Golfplan’s Ugandan 18 debuts along headwaters of The Nile
LAKE VICTORIA, Uganda — Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa, now a fully fledged, 18-hole design from the hand of Golfplan’s Kevin Ramsey, celebrated its official grand opening 6-8 October by hosting the inaugural Serena Johnnie Walker Open, an event claimed Ugandan professional Phillip Kasozi who carded a 54-hole total of 222 over the 7,262-yard, par-72 course.
Kasozi’s victory (and a 200-member proam staged the next day) capped a development process some 10 years in the making. This slow road has nevertheless produced the finest course in the diversifying tourist region of East Africa.
“The first nine at Lake Victoria took 7 years start-to-finish; the last nine took just 2,” said course architect Ramsey, a partner with Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Golfplan ( www. golfplan.com). “In new golf markets like this one, flexible timelines are the way to go. It serves no one to artificially advance a project according to arbitrary schedules. It’s better to get things exactly right.”
Kasozi was certainly impressed. He called the design “brilliant”, adding that these 18 holes at Lake Victoria Serena will advance the game in Uganda: “On behalf of the professionals I thank all who have made this possible,” he said.
According to Ramsey, who was on site for the grand opening festivities, first among those is resort developer Katrick Halai, CEO of the Kenya-based contracting firm Cementers. The architect also singled out project manager Theodor van Rooyan and the artistry of Phase II shaper Joe Smith.
But surely some credit should be reserved for Ramsey himself, whose design Van Rooyan and Smith followed, and whose development savvy helped realize Uganda’s first international-standard course.
Formed in 1972, Golfplan has brought proper golf facilities to more new markets than any course architecture firm in the game, having created more than 217 original designs in 32 different countries (if renovation and master planning are considered, make that 85 countries). This fall, in addition to Lake Victoria Serena, Ramsey christened the first international-standard course in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia (Tabori Hills GC) and the back nine at Samsun GC, Turkey’s first course on the Black Sea coast.
Half a world away, the week of 18-21 October, Ramsey’s partner in Golfplan, David Dale, watched the world’s top players tackle his much feted design, The Club at Nine Bridges. Reigning world no. 1 Brooks Koepka topped that field, at the U.S. PGA tour’s CJ Cup, with a winning total of -21.
“New course development in South Korea and Uganda can’t get much further apart, geographically and logistically, but the commonality here is getting things right — no matter how long it might take,” Ramsey said. “In a mature market like Korea, where we’ve done two dozen original designs, no course takes 10 years to complete. In Uganda, it’s a different exercise: We essentially created the development standard from scratch. And that would not have happened, ever, were it not for the commitment and passion of our developer, Mr. Halai, who ensured that not a single corner was cut. His commitment to quality never flagged. We deployed all the best materials, Toro irrigation, and the perfect turfgrass for this climate and site, Sea Spray Paspalum, which, like most everything (including bentgrass, for the putting surfaces), required importation.
“As a result, we have a thoroughly compelling golf course in a singular setting — with course conditions the equal of any in Africa. And I include South Africa in that assessment.”
The environment at Serena is naturally dominated by mighty Lake Victoria, a presence on all 18 holes but particularly the start and finish. Ramsey’s design made elegant use of an enormous, man-made lagoon that divides holes 1 and 9 from 17 and 18 — and accommodates the property’s sparkling new marina.
“I’m not sure that’s ever been done,” the architect said. “Those are wonderful water holes, the 1st especially — once you reach the landing area, all of Lake Victoria spreads out before you. The 18th is another picturesque par-4, a sexy little finishing hole that plays to an island green. But it’s something quite special to have a gallery of pleasure boats shuttling in and out of this marina, as the round begins and ends.
“It’s a pretty flat piece of ground there at water’s edge, but those are some of the most beautiful lake-side holes we’ve created as a firm — I’m really pleased with the way our wispy, native-grass areas aesthetically complement the papyrus reeds we preserved at lakeside. At the same time, several holes at Serena play up into natural grasslands dotted with acacia trees that remind me of mesquite trees from the American west. It’s a distinct environment up there, and the long views — over the course, to Lake Victoria beyond — are even more stunning.”
