Gary Player has once again shown his global reach by opening five new golf courses in 2010 in a wide variety of locations around the world. Four of these Grand Openings of Gary Player Signature courses took place during a span of six weeks, which brought back globetrotting memories from the hectic international schedule of his prime playing days.
Early in the year, Gary opened the stunning Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi with the inaugural Saadiyat Beach Classic to raise funds for The Player Foundation and other local charities. Stars the likes of Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Rugby’s Gavin Hastings, and Cricketer Allan Lamb were on hand to enjoy the UAE’s first oceanfront golf course and to support the worthy causes. The course has since received numerous accolades, including “Best Golf Course” at the 2010 Arabian Property Awards.
The fall schedule arrived with an amazing flurry. Starting in early October, Gary traveled to Sicily, in Italy, to open Donnafugata Golf Resort, set amongst century’s old olive trees and an historic wine making operation. The beautiful Gary Player course complements a new NH Hotel property that also offers a world class spa.
Next stop: China. Hidden Tiger Golf Club sits on Tai Ping Lake in the popular Yellow Mountain region of Anhui Province. Developer David Wang hosted dozens of important guests, who were wowed not only by Gary Player’s personal attention, but also by the spectacular holes that sit right on the water with nearby mountain views. Hidden Tiger is sure to be one of the best new courses in the busy development scene throughout China.
After a brief break to watch Zenyatta’s heartbreaking loss at the Breeders Cup in Kentucky, it was on to Mexico in early November. Set in the desert landscape on the Sea of Cortez, CostaBaja Resort and Marina, is a Gary Player Signature design that has views of the crystal waters from fourteen holes. Gary had the pleasure of playing the inaugural round with Mexican hero Lorena Ochoa, who showed that she’s not far from competitive form.
The enchiladas were still being served when Gary boarded a flight to Morocco to celebrate the opening of Mazagan Golf Resort. Developed with his old friend Sol Kerzner, Mazagan has everything….several holes on the Atlantic Ocean, the links style that Gary loves, and immaculate, rich green Paspallum turf wall to wall. As with all projects undertaken by Gary Player Design, Mazagan was designed with special attention to the surrounding environment and eco-system.
Said Gary Player Design President Scott Ferrell, who accompanied the Black Knight to the golf course openings, “I can tell you first hand that Mr. Player is extremely hard to keep up with. To watch him go through so many time zones during a short period of time was simply amazing, particularly given that he just celebrated his 75th birthday. An endless supply of energy and enthusiasm”.
There will be no slowing down in the coming years, as Gary Player Design has over 50 new projects under contract around the world.