It is a good time to be an international golf star, at least for now. Chinese tycoons have been engaging in purse wars, luring big golf stars with millions in prize money and appearance fees to their resorts and tournaments in Asia. I knew I should have taken up golf sooner.
I’ve read a couple of stories this morning regarding these silly season tournaments in Asia and the insanely high purses and appearance fees. Rory McIlroy just won the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters recently and collected the largest single tournament prize in golf history, $2 million. The relatively new and unknown tournament also paid out an estimated $20 million in appearance fees to the field, which was only 30 players. You do the math.
In November pro golfers pocketed around $20 million in Asian prize money, not to mention the countless millions in appearance fees.
Chinese tycoon Tenniel Chu is one of those tycoons who has been shelling out big bucks. He must be feeling a little sore. That’s either because he’s been shelling out the bucks to the players and not seeing a real benefit, or because he was trumped by a competing family, the Shis, who put on the Shanghai Masters. Chu is asking for a cap on the prize money.
“China has deep pockets but the last thing we want to do is to raise financial expectations to levels which are non-proportional to tradition and established events.”
China seems to be today’s version of what Dubai was a few years ago, luring big stars like Tiger Woods to play there for millions in appearance fees and huge purses. Wonder if they see the writing on the wall? Will their projects, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, “turn to dust” like the billion dollar Tiger Woods development in Dubai?
Having played the original links course earlier this year, The Old Course at St. Andrews, along with about 7 other links courses in the town of St. Andrews, I feel like I know my links golf now. So I feel it is a good time to post my review of the nine hole Links Course at Sand Hollow Resort, about 300 miles south of HOG World Headquarters in the town of Hurricane. Hurricane is a few minutes drive from the golf mecca of St. George in southwestern Utah. Nearby attractions other than golf include Zion National Park and the beautiful Snow Canyon State Park.
The nine hole Links Course at Sand Hollow compliments the unbelievably amazing and #1 rated public course in the state of Utah, Sand Hollow Resort’s 18 hole Championship Course, which I reviewed back on March 8, 2010. Even mentioning the Championship Course makes me ache to get back there. I must go back… now.
Double Green – Sand Hollow Links – Click to zoom
Links Course Design/Concept
The Links Course at Sand Hollow is inspired by true links golf from Scotland, Ireland etc. Though it doesn’t “link” the land with the sea like a true links does, the course attempts to capture the essence of links golf by blending in with the natural dunes and rock formations. Not a lot of earth moving here.
Dorado Beach East Course Hole #4* – click to enlarge
Dorado Beach East Course Overview
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of playing on the first official day play resumed at the recently “restored” Dorado Beach East Course at Dorado Beach Golf Club in Puerto Rico, designed as a nine hole course originally in 1958 by one of golf’s most famous architects, Robert Trent Jones Sr. The course was brought up to 18 holes in 1966. Many of the palm tree lined holes on this track are bordering or looking out over the beautiful blue water of the Caribbean. The weather is always warm and the course always plush because of the massive amount of precipitation the area receives year round. The East Course is one of four courses at the resort and one of two RTJ Sr. designs, the West being the other.
Over the years shot values, sight lines and aesthetics changed on the East Course. Natural changes in vegetation, advancements in golf equipment technology, and subsequent redesigns by other architects were the cause of those aesthetic and playability issues. It took some serious golf balls for Dorado Beach to recognize that the course needed work to return it to its original great form and to stay competitive and comparable to other resort courses. It took even more golf balls to shut it down for a year and a half and get the job done. Naturally, the best choice for restoring the East Course would be someone who knew Robert Trent Jones Sr. designs and concepts first hand, someone named Robert Trent Jones II (Jr.).
I love to keep in tune with happenings in the Home of Golf, St. Andrews. Today the Old Course began reconstruction of the famous Shell Bunker face. Shell Bunker is a giant bunker which guards the 7th green.
Rebuilding the face of Shell Bunker at The Old Course in St. Andrews - click to zoom
What the officials at the Old Course forgot to mention is why they’re rebuilding. While my pals and I were in St. Andrews in July, my buddy Shanego spent so much time in Shell Bunker that he apparently wore out the face!
I’ve finished uploading my photos from the Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed, and Robert Trent Jones Jr. restored Dorado Beach Resort’s East Course. There are about 70 images of the course, many with my new killer Nikon mega-wide lens.
Beautiful morning lighting at Dorado Beach’s East Course- click to magnify