Friday, November 18, 2016

The Pipeline, november 18, 2016

     Pinar del Rio Province, Cuba. Within the next few weeks, Cuba’s tourism ministers hope to seal the deal on what may be their biggest golf venture. The ministers are negotiating with Spanish investors who aim to develop Punta Colorada Golf & Marina, a waterfront resort community that will reportedly feature 20,000 vacation houses and “luxury apartments,” five hotels (1,060 total rooms), two marinas (1,400 total slips), what’s said to be one of the most pristine beaches on the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, and seven 18-hole golf courses. Punta Colorada is expected to spread across 4,000 acres near the village of La Fe, in the far western part of the island nation. If the community is actually built -- and, as we all know, there are no guarantees in Cuba -- it could end up being Cuba’s version of Pinehurst or Mission Hills Shenzhen.

     Šibenik-Knin County, Croatia. Brad Pitt, the star of movies including Fight Club, Fury, and Moneyball, is the highest-profile partner in a long-percolating community that’s slated to take shape along Croatia’s Adriatic coast. The to-be-named community has been initiated by a Swiss investment group, TFI Holding, and a European newspaper believes it has the potential to “change the image of Croatian tourism.” The community will be built at the site of an existing marina outside the town of Šibenik, and it’ll feature houses for 2,500 residents, a high-end hotel, a shopping area, a medical center, a school, and a golf course. Pitt and his estranged wife, Angelina Jolie, have vacationed in Croatia -- Pitt reportedly thinks it’s “the most beautiful country he has ever visited” -- and in 2012 they became investors in a golf-focused, 2,500-acre resort community that Danko Končar, one of the nation’s richest people, had hoped to build near Pula, along the Istrian coast. Končar has apparently given up on the idea, however, leaving Pitt footloose and fancy free. TFI’s venture has won the support of local elected officials, and the group’s principal is “certain it will be successful.”

     The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the September 2016 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

     New South Wales, Australia. Royal Sydney Golf Club has commissioned Gil Hanse, one of golf’s so-called naturalists, to create a master plan for upgrades to its Championship course. The track has hosted the Australian Open more than a dozen times, but Aussie Golfer believes it’s “slipped down the lists of Australia’s best golf courses,” as it suffers from “poor drainage and a narrow, unimaginative design.” Other critics echo such sentiments. “It’s not a great course,” Darius Oliver of Australian Golf Digest has written, “and some of the green contours feel a little contrived.” Royal Sydney no doubt hopes that Hanse can elevate the course’s status, for the Malvern, Pennsylvania-based architect has proved himself to be adept at creating courses that can test elite golfers while remaining enjoyable for amateurs. The club hasn’t outlined any details about the renovation or set a start date, but Aussie Golfer thinks the work will begin in the first half of next year.

     The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the August 2016 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

     Norwich, England. Royal Norwich Golf Club aims to break ground on its new home before the end of the year, and it hopes the place will become “the region’s most prestigious and talked-about golf facility.” The club, a fixture in suburban Norwich since 1893 (it’s one of only 16 in England with the “royal” designation) will be relocating to a 300-acre property currently occupied by Weston Park Golf Club, seven miles from its current home, where it believes it can establish “a club fit for the 21st century.” Royal Norwich’s members overwhelmingly approved the move two years ago and soon afterwards agreed to sell their 120 acres in Hellesdon to a home builder. The sale became official last summer, when the home builder received permission to raze the club’s well-regarded, James Braid-designed golf course and replace it with roughly 1,000 houses. The new Royal Norwich Golf Club will feature a 7,150-yard, 18-hole golf course and an easy-to-play nine-hole track, both to be designed by Ross McMurray of European Golf Design. McMurray told Golf Course Architecture that the courses “will appeal to golfers of all ages” and help the club create “a warm and friendly environment for their members, families, and guests.”

     Pampanga Province, Philippines. Pradera Verde, a 1,000-acre resort community in suburban Manila, is going to celebrate the opening its first 18-hole golf course with an exhibition “duel” featuring Rory McIlroy and Jason Day. The amateurs and professionals who’ve played the recently opened track say the golf mega-stars will be competing on “a great golf course” that was designed “for champions” and will eventually be viewed as “one of the best in the country.” Such notices must be gratifying to Mike Singgaran, the Malaysian architect responsible for the course. He got his start in the Philippines’ golf business as a shaper for Andy Dye, a U.S. architect, and these days he serves as the in-house designer for the golf division of Sta. Lucia Realty, a Manila-based company that’s developed probably a half-dozen communities with golf courses, including two others in Pampanga Province. Pradera Verde has already broken ground on a second Singgaran-designed layout that’s expected to open sometime next year.

     The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the July 2016 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

     Karnataka, India. Government-owned properties near lakes and reservoirs in Karnataka, India are being eyed for tourism development, and at least one of them could get a golf course. The state’s water resources department believes it can attract vacationers by offering what it calls “adventure sports” -- activities that include boating, rafting, kayaking, water skiing, hiking, and rock climbing -- at more than a half-dozen locations. Working in partnership with private-sector groups, the department aims to outfit the properties, some of which occupy as many as 300 acres, with lodges, mid-priced and budget hotels, floating restaurants, and other attractions. At the Bhadra Reservoir, outside Lakkavalli in the western part of the state, it controls 186 acres that it thinks can accommodate a hotel, a spa, a theme park, a restaurant, and a golf course.

     And in the United States . . . Last month, Tom Fazio put boots on the ground in suburban Las Vegas, Nevada, so he could get a look-see at the 13th golf course he’s designed for Discovery Land Company. The 18-hole track -- “handcrafted,” according to Fazio -- will be the centerpiece of an ultra-exclusive and ultra-expensive community called Summerlin. It’s scheduled to open in the spring of next year. . . . Also in the spring of 2017, Dana Fry and Jason Straka expect to break ground on Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club’s second 18-hole golf course. Fry told Golf Course Architecture that the club, in Arcadia, Michigan, has provided a site that’s “perfect for golf” and that he aims to deliver a track that “exposes golfers to a golfing experience unlike any many of them have had before.” If construction schedules hold, the course will open in the summer of 2018. . . . Phil “the Gambler” Mickelson is overseeing the redesign of the flood-ravaged, Seth Raynor-designed course at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Mickelson, one of the resort’s “ambassadors,” has reportedly created 10 new holes for the 18-hole layout, which dates from 1929. He’s promised “to stay true to [Raynor’s] design concepts while updating the course to challenge and excite generations to come.”

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