Wednesday, December 12, 2012

gabon Another First for Gary Player

Gary Player’s many travels have taken him to some pretty out-of-the-way places, and he’s about to try on another one for size.

Player has inked a deal to design an 18-hole “signature” golf course in the small African nation of Gabon, with construction likely to begin next year. The venue will be capable of hosting professional tournaments, and it’ll be built in Libreville, the nation’s coastal capital.

“We like going to unique places,” says Scott Ferrell, the president of Player’s South Carolina-based firm, “and they don’t get any more unique than this.”

The course’s working name is Cite de la Democratie, which is also the name of a compound on the outskirts of Libreville where Gabon’s government stages conferences and special events.

The course has been commissioned by the government, as part of a plan to diversify the nation’s economy. Gabon’s well-being has for years been almost exclusively dependent on the oil industry. Before its oil reserves are exhausted -- at the current rate of consumption, it’ll happen in 2025 -- the nation needs to find other sources of income. As part of this initiative, President Ali-Ben Bongo has committed to developing tourism.

Needless to say, the course will be Player’s first in Gabon. It won’t, however, be the nation’s first, as there are 18-hole layouts in the coastal cities of Libreville, Port-Gentil, and Gamba as well as in Franceville and Lemboumbi-Leyou.

The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the September and October 2012 issues of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

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