The extended development timeline at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa worked out quite strategically. Located south of the capital, Kampala, the Serena property is today highly convenient to several million urbanites thanks to the newly completed Kampala-Entebbe highway. Kampala is also the point of entry for much of the country’s safari tourism industry.
“Uganda needs diversified tourist attractions and this resort definitely fits that bill,” said Ramsey, who added that his18 holes at Serena are an exotic wildlife tour in their own right. “There are dozens of exotic bird species on course, the Ugandan Crane being the most spectacular. That’s the national bird but the most a massive bird is the strikingly ugly Marabou Stork, which looks like a pterodactyl! There are some lovely monitor lizards out there, too. There used to be a python living in the papyrus reeds along no. 9 — but I don’t go out there looking for him.”
The Mountain Shadows Open Returns Dec. 19, 2018
Cap off 2018 by teeing off on The Short Course at Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley, Ariz. with the return of the worldclass Mountain Shadows Golf Open on Wednesday, Dec. 19.
The Mountain Shadows Golf Open is making an appearance once again as one of the Valley’s most action-packed tournaments with breathtaking views and competitive play. The tournament’s $500 entry fee includes a 9:00 a.m. morning shotgun, lunch at Rusty’s at The Short Course – boasting a stylish lounge and outdoor shaded patio overlooking Camelback Mountain – and an afternoon shotgun followed by an awards reception on Camelback Overlook.
Mountain Shadows Golf Open tickets can be booked at www.outlawtour. golf/18mountainshadowsopen and guests can even make a night (or weekend!) of it by enjoying luxurious accommodations between Dec. 17-21 for a special Open rate starting at $169 plus resort fee.
Originally designed by Architect Arthur Jack Snyder in 1961, The Short Course at Mountain Shadows quickly became a favorite among Hollywood celebrities and socialites. As the new Mountain Shadows rose from the dust in 2017, renowned golf course architect Forrest Richardson ( who worked with Snyder) redesigned the course by combining its storied heritage with modern features. The Short Course at Mountain Shadows is the only 18-hole, par-3 course in Arizona. With an emphasis on fun for the casual golfer, as well as the serious player, the newly configured and fully rebuilt course combines more difficult Diamond Tees, intermediate Square Tees and easier Circle Tees to be selected by the golfer to form their personal course layout. Views of iconic Camelback Mountain begin to cascade into the round of golf. At the final destination, the course spills into the resort as if it were a ski slope winding down from the mountain above. The course is playable in under three hours, leaving time for beers and bites at Rusty’s. Par-54 – 2,310 yards, 2,065 yards, 1,735 yards.
About Mountain Shadows:
Mountain Shadows debuted April 1, 2017 as the new boutique resort in Paradise Valley, Ariz. set in the shadow of Camelback Mountain. The resort just marked the completion of fully furnished luxury resort condominiums, which come with serious perks – from full access to the upscale independent boutique resort and high-tech wellness center to Arizona’s only 18-hole, par-3 golf course, completely redesigned by Forrest Richardson, acclaimed golf course architect. The resort features timeless modern design, 183 guest-rooms, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, a hightech fitness facility, a fully revamped short course with a golf grill and lounge, an art gallery, and 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.
About The Short Course:
Set in the shadow of Camelback Mountain, the course is in serene Paradise Valley, adjacent to Scottsdale. Hallmarks of the course are the exceptional greens surfaces and distinct holes, each with stunning mountain views. These, combined with the intense flexibility of tees, create an unparalleled experience. Holes play from 60 to 200 yards. The golfer will not only get to use an array of clubs, but also complete 18 holes in just a few hours - a respite to golfers in the Arizona summers and bonus for guests looking to get a round in before a day of resort relaxation or desert exploration!
