Jack Nicklaus has signed on to build his first Signature course in Saudi Arabia, located about 40 minutes from the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
Nicklaus and his eponymous design company are creating the course, which will be framed by the Tuwaiq Mountain range, for a private club within a residential community in the Qiddiya development. Nicklaus said he has been involved in the planning and expects to break ground this year.
Nicklaus Design has built more than 425 courses in more than 45 countries, but this will be the first foray into the Middle East for the 18-time major champion.
“I am excited by this project and my first golf course design in the Middle East,” Nicklaus said in a media release announcing the project. “To be selected as one of the first international designers to work in the Kingdom is a great honor.
“I’ve already spent time looking at the topography of the land, images of the backdrop and terrain, and discussing with our design team a strategy for the course. The design will fully integrate the natural environment and the beautiful Qiddiya landscape, bringing together green spaces and mountainous terrain to form a picturesque canvas for both a beautiful and challenging golf course.”
The media release said construction on the Qiddiya development began in 2019 and will feature a high-end resort hotel and spa plus homes. Qiddiya – called Saudi Arabia’s capital of entertainment, sports and the arts in the media release – hopes to attract international golf championships to the new course.
“By being involved in this project, we hope to promote the development and enjoyment of the game in the Kingdom,” Nicklaus said in the release. “We not only want to entice Saudi residents to take up the great game of golf, but we also hope this presents employment opportunities for citizens of the Kingdom that are within or related to the golf industry. This mirrors the vision of Qiddiya.”
Qiddiya also plans to build a second course at the development and is seeking designers for that layout.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman announced the plans for the project in 2017, and Qiddiya Investment company was born. The media release states the company has a “dual economic and social purpose: to advance economic diversification and unlock new professional pathways while enriching lives of the youth in the Kingdom.”
“The underlying philosophy behind this entire development is to introduce a new, active lifestyle to the people of Saudi Arabia,” Qiddiya Investment Company CEO Philippe Gas said in the media statement. “This project has been carefully planned to ensure an unmatched resort experience for both golfers and regular guests. We expect the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and residential offering to provide the most entertaining challenge for golfers and the most appealing homesteads for residents seeking an extraordinary lifestyle.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/02/02/jack-nicklaus-golf-course-saudi-arabia-qiddiya/