Where Will the Next Great Golf Course Be Built?
When examining and attempting to define the criteria for the “greatest golf courses not yet built”, one must expand the mind and look beyond the horizon: a global golf world exists and the next five to ten years will shape what are generally considered to be the best new courses. These are mere emerald dreams--we have no crystal ball--though we still aim for the pin.In this modern era, leading course designers are always trying to one-up themselves and their contemporaries; we can only admire their evolutionary ingenuity. But why wait until these courses are actually opened--let’s take a closer look at what’s coming.The emerald frontier is perhaps led by the most gifted designer: Jack Nicklaus. The legend of the game has made his name sparkle even brighter with designing stellar and amazing courses on exotic edges of the earth, and almost everywhere in-between.
Now, “The Golden Bear” and Annika Sorenstam have partnered up in expectation of developing the highly-anticipated Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro. This is not some monotonous vacation resort course--it’s the course for the 2016 Olympics--sure to turn heads in the golfing world with breathtaking majesty--more than mere beauty, it will probably be considered as challenging as it is ethereal.
The two aforementioned champions have made a co-bid in hopes of holding the rights to create and build what might be (arguably) considered the greatest course in South America, certainly something that can make Brazil proud; both economically and artistically.
The International Golf Federation confirmed in June 2010, that yes: they have received a letter from Nicklaus and Sorenstam stating their mutual desires to build the Olympic course. The Nicklaus design company has successfully brought nearly three hundred and fifty new courses into fruition, dominating the global golf world as Jack’s legacy has dominated the decades. As a player, or a creator, “The Golden Bear” is in it to win.
As far as Nicklaus’ chances, “The Golden Bear” told The Associated Press: "I'll be surprised if they don't select us." Nicklaus continued with class, "But I'm sure other people are interested."
There are more than mere meritorious wishes or hubris in The Golden Bears confidence: the possibilities are as endless as the Rio de Janeiro horizon or the floats and beautiful bodies of Carnaval, you see; because Brazil has no public courses in the entire country. This new course could be the greatest not yet built because it could make golf a little more conspicuous in a nation that is celebrated for some of the greatest futbol (soccer) players in history. It could merge the two sports’ cultures with the current, creating a financial tsunami; lucrative waves rippling outward; allowing all to see the visceral physical beauty of the great sport of golf.
Nicklaus, whose Nicklaus Design Company has created nearly 350 courses globally, was also quoted as saying that the course should be available to the public following its Olympic uses; since there are currently no public courses in Brazil. Of course, this is an ambitious project that must be pulled off perfect from start to finish in order of attracting the world’s attention, so Nicklaus and Sorenstam are patiently waiting for an answer.
Drawbacks and Limitations
Course designers will have to be selected to assure that everything proceeds smoothly--if not perfect, from start to finish. 2016 is right around the corner. Some negative variables of the proposed plan include reluctance of Rio de Janeiro and the International Golf Federation to cover the exorbitant expenses, and their hesitation is also based upon the fears that the distinct Hispanic heritage of the region might be “Americanized” and perhaps metathesis into some sort of country club meets Disneyland mentality.
With the possibility of using an existing private course still an option, Nicklaus believes if a new course is in fact to be built, the designers will have to be chosen soon. Other concerns issued by the IGF include the city of Rio picking up the tab and fear of Americanizing an international product.
Can Columbia Produce a World Class Course?
Well, since we’re speaking about hypothetical courses not yet built; let’s focus on Columbia. Yes, you heard me right: Columbia. The country has cleaned itself up and invested a great deal in attracting tourists, and the beauty is palpable. The cocaine cartels were last millennium. So, you might say they have great coffee, but what do Colombians know about golf? Well, why don’t you ask Camilo Villegas? He might know a thing or two.
El Karibana Beach Golf Condominium is the name of this exclusive, gated, luxury living community soon to be booming near Cartagena. Amenities include: tennis courts, fine dining, spa, beach house, hotel, and private pool for aquatic activities. A small marina will be in your backyard, with sailboats and luxury yachts. Oh, did we mention the fantastic ocean-front views? The course itself will stretch 7,100 yards across 70 gorgeous acres of paradise.
Of course, time will only tell if either of these courses become among the best on the planet. A promise in the golf development world is like a three-hundred yard tee shot up the middle of the fairway: sounds great, but we can’t do it perfect on every single hole, or can we?