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Sorenstam Set to Design Course in British Columbia
Annika Sorenstam will team up with Canadian golf architect Thomas McBroom to co-design her fourth international course. The project is planned for Red Mountain Resort in Rossland, one of Western Canada and British Columbia's oldest ski resorts. To be named the Golf Club at Red Mountain, work will begin in spring 2009 on the 7,071-yard, par-71 track.
The layout will be Sorenstam's first in North America that will start from scratch. McBroom, one of Canada's top golf architects, is excited about teaming up with the Swedish Hall of Famer. "This partnership fills a void in terms of superstar women designers. Nobody has done so much in this category at such a young age."
A designer of nearly 40 courses in his home country, McBroom added: "In terms of scale and stature, Red is one of the region's biggest golf developments in the last 50 years -¬ a never-before-seen community that will continue to create world recognition for Rossland." He noted that when complete, the 200-acre course will be surrounded by 450 homes, townhouses, a hotel/spa/conference center, and a 12-acre golf academy.
Sorenstam visited the property in late November, walking the rugged spruce- and fir-lined site with McBroom and Red Mountain Ventures CEO Howard Katkov, taking in its spectacular mountain setting. The routing has been in the works for the past nine months, although Sorenstam and McBroom are still firming up the bunkering and positions of the greens.
"Because I grew up in a small town in Sweden, I've always had an affinity for intimate, alpine-type mountain communities," said Sorenstam, explaining why she is thrilled to be working on the design at Red Mountain. "I love being outdoors, whether it is golfing in the summer, or skiing in the winter. At this beautiful community, I'll be able to share my passion for both."
A lifelong skier who plans to make Red Mountain his second home, McBroom agrees with Sorenstam that the natural topography was a design draw. "Annika and I agree on how the game should be played, favoring old-fashioned shot-making and skill over the modern trend of power and length," said McBroom, who recently teamed with Tom Lehman to design the Raven at Lora Bay in Toronto and the high-altitude Le Geant Golf Course at Mont Tremblant, Quebec.
Katkov has grand plans for the resort. "As one of the world's top ski resorts, it's long been our goal to add the phrase 'world class golf' to our outdoor-sport lexicon," said the owner of Red Mountain Resort, who sports a 16-handicap. "But we didn't just want to develop the standard resort-style course. We wanted to uniquely integrate the mountain lifestyle that appeals to those who have been coming to the mountain for decades. Many of the golfers we envision coming to Red will be true athletes with a love of their surroundings. To that, we came up with two concepts that I think will appeal to them: a seamless golf routing with no return to the clubhouse, as if on a day-long adventure mountain hike, and; the natural incorporation of the environment."
According to Katkov, the holes will fit naturally into the topography such that very little earthmoving will be required, thereby minimizing environmental disruption. The clubhouse site will be a high bench overlooking the 18th green and the ski area.
Sorenstam is one of the most accomplished golfers - male or female - of her era. Inducted into the World Golf and LPGA Halls of Fame in 2003, her resume includes 10 major titles, 85 professional victories worldwide and eight LPGA Player of the Year awards, and she played on eight European Solheim Cup teams. Off the course, her business interests include the Annika Academy, Annika Foundation, the Annika Collection with Cutter & Buck, various course design projects, and tournaments she hosts on both the LPGA and Ladies European tours.