Balsam Mountain Preserve Unveils First Palmer Practice Park
SYLVA, NC – Balsam Mountain Preserve, a conservation-oriented residential community in the Blue Ridge Mountains, recently unveiled Palmer Practice Park, a new state-of-theart golf practice facility designed by Arnold Palmer Design Company. The facility is located just steps away from Doubletop Village, an upcoming mountain hamlet of 23 new residential cottages, dining and recreational amenities all currently under development and scheduled to open in early 2020.
The uniqueness of the Palmer Practice Park stems from its cutting-edge design, which represents golf’s evolving nature by providing a richer, more interactive golf experience compared to standard one-dimensional driving ranges. The new Park also opens up the game to golfers of all ages and skill sets with the built in flexibility to play as a par 3 course or a “choose your own adventure” pitch and putt.
“Arnold Palmer’s mission was to share his love for the game in hopes of growing the sport,” says Thad Layton, Vice President and Senior Architect for Arnold Palmer Design Company. “Balsam Mountain Preserve is staying true to that mission with the new Palmer Practice Park. As one of the few golf courses implementing this radical design, it is leading the charge in introducing golf to a whole new generation.”
Palmer Practice Park will provide Balsam residents an exclusive, one-of-a-kind golfing experience in an unparalleled natural setting. Sitting at 3,400 feet above sea level, the park is centrally located between the 10th hole and the new village center and will overlook the Arnold Palmer Signature golf course and Plott Balsam Mountain Range. Spanning five acres, the practice facility will feature six unique greens, 3 bunkers and multiple teeing grounds, creating an unlimited number of ways to set the course up day to day. This variety will insure the course never plays the same way twice, while also promoting a low-pressure, smaller-scale game that will appeal to golfers of all abilities. Players will still have the option of a practice range with a full length of 260 yards, in addition to the par 3 and pitch and putt course options.
To learn more about the Doubletop Village visit www.balsammountainpreserve.com.
Casa de Campo Resort & Villas Showcases Fall Golf Events
LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic – Casa de Campo Resort & Villas – home to the Caribbean’s premier, luxury golf experiences, including the iconic Teeth of the Dog course – showcases a trio of fall golf events ideal to enjoy its myriad amenities and three marvelous courses.
The legendary resort is home to Pete Dye-designed gems Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore and The Links. Since opening in 1974, Teeth of the Dog is widely recognized as the No. 1 course in the Caribbean. Golf course architecture aficionados call Dye Fore “the most underrated course in the Caribbean.” The Links showcases Dye’s genius for creating interesting putting surfaces and green complexes.
To be held Nov. 14 – 18, the 54-hole Casa de Campo Pete Dye Celebration ProAm honors the amazing career and legacy of Dye. Teams consist of one professional playing alongside four amateur partners for the flighted event. Stay-and-play packages start at $2,919 per player (double occupancy) and include two rounds on Teeth of the Dog, one round on Dye Fore, Elite room accommodations, awards banquet and much more.
The 13th Annual Twosome Championship, scheduled for Dec. 2 – 8, is a mainstay on Casa de Campo’s annual roster of popular tournaments. Accepting entries from both professionals and amateurs, the 90-hole handicap event includes rounds on Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore and The Links. The all-inclusive six-night package starts at $2,709 (per person, per night) and is loaded with extras.
The Casa de Campo Women’s Getaway with Suzy Whaley is a four-day / three-night event taking place on Dec. 7 – 10. Whaley – a former LPGA Tour member, renowned PGA Professional and one of the game’s top instructors – will host. The stay-and-play is all-inclusive and starts at $1,899 per person (double occupancy). The many highlights include unlimited green fees on all three courses and personal instruction by Whaley at the resort’s new state-of-the-art Golf Learning Center.
For more information on all events, call 809.523.8115 or email [email protected] ccampo.com.do.
Belfair’s East Course Reopens Following Four Month Enhancement Project
BLUFFTON, SC – Belfair, a private golf club community in Bluffton, South Carolina, recently reopened its award-winning East Course following a four-month enhancement and bunker renovation project. The East Course renovation is part of Belfair’s longterm strategic plan which will reinvest more than $20 million into the club and community over the next ten years.
