Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tiger Woods' First Golf Course Design Nearing Completion

The parcel of land on which Tiger Woods set up the par-71 layout has views of the
Pacific Ocean and is scheduled to open in the fall.
(Photo: Diamante)

Tiger Woods' First Golf Course Design Nearing Completion
by Ed Sherman

Tiger Woods has been spending quite a bit of time at this scenic slice of land at the tip of Mexico's Baja peninsula.

It has everything to do with golf. But it's about your golf, not his.

Woods steps into a new realm in 2014 as an architect with the unveiling of his first signature design golf course. If all goes as planned, El Cardonal, part of the high-end Diamante development, will open this fall.

Woods' debut as an architect has been a long time coming. Dating to 2006, his previous design projects in North Carolina, Dubai and at another location in Mexico were derailed because of the bad economy.
Currently, there's grass on nearly half of the par-71, 7,401-yard layout, exposing Woods' vision for the wide spectrum of players, good and not so good, who soon will play it. Woods had a considerable head start with a breathtaking piece of property. Cardonal isn't as close to the Pacific Ocean as the facility's first course, the Davis Love III-designed Diamante Dunes, which is No. 52 in Golf Magazine's world top 100. Rather, El Cardonal sits a bit higher, winding through dunes on the front nine. The first hole is a downhill par 5 framed by the blue water below. The back nine features arroyos (dry creeks or river beds), a tribute to the courses Woods played while growing up in California, according to Byron Bell, president of Woods' design company.

"When you have a piece of property like this, it's really not that hard," Woods said in a promotional video. "You don't find too many places like this in the world, ever."

Woods, though, isn't taking any chances. Describing himself as "very hands-on," he has visited Diamante six times. He he now has a home there and has plans for several trips as the course nears completion. His team includes design associates Beau Welling and Shane Robichaud.

Bell said Woods is "involved in everything we do." Ken Jowdy, Diamante's developer, has been impressed with Woods' dedication to the project.

"It's great to see a guy that passionate about the game," Jowdy said. "He's really committed to doing a good job on this course."

Jowdy said Woods' emphasis is on playability. While the course features multiple tees, Woods said his aim is for all players to have to make similar strategic decisions during the round.
"He's focusing more on the people he plays with on Wednesdays (the amateurs in the pro-ams) than on the weekend (the pros)," Jowdy said.

This isn't to say there won't be considerable challenges at El Cardonal. There is no shortage of bunkers, many of which are big and look testing. Woods also has other obstacles planned along the way, including a tough par-4, 520-yard 18th hole.

With the bunkers and varied size of the greens, Woods clearly is placing a premium on making golfers think their way around the course.

"Tiger grew up playing some of the great, old-style golf courses of the West Coast," Bell said. "They used bunkers and other hazards not as a deterrent, but instead to force players to make a decision. Tiger wants the variety of holes and strategic options to promote shot-making while still creating a very playable experience."

The course is part of a luxury development at Diamante that will include multimillion-dollar homes, condos and eventually a hotel. Besides golf, Diamante features a 10-acre swimming pool that looks like a miniature lake. courses at Diamante are private and can be accessed only by being a member or staying at the property. For Diamante, the hope is that Woods' name will boost attention to the development. Bell wouldn't discuss financial terms; no one would say if Woods' design fee includes an ownership stake in Diamante.

Cabo boasts a strong golf portfolio. The Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is ranked 99th by Golf Magazine. Nicklaus has another course, Quivira, that will feature stunning cliffside holes. Set near Diamante, it is expected to open this spring.

Nicklaus, though, is a veteran in the field. Much of the attention at Cabo will focus on El Cardonal. It will be the first chance to evaluate Woods as a designer.
Naturally after all these years, Woods' excitement is building.

"We're trying to deliver a great course," Woods said.

1 comment:

  1. Its a great news for golf lovers. I am a big fan of Tiger Woods and its really an eccentric news for me and I am crazy to see this golf course once. Currently I am learning Golf at Highlnads NC Golf Community and enjoying my summer vacation in this fantastic Golf club. Thanks for sharing this news with us.


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