Tag Archives: Kyle Phillips

“Golf Boom” in Sicily

That’s what Kyle Phillips called it — “a golf boom.” For someone in the golf and travel industry I like the paring of those two words but I’m naturally skeptical.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Phillips, who designed Kingsbarns in Scotland. Phillips was in New York to promote his latest 36 holes in Sicily at the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort (pictured above). That makes four new courses in Sicily, which gives the island off the coast of Italy a total of six courses to choose from. Yes, I’d say that qualifies as a boom.

The Verdura resort is owned by Sir Rocco Forte of the Rocco Forte Collection (13 high-end hotels or resorts all over the world). Forte told me he’s an avid golfer who loved the look of Kingsbarns, which is why he hired Phillips for his first dip into the pool of golf.
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Cal Club Moves Up in Top 100

For anyone who thinks that great golf course architecture is found only at old, stuffy private clubs, the 2010 Golfweek’s Best lists should be an eye-opener… Link to rest of article.

Golf Week’s Best Classic Courses Before 1960
54. California Golf Club 7.25
(60, p) South San Francisco, Calif.
1926, Vernon Macan; Alister MacKenzie (1928); Kyle Philips (2007)

Golf Week
March 2010
Brad Klein

Phillips’s Verdura Resort in Sicily Will Appeal to Ardent Golfers, Moneyed Aristocrats, Beach-loving Girlfriends

I knew I was in trouble when Britt saw the glossy photos of sun-drenched beaches, fragrant orchards, and Sicilian villas.

“Sicily?” she asked, suddenly interested in the pictures on my writing desk. It was the new 45-hole Kyle Phillips-designed Verdura Golf and Spa Resort. She opened the brochure to a two page spread of cliff-side green sites and an ultra-modern Sir Rocco Forte-owned luxury hotel overlooking a promontory on the Mediterranean. “This looks fantastic. But how are you reviewing a golf course you’ve never played in a country you’ve never visited?”

That’s a good question. I’m not actually reviewing the golf course. I can’t, I haven’t played it. But I can report that Kyle Phillips – still rightfully in highest demand after his brilliant work at Kingsbarns – was recruited by Sir Rocco to build a Kingsbarns for him, this time in a much more hospitable climate, and that – should you find yourself in Sicily – you will be able to get to play great seaside golf at quite a fair price a la carte and, apparently, there’s a hell of a hotel there if you have cash to bleed.

More importantly, while chatting with Phillips about Verdura, I got him to open up about his ideas about golf design, golf travel, and the future of the golf industry in general. By creating a natural looking landscape and incorporating the crucial ground game elements of links golf, Phillips accomplished the impossible at Kingsbarns: he built an indisputable modern masterpiece in the shadow of hallowed St. Andrews. Now he’s continuing to build a solid portfolio of high-end, but rock-solid strategic designs across the globe using the same principles. We can only hope we get to see him bring the same old-school golf design concepts to affordable public designs here in America soon and often.
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What Sir Rocco Forte says about his project…

“From the outset I wanted to create a truly luxurious resort which offered exceptional golf, spa and dining experiences amid panoramic views and spectacular design. The rugged south west coast of Sicily provided the ideal setting for the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort.

“The decision to move into resorts was a natural progression for us and a key element in the growth strategy of the business. We will be looking to attract the same leisure and corporate customers that currently stay in our other properties as well as expanding into the family market.

“For golfers Verdura offers a first-rate experience with 45 holes of the highest design set into the Sicilian countryside with superb views of the Mediterranean. As a resort it presents every possibility with a spectacular 4,000 square metre Spa, specialising in luxurious Thalassotherapy and Aromatherapy treatments.
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The Sicilian Job…

A partnership between Sir Rocco Forte and leading golf course architect Kyle Phillips has created a stunning new destination in Sicily called Verdura Golf and Spa.

Sicily’s southwest coast now promises much for the traveling golfer who samples the new Verdura Golf & Spa Resort. The resort’s excellent three courses, designed by world-renowned architect Kyle Phillips, will open for its first full year in March 2010, and it is expected that Verdura will quickly become a ‘must-play’ destination for golf aficionados.

According to Sir Rocco Forte, chairman and CEO of the luxury hotel company The Rocco Forte Collection, no other golf resort on the continent can compare to Verdura. “There wasn’t anywhere in Europe that offered the kind of golfing holiday I was after,” claims Sir Rocco, who spent eight years nurturing Verdura as the company’s first resort venture.
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The King of Links

Acclaimed designer Kyle Phillips speaks to Joy Chakravarty as he gets ready to add another jewel to his portfolio with Yas Links

Kyle Phillips, the man behind the soon-to-be-launched Yas Links, is as unique as his creation.

