Jack Nicklaus becomes first American inducted into Asia Pacific Hall of Fame
NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla.—For the third straight year and the fourth time in eight years, the readers of Asian Golf Monthly magazine have named Nicklaus Design as “Golf Course Architect of the Year in Asia Pacific.” The honor was announced last week at the 2010 Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, and capped an event during which Jack Nicklaus became the first American inductee into the inaugural class of the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame.
As Asia has become arguably the most important market in the game’s future, Nicklaus Design continues to be lauded for its impact on golf’s past, present and future there. The 2010 Asia Pacific Golf Summit not only recognized the top course architect, but honored the top courses in different countries and regions throughout Asia Pacific. Nicklaus Design took top honors in two countries—China and Korea—as well as the Best Golf Resort in Asia Pacific, with Empire Hotel & Country Club in Brunei, which is anchored by a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. The Mountain Course at Spring City Resort in Kunming, a 1997 Jack Nicklaus design, repeated as Best Golf Course in China. For the third year in a row and just three years after opening, The Ocean Course at Sky 72 Golf Club was named Best Golf Course in Korea. Located in Incheon, this Nicklaus Design layout plays host this week to the LPGA’s Hana Bank Championship.
Three other Jack Nicklaus-designed courses were named in the top three of their respective countries: Miramar Linkou Golf & Country Club (No. 2 in Chinese Taipei); Bumi Serpong Damai Course at Damai Indah Golf & Country Club (No. 3 in Indonesia); and The Kinloch Club (No. 3 in New Zealand), which is only 3 years old and was named in 2007 to Travel & Leisure Golf’s Best New Courses in the World.
“We are honored and want to thank everyone associated with Asian Golf Monthly, especially its readers, for again recognizing Nicklaus Design as Asia’s Golf Course Architect of the Year,” said Executive Vice President Paul Stringer, who accepted the award on behalf of Nicklaus Design. “Having the support and confidence of the golfers in Asia is a tribute to Jack Nicklaus and to our designers in Asia. To be recognized three years in a row with this honor is a reflection of the hard work of all the personnel we have throughout the Asia Pacific region. Our Nicklaus Design team has done a terrific job in providing great customer service and quality design for our Asian clients. This recognition will inspire our team to continue to create great golf experiences and to further the mission of growing the game throughout Asia Pacific.”
Nicklaus Design Asia has offices or representation in Hong Kong; Beijing; Seoul, Korea; Manila, Philippines; and the burgeoning golf market of India.
Nicklaus Design has 19 courses under construction in Asia, including 14 in China, three in Korea, one in India and one in Cambodia. The firm also has another 25 signed and active projects spread throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim, representing China, Korea, Japan, India, Papua New Guinea, Palau and Australia.
The 400 or so delegates in attendance at this year’s Summit also witnessed the unveiling of the inaugural class of inductees into the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame. Jack Nicklaus was the first and only American inducted, and he joined the likes of Lu Liang Huan, the Taiwanese golf legend who lost out to Lee Trevino in the 1971 British Open by a solitary stroke, and Boonchu Ruangkit, Thailand’s top senior golfer and the current leader of the European Champions Tour Order of Merit.
“It is an honor and privilege to join the others in this first class, and I look at this as not only an acknowledgment of what I accomplished playing the game, but more important, what I have tried to do outside the ropes in growing the game in this great continent,” Jack Nicklaus said. “The Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame is representative of how far the game has really grown in the region and I would hope it has a major impact on how Asian golf is viewed by the rest of the world. Needless to say, I am proud to be a part of it.
“I think I spend more time in Asia now than I do in the United States, working on golf courses, and I must say that I’m really enjoying it—great sites, great golf courses, and great clients. The game has just grown beyond belief and it is both fun and satisfying to be a part of its continued growth.”
The Golden Bear was at the forefront of golf development in Asia, as Nicklaus Design opened its first course there 37 years ago in Japan, and now has no fewer than 80 spread throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim, including 16 courses in the vibrant golf market of China. Nicklaus Design’s first course in China was Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club in Zhongshan City, Guangdong, which opened in 1993. Jack’s ground-breaking design of the World Cup Course at Mission Hills followed in 1994. The World Cup course was named in 2008 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.
Jack continues to take the lead in the growth and development of golf in Asia, having made multiple visits this year to projects from China to South Korea. These include the recently opened Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in New Songdo City, South Korea, which last month hosted Asia’s first full-field PGA Tour event, and more than a half-dozen projects spread throughout five cities in China, including Beijing, Kunming, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Changbaishan.
For 40 years, the mission of the Nicklaus Companies has been to enhance the golf experience, and to bring to the national and international consumer golf-related businesses and services that mirror the high standards established in the career and life of Jack Nicklaus. These services include golf course design, the development of golf and real estate communities, and the marketing and licensing of golf products and services. Nicklaus Design, recognized as the world leader in golf course design, has been involved with 356 courses open for play in 34 countries and 39 states. Of those, Jack Nicklaus has designed, co-designed or re-designed 285 courses around the globe, 63 of which have been ranked in various national or international Top-100 lists. Nicklaus Design currently has projects under development in 34 different countries, including 16 in which it has never been involved before.