April 21, 2021
European Golf Design Enters New Territory
Golf Course Design, Golf Travel, Golf Asia
On the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea sits the city of Aktau (which, in the local language, means ‘white mountain’ in reference to the cliffs overlooking the sea) a city of 190,000 people. With the increase in regional and some international tourism in recent years in Kazakhstan, developments catering to that market have started to spring up, the latest of which is the Aktau Resort, a master-planned community featuring primary and secondary real estate, multiple hotels, attractions, retail and commercial space, and in the current phase of expansion, a nine hole golf course and academy to be designed by European Golf Design, the design company of The European Tour.
On what is predominantly a sandy coastal site, European Golf Design’s Gary Johnston is working with long-time collaborators Golf Tek, led by Naki Evrandir, and Sembol Construction, both from Turkey. Design work started late in 2020 and construction works have already started on site, with a view to the golf course being fully grassed by the end of September this year, and opening summer 2022.
Although the ninth largest country on earth, covering over 2.7million square kilometres (about the size of Western Europe), golf is a relatively new sport in Kazakhstan with only three courses all located around Almaty. Therefore practice facilities are increasingly important and, with a limited amount of space available, Johnston has designed the course such that there are two loops of three and six holes from, and returning to, the clubhouse. The three hole loop can be taken out of play at required times of the day, or week, and used as the academy area to provide dedicated short game, putting and long game zones or a three hole Academy Course, while play continues on the six hole loop. The intention is to encourage local schools and clubs to take advantage of the facility in the hope that more locals will be enthused to take up the game, as well as providing outstanding golf facilities for residents, guests and tourists alike.
“This has been a whirlwind of a project since our first conversations with the project team last autumn,” said Gary Johnston “and now that construction has started, we are looking forward to getting onto site to work with Naki and his team, alongside our clients at Rixos Hotels & Sembol Construction, to create a course that helps achieve the developers’ business objectives but, as importantly, provides locals and tourists the opportunity of exposure, some for the very first time in their lives, to golf. We’re working hard to make this project as inclusive as possible to ensure long term growth and viability.”
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