Wednesday, February 3, 2010

With fans like this, who needs enemies?

Man, it's tough being a high-profile golf architect these days. The recession has forced the "signature" designers to cut their fees, lay off staffers, and now, worst of all, take abuse from their former clients.

One of those clients is Bobby Ginn, a master of the marketing "pre-sell," a technique he used exquisitely to develop about a dozen uber-luxurious golf communities in Florida and elsewhere. Last fall, in a story about his rise and fall, Ginn told Links magazine he doesn't believe he'll be shelling out any seven-figure design contracts anytime soon.

"Some of these design fees have gotten out of hand," Ginn said, conveniently forgetting that he helped to create them. "I'm a big fan of Nicklaus and Palmer, but their courses aren't that unique anymore. They're like Walmart -- there's one on almost every corner."

READ MORE - With fans like this, who needs enemies?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Missed Opportunity?

In recent years, the U.S. golf industry has been sending many of its finest assets abroad, in particular its designers and builders. Now it's become apparent that the industry is also sending its flawed business model -- the one that served as a foundation for all those failed, failing, or soon-to-fail golf properties we see from sea to shining sea.

And people are finally starting to talk about it. The latest comments have come from Michael Hurdzan, a Columbus, Ohio-based designer, who addressed the issue in a Sports Illustrated article called "The Gilded Age of Golf Course Design Is Dead."

"The danger I see," Hurdzan told John Garrity, "is that the developers and golf architects will go out and make the same mistakes in Asia that they made here in North America. They'll build mostly big resorts and private clubs. They won't make it a people's game."

READ MORE - Another Missed Opportunity?

Monday, February 1, 2010

CHINA Will a new city take shape in Inner Mongolia?

A Las Vegas-based company aims to build a massive “new world resort city” in northern China.

The city is called China Vegas, and it’ll spread over 24,700 acres of wilderness in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region along the Russian border. If the concept takes hold -– and it’s a deliriously ambitious undertaking that's probably doomed to failure -– the place could eventually be home to 1 million people.

China Vegas will be made essentially from nothing, so it needs pretty much everything. The developers, China Holdings, Inc., have outlined plans to build houses, office and industrial space, shopping areas, hotels, a transportation network, parks, casinos, a variety of recreational and entertainment areas, and other amenities too numerous to list.

Julianna Lu, the company’s founder and chairperson, won’t disclose the city’s exact location, but she tells us that the master plan calls for three 18-hole golf courses, at least one of which will be capable of hosting a professional tournament.

China Holdings controls nearly 198,000 acres in Inner Mongolia, which encompasses eight provinces from Gansu on the west to Heilongjiang on the east. The company says it has a subsidiary, China Power, Inc., that develops wind farms, biomass plants, and other sources of energy.

READ MORE - CHINA Will a new city take shape in Inner Mongolia?