Enhancements on the Tom Fazio-designed East Course included updating green complexes to their original size by utilizing GPS coordinates gathered from Fazio’s
original design. Greens were resurfaced with Tif Eagle grass, while fairways, tees and collars were resurfaced with Latitude 36 Bermuda grass. Bunker renovations included updating the drainage in all greenside and fairway bunkers utilizing a new capillary concrete bunker system. The new bunkers are filled with G-Angle bunker sand. Belfair’s Director of Agronomy, Keith Einwag and Troon’s Senior Vice President of Golf Course Development, Ron Despain oversaw the project, with Maryland-based McDonald and Sons serving as the general contractor.
“The West Course at Belfair already ranks as one of the ‘Top 100 Private Residential Courses in the US,’” said Ray Pilch, President of the Belfair, POA. “With this renovation and enhancement, we are hopeful of achieving similar recognition for the East Course as well.”
Belfair will host the 2019 PGA Professional Championship, the world’s largest allprofessional event, April 28-May 1. The 312-player field will be comprised of players who advanced from the 41 PGA Section Championships, along with past champions. The low 20 scorers at Belfair will earn a berth in the 2019 PGA Championship to be played May 16-19, 2019 at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York. All four rounds of the PGA Professional Championship will be broadcast live on Golf Channel.
For more information on Belfair, visit www.belfair1811.com or call (843) 757-0701.
Youth on Course Offering Individuals a Chance to Win "Bucket List" Golf Experiences
PEBBLE BEACH, CA — Youth on Course – the non-profit organization providing young people with subsidized golf, college scholarships, paid internships and a caddie program – will conduct its annual online auction November 11-15, with all proceeds used to provide junior golfers across the country with rounds of golf for $5 or less.
Supporters will have exclusive access to bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including a round of golf and dinner at The Institute (one of Golf Advisor’s “10 Insanely Private Golf Courses You Will Never Get to Play”). Other sought-after destinations include five-time U.S. Open host Merion Golf Club, Old Tom Morris-designed Lahinch Golf Club, Winged Foot, Riviera, Sand Valley and many more which cater to a variety of enthusiasts. The auction also consists of family travel packages and allaccess passes to sporting events.
“We think it’s an added value to bidders knowing that they are getting an opportunity to check a bucket-list item off their list, while also supporting the dreams of our members,” says Youth on Course Executive Director Adam Heieck. “Thanks to the generous support from bidders in 2017, we raised $115,000 to continue our mission of providing life changing opportunities for kids through golf. To build off that momentum, we’ve increased this year’s goal to $150,000.”
Operating in every U.S. region, Youth on Course has more than 45,000 active members with access to 18 holes of golf for $5 or less at 900-plus courses across 26 states. Since 2006, juniors have completed 750,000 rounds while the organization has helped generate nearly $5 million in tee-time revenue reimbursed back to individual golf courses.
In addition to subsidized rounds, Youth on Course also facilitates college scholarships, paid internships and a caddie program. Since the inception of the scholarship program in 2008, They have awarded 222 students with scholarships totaling more than $1.4 million in financial support. The current Youth on Course scholarship retention rate is ninetyeight percent, with 53 students already graduated.
Silverado Resort And Spa Unveils New Experience Stay & Play Package
NAPA, CA – Following an exciting finish to this year’s Safeway Open in which Kevin Tway won in a three-hole playoff, Silverado Resort and Spa – the host property for the PGA TOUR tournament – has unveiled their new Silverado Experience Stay & Play package.
• The Silverado Experience Stay & Play package starts at $360 per person, per night and includes: • Three nights in a two bedroom suite • Two rounds of golf per person • A delicious daily breakfast in The Grill • One 50 minute Silverado signature spa treatment • A golf amenity per person Silverado Resort and Spa is Napa Valley’s only 36-hole golf resort. The 7,166yard, par 72 North Course annually hosts the Safeway Open, while the 6,612-yard, par 72 South Course is a favorite among resort guests. Both courses were designed by golf legend Johnny Miller. In addition to two 18-hole golf courses managed by Troon Golf, Silverado features 360 guest rooms, a full service Spa, 10 tennis courts and 10 swimming pools, all in close proximity to Napa Valley’s 540-plus wineries.
