Jack Nicklaus was the first and only American inducted into the inaugural class of the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame. He joined 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.