Like the last thing you expect to find in the desert landscape of the UAE is a piece of Scotland – and that’s exactly what the stunning links course at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island looks like – it is equally difficult to link Phillips, an American, as the designer of some of the most acclaimed modern links courses, a domain monopolised by the Scots and the Irish.

But that’s the truth. Kyle Phillips has cemented his place in the history books of the game as the designer of Kingsbarns and Dundonald – two of the finest modern links courses of recent times. That list may soon have a new addition when Yas Links is unveiled. Situated on the west shores of Yas Island, the par-72 golf course will play to 7450 yards with all 18 holes having coastal views. Virtually starting from nothing, Phillips has created a true-blue links course.
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Yas Links is ‘Different’ Class

Mike Galemore walks the course and talks to designer Kyle Phillips who has created something completely different in the Middle East – a traditional-style authentic links course that brings a new experience to the region.

SEEING is believing, they say – and Yas Links is a golf course that has to be seen to be believed. Walking the course last month with designer Kyle Phillips was akin to being transported to the seaside links of St Andrews, Royal Birkdale, or Ballybunion.

I’ve played many of the treasured links of Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales over the past half century and invested in more balls than most in the process but if I could have disregarded the warm sun on my back and the calm aqua-marine ocean I could have been back home battling the elements.

It’s remarkable how Kyle Phillips has created a genuine, traditional links course out of nothing. Where there was once flat desert wasteland there are now rolling wide fairways, deep bunkering, wispy rough and inviting, sloping greens with their traditional heartbreaking run-offs. It’s pure coastal-style links on a par with Kyle’s other links masterpieces, Kingsbarns near St Andrews and Dundonald near Troon in Scotland.
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Aldar: Yas Links

“Yas Links is on schedule to become a unique and memorable golfing destination in the Middle East.”

-Chris White, General Manager of the Aldar Golf Division talks us through this magnificent, traditional golf development on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Kyle Phillips continues to build his name and reputation on delivering ‘the purest’ form of golf. All over the world there are naturally beautiful golf courses where the architect has been able to meander golf holes through natural vegetation or landforms.

The challenge of some sites is to create a natural looking golf course from what might have been a relatively flat piece of land – Kyle Phillips has done that in the most dramatic way on Yas Island.

The design and building of the golf course not only involved the creation of landforms but also in gaining the maximum aesthetic and playing challenge from the coastline. The long, linear site has no fewer than eight holes that play parallel to the sea front whilst all 18 holes offer the most spectacular views of the beautiful Arabian Gulf.
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Kyle Phillips brings a taste of Scotland to Yas Island

“What makes yas links so intriguing,” designer Kyle Phillips tells Golf Digest, “is how traditional it is. Because if you think about it, in golf terms there’s currently nothing in the UAE that’s even remotely traditional.”

For a country that revels in glitz and extravagance, the idea of recreating an ancient throwback of a golf course and placing it directly opposite the gargantuan structures of the extra-terrestrial styled Ferrari World and the Yas Marina Circuit, seems peculiar. On one side of the road is more technological know-how than you’d find at the headquarters of NASA, and on the other is a golf course that’s decidedly minimalist, from the sparing use of cart paths to the windswept features that are so joyously informal and unkempt.

And the best possible tribute we could pay designer Kyle Phillips as we stood on the tee of the par 3 8th hole, is that were it not for the backdrop of Ferrari World, looming like an enormous red UFO, not to mention the 25 degree warmth of the sun, we might easily have been in Scotland.
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Capturing the Mystery of the Links

Worldwide Golf talks to KYLE PHILLIPS on how he went about transforming the ‘captivating’ site of Yas Links into an “authentic links style course – and the first true links course in the UAE. It was clearly one of those sites that required turning up the volume and creating bold links-like landforms.”

Q. The setting for the course is spectacular. What were your thoughts when you first visited the site?

A. As you can imagine, I look at a lot of sites, but there was something about this site that captivated me, particularly the prospect of transforming the site into an authentic links style course and the first true links course in the UAE. At that time the site was a 3,200 metre long strip of fiat, sandy, undelined shoreline along the southwestern edge ofYas Island. It was clearly one of those sites that required turning up the volume and creating bold links-like landforms.
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