Around the world each year new golf courses appear on previously unimagined terrains, the visual experience is once again redefined, an acclaim is made to superior strategy, and an emphasis on equal playability to all is declared – 2009 is no different.
The year before us will see Kidd kick off another course on the Scottish coast, Nicklaus open one more PGA Tour quality layout, Tom Doak and Gil Hanse each unveil an inspired routing, Pete Dye add to his hall-of-fame list, and Woods launch his debut in Dubai. So here it is, a yearly preview, nine new courses for 2009 from nine different architects ranging in location, style, and profile:
* Click the course name for further information.
David McLay Kidd
Last year on Scotland’s east coast Kidd lived up to the enormous expectations of the golf architecture world with the opening of St Andrew’s seventh course, The Castle. This May his attention turns to the western shores and the opening of Machrihanish Dunes. In what used to be his childhood backyard, the links course features six tees and five greens along the ocean’s edge in what is intended to be a testament to “the way golf began”.
French Lick, Indiana
Amid steep topography in the Midwest, hall of fame architect Pete Dye has created a walkable layout featuring 30-mile panoramic views in what has potential to be his best inland design. The new layout will sister the resort’s existing 1917 Donald Ross course, which recently completed a $4.7 millon dollar renovation. Projected opening is spring 2009.
In a country famed for sun, culture, and history, golf is difficult to come by in Greece. Navarino Dunes will be only the country’s fifth 18-hole golf course making Costa Navarino a ground-breaking project considering it could potentially encompass four resorts and seven golf courses in the region by 2015. Teamed with Bernhard Langer as the signature designer, McMurray has created a challenging course along the Ionian sea that juxtaposes iconic Scottish and Mediterranean styles with deep pot bunkers and olive and citrus groves present in generous numbers.
Coore and Crenshaw
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
The duo responsible for Branon Trails, Sand Hills Golf Club, and Kapalua’s Plantation course has a new opening this year near Lake Tahoe. Being the artists that Coore and Crenshaw are, always leaving behind courses inspired by the land they are built on, Clear Creek is sure to have a well thought-out routing and naturally stunning hazards.
When opening Craighead Golf Links in 1998 Gil Hanse became the third American born architect to build a new course in Scotland. A little more than 10 years later along the Moray Firth, Gil is again adding to the deep cultural fabric of Scottish golf with a dynamic and beautiful course that is “simple yet profound enough to engage and occupy the mind”.
The Colorado Golf Association (CGA) enlisted Tom Doak to build what will be his second course in the state. Considering his first, Ballyneal, is ranked in the top 100 courses in the world, there’s much for Denver golfers to get excited about. The new design will serve as home to the CGA and CWGA with an emphasis on affordability and pledge to “…promote and serve the best interests of golf in the state of Colorado.” Opening day is set for May 23rd.
Only weeks after its scheduled opening date of January 15th golf fans will get a look at Nicklaus’ new desert layout early in the PGA season when the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is held at the course February 25th-March 1st. Fans can expect large undulating greens, generous fairways, and combination of hazard styles throughout this lengthy 7,800 yard routing.
Robert Trent Jones II
How suiting that a course named The Patriot is set to open on July 4th. Conceptualized by a former F-16 pilot, designed by one of the most successful firms in the USA, the layout incorporates high plains, stone canyons, ravines, and forested areas.
With his flagship course Al Ruwaya expected to open later this year, the most anticipated debuting golf course architect of 2009 is undisputedly Tiger Woods. Al Ruwaya, meaning ‘serenity’, will be a one of a kind experience. During its construction it was the desert course that ran out of sand, the turfgrass has been imported from Augusta, Georgia, and with an unlimited budget, so to were the possibilities. It will no doubt face scrutiny by the architecture aficionados, but it’s difficult to imagine the results of anything that Tiger tackles being nothing less than the best in the world.