Just hours after the conclusion of the 2017 Safeway Open, the Atlas Peak fires erupted destroying or damaging more than 800 structures in the area. Thanks to fast-acting first responders and a bit of luck, Silverado Resort and Spa survived the devastating wildfires. Safeway Open tournament officials committed to donating 100 percent of ticket sales from the 2018 Safeway Open to rebuild Napa Valley and the ongoing fire relief efforts in the area.
“On the heels of a terrific Safeway Open and a great performance by Kevin Tway, we invite golf fans to experience Silverado Resort for themselves,” said resort owner Johnny Miller. “This historic property is truly a special place.”
For more information on Silverado Resort and Spa’s Silverado Experience Package, visit www.silveradoresort.com. For more information on the Safeway Open, visit www.safewayopen.com.
Club De Golf Alcanada Makes It Eight In A Row
Club de Golf Alcanada has secured its position as Europe’s favourite course after being voted the best on the continent by visitors to www.1golf.eu for a remarkable eighth year running.
As part of a recent survey by the popular German website, the participants were asked to name their three favourite courses in Europe, with the totals added accordingly.
With more than 1000 people surveyed, 84 per cent were from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, while the remaining 16 per cent were from 34 different countries.
Among the world-famous courses throughout the continent, the course which bears the name of the famous Alcanada lighthouse shone the brightest once again as the acclaimed Mallorcan layout, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, beat more than 28,500 rival European courses.
It’s the latest in a long list of awards carried off by Club de Golf Alcanada, since its opening 15 years ago. And those awards should continue to stack up into 2019 and beyond with a €600,000 revamp of all 18 greens and further upgrades planned as part of the works. The new greens will be in play early next year, which will improve the Alcanada experience to an even higher level.
Kristoff Both, director of Club de Golf Alcanada, said: “To win any award like this is a great privilege but to win the same award for eight years running is a remarkable achievement, especially when it is voted for by our valued guests.
“It shows the popularity and attraction of our course and we look forward to welcoming more visitors once again in 2019. With the new greens and further improvements, we are certain that the experience will be even better for them.”
Audubon Country Club Completes Golf Course Renovation
NAPLES, FL – Audubon Country Club recently completed the renovation of its 18-hole Joe Lee-designed golf course under direction of golf course architect, J. Drew Rogers, ASGCA and golf course superintendent, Kenyon Kyle, GCSAA.
During a six-month closure, Glase Golf Construction completely rebuilt and recontoured all 18 greens with Tif-Eagle Bermudagrass and installed new greens irrigation surrounds. Other improvements include an enlarged and enhanced shortgame practice area, a new brick paver golf cart staging area, and additional native landscaping, elevating the beauty of the natural surroundings. The green renovation project was a culmination of improvements to the golf course completed over the past three years during which time fairways and tees underwent a grass conversion from #419 Bermudagrass to Celebration Bermudagrass in two phases in 2015 and 2016. The refinements made to the greens this summer paired with past modifications to tee complexes and bunkers have improved playability of the course and reflect the Club’s mission to provide and maintain a first-class, memorable golf experience.
“Our members have found the new greens to be challenging and more fun to play,” said Rick Bintzler, Green Committee Chair at Audubon Country Club. “This was a well-planned, phase renovation that demonstrates the Club’s commitment to
continuously improve our facilities.”
Audubon Country Club is a wellestablished, private, low-density golf community with natural preserve area along all 18 holes. Whether seeking championship golf or other recreational and lifestyle opportunities, Audubon offers an array of amenities and an extensive social calendar for an active, healthy, and social lifestyle.
For more information on Audubon Country Club, please call 239-592-4000 or visit www.audubonccofnaples.com.
