Courtesy of iseekgolf.com
(3/15/2007) Golf’s most-acclaimed player and designer, Jack Nicklaus, opened his first Signature Golf Course in New Zealand with the unveiling of The Kinloch Club on the shores of Lake Taupo today.
Nicklaus, whose design career has rivaled in success his record-setting tournament legacy, hit the ceremonial drive from the first tee in front of over 350 invited guests to formally open the course he designed at Kinloch.
The Kinloch Club, anchored by the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, is one of only 25 around the globe to be included in the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, a collection of Signature Courses in destinations hand-picked by Nicklaus himself. Kinloch is the first and only Nicklaus-designed golf course in New Zealand.
The Golden Bear, as he became known during his remarkable playing career, has been involved in the design of 256 courses worldwide. His privately held firm, Nicklaus Design, is recognised as the world leader, with 313 courses open for play in 30 countries. The firm also has courses under development in 37 different countries.
Kinloch, though, was a special project for Nicklaus who became endeared to the region many years before through his passion for fly-fishing. When developer Jean-Paul Pavlovic and William Ormerod (the Managing Director of Kinloch Golf Resort Ltd), and his partners began the concept they always had the Golden Bear in mind to approach. In fact they didn’t have to contact him. He called them.
“I was familiar with the area because I had fished near there many times,” Nicklaus said. “I wanted to be involved with the project, the site has the views and all the contours needed for a great golf course.”
“I think that the first nine holes, which are now open, have the potential to become the best that we’ve designed.”
“It will be a very special and enjoyable golf course. You’re in the middle of everything–the best fishing, hunting, water sports, skiing, the wilderness … and everything is so close.”
Nicklaus played an exhibition over the first nine holes today with his oldest son Jack Nicklaus II, the president of Nicklaus Design. During the showcase, Nicklaus shared with the gallery his vision and design philosophy for the Kinloch layout.
The Kinloch Club will incorporate a range of world-class amenities, including the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, a Nicklaus Design nine-hole par-3 course, a lodge and clubhouse with recreational facilities, 50 villas, all with spectacular views of Lake Taupo, 50 lodge suites and on-course residential estate sites.
There are a total of 176 real estate sections on the property, with over a quarter of sections already sold. The Kinloch Club is taking reservations on a limited number of Founder Memberships that include a spectacular lakeview estate lot and membership in the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, an exclusive access and reciprocity program in which a limited number of members will have access to courses, privileges and a Nicklaus Home at other Jack Nicklaus Golf Clubs worldwide. Current JNGC destinations include Canada (West Vancouver Island), Tuscany, The Bahamas (Royal Island), the Patagonia region of Argentina; a private ski and golf resort in Mount Holly, Utah; and St. Lucia and Anguilla in the Caribbean.
Ideally situated in the central portion of the North Island, with spectacular views of Lake Taupo, Kinloch is a volcanic area that is rich in pumice, or the dried, light, porous foam of lava that drains much like sand. At Kinloch, the land’s characteristics feature fast-moving contours and knobs, and Nicklaus recreated that same look in the golf course. Many have described this true links layout as a course reminiscent of the coastal gems in Scotland, the birthplace of the game.
Work began on the project in 2003 and because of its special nature, Nicklaus has personally supervised the design and construction with repeated visits to New Zealand.
“It occurred to me that in an increasingly tumultuous world, this peaceful haven offers a timeless way of life and values,” Nicklaus said.
“If I had to move outside the United States, New Zealand is the first place I’d come.”