Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Week That Was, november 20, 2011

bhutan Adding to the Happiness Quotient

The people of Bhutan have been given the right happiness -- it's decreed in the national constitution -- but exactly how happy can they be without access to single 18-hole golf course?

The situation could soon be rectified by an unnamed Bhutanese industrialist, working with unnamed foreign investors, who aims to build an 18-hole track in the town of Ura, in the central part of the nation. If it's built, it'll be Bhutan's second golf course.

The area's residents are reportedly divided over the industrialist's proposal, as are government officials. Bhutan's agriculture minister has turned his thumbs down on the idea of turning 165 acres of farmland into a golf course, but the nation's tourism ministers appear to support it. Before they commit, however, the tourism officials want to see the results of a “technical study” that's being conducted by the department of forests and parks.

Bhutan's lone golf course is a nine-hole track at Royal Thimphu Golf Club in Thimphu, its capital city. (Useless factoid: Thimphu, which is located at 7,380 feet above sea level, is the only capital city in the world without stoplights.) In 2003, Golf Digest called the track “perhaps the most remote golf course in the world, tucked away in a gentle fold of the Himalayas.”

If you're wondering, Ura is roughly 80 miles east of Thimphu, within a short drive of eight national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. If I told you that the town was 25 miles east of Trongsa, would it make a difference?

scotland It's All Over but the Shouting

The day of reckoning creeps ever closer: Donald Trump has wrapped up construction on his much-discussed golf course on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The world now breathlessly awaits the course's debut, set for July 2012.

As most everyone knows, Trump has promised that the Martin Hawtree-designed track -- a “world leading architect,” in the opinion of Trump's marketers -- will be the world's greatest golf course. The jury is still out on that vow, but these days Trump still has reason to keep his head in the clouds: A recent head count has determined that more than 1,000 people have signed up to play the course when it opens.

What's more, opinion-makers continue to say nice things about the layout. Richie Ramsay, a local golfer who won the U.S. Amateur Championship in 2006, believes the track will soon host a high-profile professional event. He told a Scottish reporter, “The course the Scottish Open will go to in the future is the new Trump course, as it's just unbelievable.”

australia Are Travel Plans in Order?

If the television coverage of the Presidents Cup has whet your appetite to play the Alister MacKenzie-designed course at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, you may soon have your chance.

In an attempt to cash in on the buzz generated by the Presidents Cup, Royal Melbourne and four other prominent Australian golf properties -- all of them with top-100 venues -- have teamed up to promote Australia as a hot-spot for world-class golf tourism.

The members of what's being called the Great Golf Courses of Australia are spread all over the national map and are already on many golfers' bucket lists. The group consists of Barnbougle Dunes and Barnbougle Lost Farm in Tasmania, Kingston Heath Golf Club in Victoria, New South Wales Golf Course in New South Wales, and Royal Adelaide Golf Club in South Australia.

The alliance's spokesperson is Liz Sattler, who owns the courses in Tasmania. Her goal, she said in a press release, is to “establish Australia as one of the world's truly great golfing destinations.”

The venture is supported by Tourism Australia, the PGA of Australia, and the various state tourism offices. Everyone involved believes other well-regarded courses Down Under will eventually join the alliance.

While we're on the subject of Royal Melbourne, I should note that the club has hired Tom Doak to serve as its design consultant. No renovation plans have yet been announced, but the Traverse City, Michigan-based designer has said that Royal Melbourne's 36-hole complex is “feeling pressure from technology.”

Doak, who wrote the book on MacKenzie (I mean that literally. It's called The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie), has said that the club’s West course “might be the place which has influenced my own design style the most.”

One other thing: Before Doak became Royal Melbourne's design consultant, the position was held by Martin Hawtree.

And one final thing: Can anyone explain to me why the term Presidents Cup doesn't have an apostrophe in it, either before or after the s?

Some information in this post originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

And in Other News . . .

. . . south korea Troon Golf has been tapped to operate a soon-to-open golf complex on Daebu Island in suburban Seoul, South Korea. The 27-hole facility, at Island Country Club, has been designed by David Dale of Santa Rosa, California-based GolfPlan. Troon says that Dale's courses, which are scheduled to open in the spring of 2012, “will provide an unforgettable golf experience” and eventually rank among the nation's of “must-see” and “must-play” courses. The 18-hole course will be reserved for the club's members, but the nine-hole track will be open to the public. For those of you who aren't intimately familiar with South Korean geography, Daebu Island is roughly 40 miles southwest of downtown Seoul.

. . . vietnam Vietnam's tourism ministers and government officials are on track to have nearly 120 golf courses by 2020, it's not just me who believes that's way too many. When Thanh Nien News asked the vice chairman of the Vietnam Construction Federation for his opinion of the national golf goal, Pham Sy Liem replied, “Obviously, it is too high. There isn’t much demand for golf courses among the Vietnamese population. Few of us can afford to pay green fees. We permitted the construction of these golf courses to attract foreign investors, who frequently play golf in their home countries. The golf courses are built mainly to serve them.”

wild card click Go ahead, take a chance. What have you got to lose?

1 comment:

  1. THE Gulf playground Bhutan,Australia are so nice.It is helpful for the players
    golf club related description so enjoyable.