Pga Golf Club Nearing Sell-Out Of 2018-19 Premier Seasonal Memberships
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – PGA Golf Club announces a limited number of 2018-19 Premier Seasonal Membership products designed around championship golf, exclusive offers and myriad social events at the PGA of America’s premier 54-hole facility.
The Premier Golf Membership benefits include unlimited golf, Member exclusive dining with food and beverage discounts, private cart Member access discounts for all Member-owned registered carts, and accompanied, unaccompanied and immediate family guest rates. Non-refundable Initiation Fees start at $15,000 plus annual Dues, with no Member assessments and no minimum spend requirements. All Memberships include a spouse or significant other, and any children 25 years of age or younger living at home, in school or in the military.
Ideal for the seasonal golfer, the Premier Seasonal Membership features unlimited golf valid November – April, use of PGA practice facilities, 30-day advanced reservations, complimentary registration to the GHIN Handicap System, and Member discounts on food and beverage, merchandise and golf instruction. Members can also play as an accompanied guest six times per year at the applicable guest rate during the period when their Membership is not active.
The Premier Meridian Membership provides Member playing privileges after 12 p.m., and all the other Member benefits as above at a discounted Initiation Fee and annual Dues rate.
Designed for Members under the age of 50, the Premier Executive Golf Membership offers all the Member benefits of the other Memberships, and allows those under 50 years of age to pay half of the regular Initiation Fee and annual Dues.
Other Memberships offered at PGA Golf Club include the Premier Sports Membership and the Premier Social Membership.
“Our premier Memberships offer a unique opportunity to enjoy our awardwinning golf courses and amenities, all at one locale,” says PGA Golf Club Director of Golf Jeremy Wiernasz. “At PGA Golf Club, we are committed to providing current and prospective Members a dynamic experience that aligns with their passion for golf and life.”
For more information about PGA Golf Club Memberships, visit www.pgavillage. com/membership.
Kissing Tree Golf Club Opens In San Marcos, Texas
SAN MARCOS, TEXAS (October 1, 2018) – Kissing Tree Golf Club in San Marcos, Texas, opened for daily-fee play on Monday, October 1st. Managed by Troon Golf, Kissing Tree is the first new public, 18-hole golf course to be built in Texas in the past six years.
Designed by renowned golf course architect and Texas resident, Gary Stephenson, the course enhances the natural character of the land’s footprint in the Texas Hill Country, bringing the slopes and contours of the landscape into the fairways and greens. The 6,600-yard, par-72 golf course offers multiple sets of tees for golfers of all abilities to enjoy. To provide golfers with pristine and consistent year-round playing conditions, Tifway 419 Bermuda grass has been used on the tee boxes, fairways and rough, while greens are TifEagle Bermuda grass.
As good stewards of the environment, Kissing Tree Golf Club has already earned certification as a Signature Program facility with Audubon International. The Audubon Certification Program for Golf is an awardwinning, environmental and conservation assistance program created to help golf courses protect the environment, including wildlife and habitat management, and adhere to comprehensive sustainable resource management principles.
“Kissing Tree Golf Club puts true Hill Country golf right in local golfers’ backyard,” Dirk Gosda, president at Brookfield Residential Texas, said. “As our residents who have already been previewing and playing the course can attest, the views and topography provide a challenging, yet accessible and enjoyable, golf experience for everyone. The natural beauty of the property really shines through, and the greens are pristine. We can’t wait for the public to join our residents on the links.”
Following the natural movement of the land, golf holes at Kissing Tree offer wide playing corridors, with green complexes accepting shots from various angles. In addition to the 18-hole golf course, Kissing Tree Golf Club also features a short game practice facility, an extensive practice range and a practice putting green.
Kissing Tree is the first baby boomercentric community designed specifically for the spirit of Texas, with the lifestyle, homes and amenities geared toward the active adult lifestyle of those 55 and better. Homes range from approximately 1,400 to 3,400 square feet and prices range from approximately $285,000 to $500,000.
For more information on The Kissing Tree Golf Club, visit KissingTreeGolfClub.com or call 512-749-1250.
Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa
Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley, AZ