Hua Hin, Thailand: Schmidt-Curley Design has retained its title as Asia-Pacific’s Best Golf Course Architect in 2016.
It’s the sixth year in succession that Schmidt-Curley Design – a long-time member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation – has captured the top prize in the Asian Golf Awards’ Best Architect category and the 10th straight year that the company has claimed a top-three finish.
Co-founded by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley in 1997, Schmidt-Curley is recognised as one of the world’s most innovative golf course design firms and has sculpted more than 150 layouts in 25 countries with 80 courses across the Asia-Pacific region.
“We greatly appreciate the honor and recognition,” said Curley, who featured in the top-20 in Golf Inc.’s 2015 listing of the Most Powerful People in Golf in Asia.
For nearly two decades, Schmidt-Curley Design has been intimately involved with the Asian golf industry.
The firm’s extensive work at China’s Mission Hills also received praise during the Awards ceremony in Hua Hin.
Ten-course Mission Hills Haikou – entirely master-planned and designed by Schmidt-Curley – maintained its position as the Best Golf Resort in Asia-Pacific.
Its Blackstone Course, host of the 2011 World Cup of Golf and three World Celebrity Pro-Ams, retained its Best Course in China title and was also named second runner-up in the Best Championship Course in Asia-Pacific segment.
Curley believes it has become ‘one of the premier tournament courses in the world’ and that many more events will be staged there.
Curley said: “The Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou has established itself as one of the ‘must play’ venues in Asia. Its striking contrast of golf within a black lava field terrain is equally scenic and demanding and with risk/reward opportunity at the final holes, this course should prove to be one of the premier tournament courses in the world.”
No fewer than four high-profile Schmidt-Curley Design courses have hosted a major professional event in 2016.
The sequence began in the last week of February when American Lexi Thompson scored a runaway victory in the LPGA Tour’s Honda LPGA Thailand. That event was held over the Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course.
Three weeks later, the LPGA Tour returned Stateside with the Faldo Course at the Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa playing host to the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. Korean Kim Sei-young triumphed with New Zealander Lydia Ko runner-up.
Back in Asia in late March, the Olazabal Course at China’s Mission Hills Dongguan was the scene of Korean Lee Jung-min’s triumph in the World Ladies Championship.
Meanwhile, the fourth edition of the star-studded World Celebrity Pro-Am was held over the Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou last month, bringing together major celebrities of the entertainment, sports and business worlds.
Curley said: “We are honoured that so many of our courses continue to be selected as venues for top-level professional tournaments and last month’s World Celebrity Pro-Am. We are proud also of our record of consistent design achievement, master-planning expertise and client satisfaction.
“We look forward to next year when we will unveil new courses on spectacular sites from current projects in Vietnam and Myanmar.”
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