Friday, February 17, 2017

The Pipeline, february 17, 2017

     Đà Nẵng, Vietnam. A “platinum” sponsor of the Ho Tram Open, an Asian Tour-sanctioned event played annually in Vietnam, plans to build a golf community on waterfront property along the nation’s Central Coast. Novaland, a Hồ Chí Minh City-based home builder, has acquired 525 acres on the outskirts of Đà Nẵng for Sunrise Bay, which will feature houses, resort-style hotels, a commercial area, schools, and what will likely be a celebrity-designed golf course. The company has initiated the venture to give itself a national reputation, and it’s picked a good spot for it, as Đà Nẵng, Vietnam’s third-largest city, is a fast-growing vacation destination. What’s more, the Đà Nẵng area attracts golfers because it’s home to four “signature” golf courses: Montgomerie Links (it has a Colin Montgomerie-designed track), Đà Nẵng Golf Club (Greg Norman), Laguna Lăng Cô Golf Club (Nick Faldo), and Bà Nà Hills Golf Club (Luke Donald). Novaland, which intends to go public this year, expects to open Sunrise Bay in 2019.

     Comunidade Intermunicipal do Oeste, Portugal. By happy coincidence, the design firm owned in part by the European Tour has been hired to oversee a makeover of a Portuguese club that recently joined the network of European Tour Properties. The venue in question is Bom Sucesso Golf Club, and the architectural firm is European Golf Design. The tour says that Bom Sucesso’s 18-hole, Donald Steel-designed layout will receive “a redesign to the highest standards” and become “a world-class golf venue to be enjoyed by all levels of golfers.” The tour hasn’t announced a construction schedule, but it notes that changes to the nine-year-old course will be evident “in the very near future.” Bom Sucesso, located roughly an hour’s drive north of Lisbon, became one of the European Tour Properties last year, along with Tróia Golf Resort, a community south of the capital city.

     Ruwi, Oman. Tourism ministers in Oman have set out to revive a comatose resort that once promised to reveal “the mystique of authentic Arabia.” Golf isn’t normally associated with “authentic Arabia,” but a golf course nonetheless remains part of the master plan for Salam Yiti, a resort community that was long ago supposed to take shape on 1,035 acres in Ruwi, a city located 18 miles south of the sultanate’s capital, Muscat. In the mid 2000s, when the community was originally proposed, it was to feature more than 2,000 housing units, three hotels, a souq, a marina with a yacht club, a shopping area, and an 18-hole, Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed golf course. None of those attractions were built, however, because world economies collapsed. But today, as business across the Middle East perks up, and as Oman ponders a future that’s less dependent on oil production, a growing number of government officials and private-sector companies believe the Ruwi area can become what the Times of Oman calls “a Riviera for the Gulf.” As is so often said, hope springs eternal.

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

     Jambi Province, Indonesia. A Malaysian company has joined the effort to turn an existing port on the island of Sumatra into a giant mixed-use project, including a golf course. Kuala Lumpur-based Vivocom Intl Holdings Bhd is looking for investors willing to bankroll Kharisma Port, which will occupy nearly 5,400 acres outside the town of Palembang. The construction is expected to be done in three phases, with the golf course scheduled to emerge in the project’s third phase, along with a hotel and an Islamic center. Kharisma Port will take shape on a palm oil plantation owned by an Indonesian group. It’s been master-planned for residential, commercial, and industrial uses and will also feature an expanded port, processing facilities for rubber and palm oil, retail and commercial areas, recreational amenities, and other attractions. Such mega-projects require a lot of capital, and Vivocom believes it’s most likely to find it in China.

     Staffordshire, England. Whittington Heath Golf Club, one of the oldest golf venues in England, is about to embark on the next phase of its history. This spring, the 130-year-old club will begin building a modern clubhouse, a practice area, and five new holes for its Harry Colt-designed golf course, a heathland layout that dates from 1927. The changes have been forced upon Whittington Heath, because a high-speed rail line will soon be laid across its property. The club’s members could’ve accepted a buyout, disbanded, and joined other clubs in the Birmingham area, but instead they struck a deal with transportation authorities that they believe will ensure their financial future. “We’re delighted with the outcome, under the circumstances,” the club’s captain said in a comment published by the Birmingham Mail. Whittington Heath’s new holes have been designed in the Colt style by Derbyshire-based Jonathan Gaunt, in consultation with Donald Steel, an architect who’s intimately familiar with “classic” British layouts. They’ll connect to Colt’s original holes via a tunnel that will run beneath the rail line, and the members figure to start playing them in 2019.

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

     Morogoro, Tanzania. In eastern Tanzania, a Dar es Salaam-based developer and a Southeast Asian water-treatment company have set out to create a huge master-planned community with an 18-hole golf course. The world-class, international-standard layout will be among the attractions at Star City, which will eventually occupy 8,150 acres on the outskirts of Morogoro, a city of 320,000. The partners, Star Infrastructure Development (T) Ltd. and Singapore-based Hyflux, Ltd., are marketing their community to people who wish to live in a “one-of-a-kind integrated mixed-use development where live, work, and play take on a whole new meaning.” In addition to the golf course, Star City has been master-planned to include a 2,000-acre industrial and logistics park, a “university town” full of schools and knowledge-based businesses, and an “eco-friendly” residential area with a hotel, theme parks, and other attractions. At build-out, the community figures to be home to 140,000 people. Its residents will enjoy “quality living,” which in Tanzania means a reliable supply of clean water and electricity throughout the day and night.

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