The course architects at Golfplan have announced grand opening dates for a pair of Black Sea projects. Consisting of the he first municipal course ever undertaken in Turkey, and a hilltop 9-holer now taking shape high above the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
— Few new golf destinations stack up with the Black Sea in terms of pure eye candy. It has proved a stunning golf setting.While Tbilisi is up and coming as a tourist destination, Samsun is just starting this push and Samsun Golf Club is already a significant asset, said Golfplan partner Kevin Ramsey, who is directing both projects.
California-based Golfplan actually finished the first nine at Samsun in 2016. The back nine is newly completed and will emerge in fully finished form come the spring of 2018.
Georgian project 500 miles east
Just 500 miles to the east, in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, the 9-hole Tabori Hill project has entered the final shaping phase. With grassing set for the spring, it is scheduled to open late in 2018.
The most important aspect of these projects, according to Ramsey, is the fact they’re both open to the public.
— If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the dozens of emerging golf nations where we’ve worked over the course of decades, it’s this: It’s not enough to merely design and build golf courses. We’re obliged to build native golfing populations, as well, and that requires public golf, Ramsey said.
More developments in Turkey
Turkey is home to nearly 20 golf courses today, most of them resort tracks clustered on the southwestern, Mediterranean coast. In this area, Golfplan has another project underway there, in Bodrum.
In Samsun, at Samsun GC (8th hole pictured above, with a mosque and its minaret framing the green) on the north-central coast, Ramsey embraced the municipal model on 135 acres of land reclaimed from the adjacent Black Sea.
The first nine proved so successful, the city of Sansum commissioned Golfplan for another, creating a 6,800-yard 18-hole links-style course that will formally debut in summer of 2018. Total price tag is US$8 million, with new dunes, native fescues and bentgrass greens. Then add the variable winds.
— We even have a short, semi-blind, bunkerless par-3 hole based on The Dell, at Lahinch, Ramsey said.
Down the road, and 700 meters (2,100 feet) higher, Ramsey followed a more traditional design and development model at Tabori Hill. The course, measuring some 3,400 yards, ranges over some truly dramatic terrain atop a ridge that overlooks the capital. The master plan for Tabori Hills includes a 200-room hotel, driving range and golf academy.
— Here again, it’s about creating a facility that will help teach the people of Georgia how to play the game, in addition to being a resource for tourism.
Formed in 1972, Golfplan has created more than 217 original designs in 32 different countries. If renovations and master planning are considered, 85 countries are represented on the company CV.