Monday, March 12, 2012

The Week That Was, march 11, 2012

brazil Rio 2016: The Reaction

The biggest news of the week, obviously, was the selection of Gil Hanse to design the golf course for the Olympics in 2016. Here’s a little of what’s been said in the wake of the decision:

Brad Faxon, the touring pro who consulted on Hanse’s redesign of TPC Boston: I’m so proud that the Olympics did not go with a P.R. statement and instead chose Gil, because he’s the right choice.

Phil Mickelson, a golf pro and course designer: I give [Rio 2016] a lot of credit, because it would have been easier to go with a big name. Instead, they went with the best.

Jack Nicklaus, one of the finalists: I am sure he will do a fine golf course. The Olympics, and the legacy that golf course will have the opportunity to create, will be in good hands.

Robert Trent Jones, Jr., a finalist: My feelings are mixed between the personal disappointment of not being selected but also happiness that a worthy golf architect was selected.

Brad Klein, in a Golfweek commentary: The decision to hire Hanse . . . represents a powerful endorsement of a post-modern, links-inspired orientation to golf at the highest level of international competition. Beyond what this means for Hanse’s own career, it is a powerful step in the emergence of a more naturalistic, more traditionalist and ecologically sensitive approach to golf and golf-course design.

Annika Sorenstam, Nicklaus’ design partner in the Olympics bid: This is an exciting time for golf.

Jeff Mingay, a Canadian architect: The powers that be at Rio have made a very wise decision. . . . The Olympic golf course at Rio will be everything we expect it to be, including a catalyst that (should) positively affect people's understanding of golf and course architecture worldwide.

Bill Coore, a U.S. designer: This is fantastic news. I don’t like to show prejudice, because they were all qualified [finalists], but if the goal is to showcase really interesting, quality golf architecture . . . then I must say, they made a very wise decision.

And finally, Gil Hanse himself: I had all I could do to hold back the tears.

And in Other News . . .

. . . india Later this year, Nicklaus Design expects to open its second golf course in India. The 18-hole, 7,200-yard layout will be the featured attraction of Kalhaar Blues & Greens, a 500-acre community in suburban Ahmedabad that’s being developed by Navratna Organisers & Developers. As I’ve mentioned previously, I find it odd that Nicklaus’ high-swagger, internationally famous firm doesn’t have more courses in India. It opened a “signature” track at Classic Golf Resort in New Delhi in 1998 but then went dry for a decade, until Navratna and its water-drenched community came along. And it’s not as if Nicklaus isn’t trying. A couple of years ago it hired an Indian representative to drum up some business, without anything to show for its trouble. Hard to figure where Nicklaus goes from here.

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

. . . egypt Despite political instability and economic uncertainty, golf construction continues in Egypt. Galalah for Touristic Investments has opened the first nine holes of a planned 18 at El Ein Bay, a resort community that’s taking shape along the Red Sea roughly an hour’s drive from Cairo. “We have a really great golf course that we’re confident people will have a lot of fun playing,” says a spokesman for El Ein Bay. The track has been designed by Tim Lobb of Thomson Perrett Lobb, who said in a press release that it would be “playable by the widest possible range of golfers.” The course is one of two that TPL has in the works in metropolitan Cairo. Galalah’s parent company, GRID, has hired the firm to produce an 18-hole track for New Giza, a 1,500-acre community in Mehwar.

Some information in this post originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

. . . united states Donald Trump may still be collecting U.S. golf properties, but he’s having trouble filling the membership rolls at his posh golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida. The reality-TV star and erstwhile presidential candidate has of late been offering initiation-free memberships at Trump International Golf Club, much to the displeasure of members who paid $150,000 for their places at the town’s most glittering table. “He just pissed off a lot of members,” one of them groused. Trump’s tactful response: “That’s called luck. Welcome to the marketplace.” Trump says the discount has attracted 70 new members and given him enough confidence to boost the club’s initiation fee by 60 percent, to $250,000.

. . . wild card click When I come home feeling tired and beat, I go up where the air is fresh and sweet.