As Asia is being lauded as golf’s next frontier and a critical player in the game’s future, Nicklaus Design is being celebrated for its impact on golf’s past, present and future there. The editors and readers of Asian Golf Monthly/Asian Golf Business named Nicklaus Design as “Golf Course Architect of the Year in Asia” during the magazine’s annual awards gala Thursday night at Mission Hills Resort in Shenzhen, China.
This is the second time in five years Nicklaus Design has been honored as the continent’s top design firm, having won Asian Golf Monthly’s award in 2003. This year’s honor highlighted the final night of the Asia Pacific Golf Development Summit, which saw 250 representatives from around the world gather at Mission Hills. The gala not only recognized the top course architect, but honored the top courses in different countries and regions within Asia. Among the winners was the Jack Nicklaus-designed Mountain Course at Spring City Resort in Kunming, which was named Best Golf Course in China. Nicklaus Design’s Golden Bear course at Pine Valley finished third.
“We would like to sincerely thank Asian Golf Monthly/Asian Golf Business, including publisher Spencer Robinson and his editorial team, and we would especially like to thank the magazine’s readers who voiced their opinion on what they viewed as the top golf experiences in the continent and for recognizing the work of Nicklaus Design,” said Tim Kenny, executive vice president of Nicklaus Design. “Asia has always been an important region for Nicklaus Design, and we are committed and passionate about our continued involvement in the region. When you look at what is happening globally with the economy, Asia has the ability to invigorate and excite all of us in the golf industry. The appetite there for golf, especially quality golf, continues to grow and I know I speak for Mr. Nicklaus when I say that we want to play a key role in the nurturing of the game’s development throughout Asia.”
Nicklaus Design opened its first course in Asia 35 years ago in Japan, and now has no fewer than 70 spread throughout the continent. Nicklaus Design’s first course in China—considered among the fastest-growing golf markets in the world—was Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club in Zhongshan City, Guangdong, which opened in 1993. Jack’s grounb-breaking design of the World Cup Course at Mission Hills then followed in 1994. The World Cup course and was named this year by LINKS Magazine as one of the 10 Most Influential Designs in Golf History, as it set the bar for golf in China and sparked a boom at Mission Hills, which now boasts a world-record 12 courses at the facility.
Nicklaus Design has opened 13 courses in China, and has 12 more projects under contract and another six in serious negotiations. The firm also has projects under construction or under contract in Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and Korea, including the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club of Korea in Songdo. With offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Seoul, Korea, Nicklaus Design intends to strengthen its already dominant position in Asia.