Friday, December 21, 2012

The Pipeline, december 21, 2012

Where’s the next hot spot for golf development? It’s not one of the usual suspects, according to David Dale and Kevin Ramsey of Golfplan. In a recent interview with Asian Golf Business, the Santa Rosa, California-based architects say that India “will continue to grow, but challenges presented by escalating land costs, lack of water, and difficult approvals will moderate growth.” China, they believe, “still has great potential, but so much is in the hands of the government [that] it is hard to say where and when that will go.” And South Korea “has its challenges ahead, with a lot of bad banking debt, and a fair bit of that related to golf clubs.” The future, Dale and Ramsey contend, is partly in Brazil, where developers are hoping to capitalize on golf’s appearance in the 2016 Olympics, but mostly in the world’s second-largest and second most-populous continent. “We see great potential in Africa in the next 20 years,” they say.

The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the December 2012 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

Next month, fingers crossed, Gil Hanse expects to break ground on his golf course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In an interview with CNN International, the Malvern, Pennsylvania-based architect suggested that the course would resemble a track in the Australian sand belt, like maybe one of the 18s at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, but would “utilize the vegetation that’s indigenous to Rio” and ultimately “look and feel as if it belongs where it is.” The course will have wide fairways, Hanse explained, “very much like the original design for Augusta National,” but the participants in the Games of the 2016 Olympics will need “to focus on hitting the proper half of the fairway” and “the proper quarter of the green” if they expect to take home a gold medal. Hanse expects to wrap up construction in the spring of 2014.

Also next month, construction is scheduled to begin on the second course at St. Andrews Beach Golf Course, on the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne, Australia. The course, which has been designed by Ross Perrett, will complement the property’s Tom Doak-designed course, which has ranked among the nation’s top tracks since it opened in the mid 2000s. “We are confident that we will produce a world-class links course on a superb parcel of land reminiscent of the great links of Scotland and Ireland,” Perrett has said. When it opens, in late 2013 or early 2014, Perrett’s course will be part of a private club limited to 281 members. Why 281? That’s the score shot by Peter Thomson, Perrett’s long-time design partner, when he won the Open Championship in 1955.

Some information in the preceding post originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

A 400-acre landfill in southern Dallas, Texas may soon become the home of a pricey golf club. AT&T, Southern Methodist University, and the city of Dallas are teaming up to develop Trinity Forest Golf Club, which will include an 18-hole championship-worthy course and a nine-hole “short” course. Trinity Forest’s initiation fee could be $100,000 or more, but the city’s participation in the venture will ensure that 25 percent of the tee times are reserved for non-members, some of whom might actually be city residents. Tom Doak and the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw are among the architects who’ve toured the site and are presumably being considered for the commission.

Since 48 of Iceland’s 67 golf courses are nine-hole layouts, you won’t be surprised to learn that Edwin Roald has designed a nine-hole replacement course for Siglufjordur Golf Club. The club is up near the Arctic Circle, in the small town of Siglufjordur, which used to be the center of the nation’s herring industry. After decades in decay, Siglufjordur is being revived -- new hotel, new marina, new golf course -- and may soon become what Roald calls “an enjoyable place to live in and visit.” Golf construction began several months ago, and the course is expected to open in 2015. When it does, Siglufjordur’s original course will be retired. Incidentally, Roald is probably the golf industry’s premier advocate for nine-hole courses, which he believes can open up “a vast opportunity to utilize properties of sizes and dimensions previously deemed unsuitable.”

Any day now, construction is expected to begin on Jordan’s first 18-hole golf course, a Greg Norman “signature” layout at Aqaba Lagoon Golf Club. The track will be among the many attractions at Ayla Oasis, a 1,060-acre water-oriented community outside Aqaba, the nation’s capital. “The project has the potential to put Jordan on the world’s golf map in the future,” Norman said at a press event during a site visit in early October. Make of this what you will, but the Jordan Times reported that Norman was making “his first visit to Jordan” and that he and the community’s developer spent “over four hours” making “a comprehensive site tour and inspection.” Bruce Glasco of Troon Golf, which has been inked to manage the club, expects the course to open sometime in 2014.

Some information in the preceding post originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

The wheels of government may turn very slowly in New Orleans, Louisiana, but progress is being made on the city’s Rees Jones-designed golf course. A public-private partnership has been approved, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that ground may be broken on the 7,500-yard layout in February. The $24.5 million, tournament-style track will take shape in City Park, which had four 18-hole courses before Hurricane Katrina blew through town. Today there’s just one, the North course, which was reopened in 2009.

Jack Nicklaus recently jetted to the Bahamas, to check on the construction of his “signature” golf course at the Baha Mar resort. The track is taking shape on property that once served as the home of Cable Bay Golf Club, which featured a Devereux Emmet-designed course. (It might have been the Bahamas’ first course.) Baha Mar will eventually include hundreds of villas and condos, the biggest casino in the Caribbean, the biggest convention center in the Bahamas, a shopping area, and something like six hotels. The course is scheduled to open roughly a year from now.

Some information in the preceding post originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

Via Christmas card, David McLay Kidd reports that his golf course in South Korea is under construction and expected to open in the fall of 2013. The 27-hole complex will be among the attractions at Yeosu Island Golf Resort, in South Jeolla Province, and Kidd says that every one of its holes will offer an ocean view. (Those of you who are fluent in Korean can learn more at the resort’s website.) The resort will be located on an island off the city of Yeosu -- Daegyeong Island, according to another source -- and it’ll be reachable only by ferry.

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