Archive | May, 2010

The Real Deal

Yas Links is like nothing you have ever seen in the UAE.  It’s a nod to tradition in a wonderful setting.

When it comes to Abu Dhabi’s grand masterplan, Yas Links Golf Club is something of an anomaly. You only have to look at the neighbouring structures of Ferrari World, the Yas Marina Circuit and the chameleonic Yas Hotel to appreciate the emirate’s taste for the futuristic. And yet Yas Links is a tribute to an era where golfers played in plus fours, smoked pipes and answered to names like Old Tom Morris: An era about as far removed from modern Abu Dhabi as you can get. The most amazing thing about the course is, simply, that it works. In this hot, desert climate, the concept of emulating a seaside Scottish links appears absurd at first, but Yas Links is remarkably authentic, from the wispy fescue grass to the crumpled dunes and the hickory flagsticks. Yas has forgone the extravagance so pronounced in other new golf courses here with a minimalist approach that is both welcome and refreshing.

Credit must go to the developers, Aldar, for having the willingness to attempt such an audacious project, but American designer Kyle Phillips is the star, bringing his vision of a modern links course to life in dramatic fashion on the gently curved shoreline of Yas Island.

“What makes the course so intriguing is how traditional it is, because  nothing like that has ever been attempted before in the UAE,” says Phillips (who is the designer behind acclaimed modern Scottish classics Kingsbarns and Dundonald).
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Three courses to be built at resort in South Korea

This year a trio of U.S. architects will make a little personal history at a resort in the capital of Gangwon Province in northern South Korea.

Each of the architects — Arthur Hills, Kyle Phillips and Tom Weiskopf — will be working in South Korea for the first time. Their courses are to serve as drawing cards for the Sanyosoo resort outside Chuncheon, a city of about 265,000 that’s roughly 50 miles northeast of Seoul.

Besides the golf courses, Sanyosoo will feature some houses, a large hotel and a shopping area. The developer is AM Engineering, a Seoul-based golf construction company led by Moon-Hwan “Dawson” Ahn. AM has built dozens of courses since it was founded in the mid 1990s, including Club at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island and Sky 72 Golf Club in Incheon.

Sanyosoo is AM’s first development venture. The company broke ground on the resort’s 7,400-yard Yosoo course earlier this year and expects to open it in 2011. The course was designed in house, but Steve Forrest, a principal of Hills’ Toledo, Ohio-based firm, is acting as the design consultant.

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