Gary Player Design Busy in Emerging Golf Markets


Gary Player is traveling the globe more now than ever - particularly to the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North & South Africa, Asia and Central America where his firm is active in designing new courses.

In November, Player made stops in Cyprus, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman where he is currently designing golf courses. On November 17th, the Shakolas Group gave Player his first tour of the site near Polis, Cyprus, where a 36-hole golf course is planned - 18 holes by Player and 18 by Jack Nicklaus. The former quarry contains an enormous crater that was being filled during Player's visit.

"The introduction of a golf course to this particular site really enables us to 'mend a scar' and give back to Mother Nature," said Player. "By the time we've finished here, Limni (Golf Club) will undoubtedly be a showcase for golf's 'green' movement."

Player also expressed excitement about working with a piece of land that offers such dramatic elevations. The topography lends itself to a course with a lot of character, with some holes offering long-distance views and others playing along the quarry wall.

From Cyprus, Player flew to Abu Dhabi where he visited the site of his new signature course on Saadiyat Island - the first ocean course to be built on the Arabian Gulf. There, Player gave his go-ahead for the grassing of the final eight holes and spoke of how the island's natural environment is helping his team deliver a course "at one with nature." Now in its final stages, the Saadiyat Island Ocean Course is on track to open in September 2009 in preparation for its hosting the 2010 Abu Dhabi Championship.

"We have designed over 300 courses, but there's something unique about this one which excites me," Player said. "Set alongside the world's largest cluster of renowned cultural institutions, such as the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum and the Louvre Museum, this course will raise the bar and set a new standard for golf courses across the Middle East region - if not the world."

Recent research indicates the UAE's golf market is the most sophisticated in the region, a view based on the country's appetite to become a major venue for sports events and a desirable golfing destination. With Dubai (where Player attended the grand opening of Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah) and Abu Dhabi leading the charge, the growth of golf in the UAE is further evidenced by the Dubai World Championship and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

To the east of UAE lies Oman, another emerging market where Gary Player Design is making its mark. Before heading back to South Africa to host the Gary Player Invitational, he made a final stop in Oman where he is designing two golf courses near Muscat. With beautiful beaches and year-round sun, the country has seen a boost in tourism over the past two years thanks to the development of new courses.

For additional information about Gary Player's golf projects, visit www.garyplayerdesign.com.


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