will attract tourists to Santiago del Estero Province. . . . Also making its debut is Royal Golf Club, a venue in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota that aims to be “a must-play for every local golfing enthusiast.” The 18-hole track, a re-do of the former Tartan Park Golf Course, was designed by not one but two signature architects, with nine holes by Annika Sorenstam (the Queen) and nine by the late Arnold Palmer (the King).

     John and Jim Cook have reportedly accepted “nearly $1 million” for Red Hawk Run Golf Club, a 20-year-old venue in Findlay, Ohio. Red Hawk Run’s new owner is Nick Reinhart, who aims to turn the club’s 18-hole, Arthur Hills-designed layout into “a little more of a destination facility.” “It’s a championship course,” Reinhart told the Courier, “and our goal is to get it to championship course levels.” Reinhart recently sold two Findlay-based companies, Centrex Plastics and Creative Plastic Concepts, but he still reportedly owns Big Jerk, a store that sells jerky.

     Surplus Transactions – Ron Hall, Sr. and Ron Hall, Jr. have found a buyer for Carolina Lakes Golf Club, the centerpiece of a gated community in Sanford, North Carolina. The new ownership group consists of homeowners in the community, who reportedly made the purchase to ensure that the club would continue to operate. The club features a Roger Rulewich-designed courses that opened in 1981. . . . Augustin Isernia has reportedly paid $300,000 for Sacandaga Golf Course, a nine-hole track in Northville, New York that’s been in business since 1898. Isernia, who owns a vacation home along Lake Sacandaga, told a local newspaper that he hopes to make the course “a stimulating environment in the great outdoors.” . . . Fulfilling what he called “a dream,” the long-time general manager and superintendent of Territory Golf Club, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, is now also the property’s owner. Dan Stang paid an undisclosed price for Territory, an 18-hole track that’s operated since 2001.

     Duly Noted – The unfortunate, racially charged incident that occurred in April at Grandview Golf Club has become the subject of an investigation by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. I’m still waiting for one of golf’s institutional leaders to say publicly that discrimination of any kind, whether intended or not, doesn’t reflect golf’s values. . . . A top Cuban tourism official has declared that his island nation will have 27 golf courses “in the coming years” and become, in the words of a Chinese news agency, “an attractive golfing destination.” That’s all I’ve got to say, because I can’t stop laughing. . . . The editors at Golf Digest have officially run out of ideas. Just weeks after publishing a rundown of the best courses by Coore & Crenshaw, they’ve done the same for Jack Nicklaus.

     To maintain compliance with new European laws regarding data collection, I’ve been asked to provide a statement about my use of the data that’s collected about those of you who read the World Golf Report. So here it is: I don’t collect any data, and I don’t bake any cookies into your computers. All I do is write stories and then post what I write. I don’t know your names or addresses or ages or income levels, and I have no interest in any of that information. That being said, the World Golf Report occupies a slice of cyberspace controlled by Google, one of the world’s foremost data collectors. I can’t say for sure whether Google collects information about those of you who read the blog, or whether it bakes cookies in your computers, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t. Incidentally, I’ve downloaded an official-looking statement that’s supposed to appear at the bottom of this blog, but I can’t figure out how to load it. If any of you can tell me how to, please do.