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Garl to Design Course in China


Golf course architect, Ron Garl, has been selected by Shanghai Matsouka Co., Ltd. Chairman of the Board, Qinfu Li, to design a 27-hole golf resort in Shanghai, China.

Plans for the 7,500-acre site call for at least three five-star hotels as well as 27 holes of golf. The facility will feature three nines that will run atop a 500-foot hill that overlooks the China Sea and the Yangtze River Delta. The name of the project, "Nine Dragons," comes from the nine hills that run through the site; the hills resemble the backs of dragons.

"I believe that this is one of the great opportunities a golf course architect can have," says Garl. The architect is no stranger to Asian golf, having designed Alpine Golf & Sports Club in Bangkok, the site of the 2000 Johnnie Walker Classic won by Tiger Woods. "Golf is now truly a world-wide game and I'm honored to be chosen to be one of the architects who have an opportunity to grow the game of golf in China," added Garl.

The championship-caliber layout at Nine Dragons may become one of the most dramatic courses in China. The site lends itself to magnificent vistas of both the ocean and the valley below, while providing a backdrop for some of the most unique holes anywhere.

"It is truly rare when an architect has an opportunity to work on a tract of land like Nine Dragons," says Garl. "While it's a thrill to have this chance, there is also a real challenge to designing a course on a site such as this. Your design must match up with the quality of the land. While this is an awesome challenge, it is one of those all too rare opportunities an architect has, to bring his heart, mind and soul to a project and know his efforts will be rewarded."

There is a strong possibility that Garl's work will be eligible for a reward unique in the golf course design profession. The question about bringing golf to the Olympics will soon be decided. Early indicators are that the game will be included in the 2008 Summer Olympics in China. A spectacular design at Nine Dragons would put the course in the running to showcase China golf to the world as an Olympic venue.

"Of course, this is a consideration," admits Garl. "It would be a tremendous honor for us and Mr. Li to have Nine Dragons selected as an Olympic venue. Personally, it would certainly be a high point of my career."

The Ron Garl Design team will be matched with EDSA master planners for the first phase of the project. Itís a partnership that pleases Garl, who commented about the pairing, "The maximum success of a project greatly relies on the shared vision of the master planner and the architect. We just completed a project called Cayo Largo in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, with EDSA. This was also a waterfront golf project and we definitely shared the same vision. I feel extremely confident that having EDSA as a part of the team will ensure a shared vision and ultimately one of the most exciting projects with which we've been involved. It's the right team for the perfect site. I can't wait to show it to the world."