Johor, Malaysia: Jack Nicklaus has described his course at Forest City Golf Resort as unique.
During a site visit to the much-anticipated venue, the 18-time Major champion toured all 18 holes of the course that he is sculpting with his son, Jack II, and which is scheduled to be unveiled this year.
The course which is being constructed on reclaimed land, is part of the second phase of the sprawling RM1.8 billion Forest City project.
“The golf course is fully man-made as there was nothing there before,” said Nicklaus, who was accompanied by his son and other key members of his Nicklaus Design team.
He added: “We had to work the ninth and 18th greens around a hill, and the golf course has beautiful river views. From a playability standpoint, the golf course we have designed is unique as golfers cannot find anything like it in Singapore or Malaysia.”
Mohd Jamal Salleh, President of the Johor Golf Tourism Association, predicted the Forest City Golf Resort will help to restore the reputation of the southernmost Malaysian state as an attractive golfing destination.
Jamal said: “Golf courses were mushrooming throughout the state in the early 1990s but a price war among the competitors, failure to add value to the golf packages and a lackadaisical attitude in upkeeping maintenance have affected the booming golf industry in Johor.
“The Forest City Golf Resort, offering a tri-course, with the first 18 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son, is expected to further be a part of the bigger players in Johor to revive and add more value to the state as a golf paradise once again.”
Among the dignitaries who attended the event that was dubbed ‘A Date with Jack Nicklaus, the Golfing Legend’ was the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.
Datuk Md Othman Yusof, Executive Director of Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV), the developers, said the Nicklaus-designed Forest City Legacy Golf Course will be accessible and affordable.
“Being only a stone’s throw away from the Woodlands checkpoint, this golf resort will attract international golfers, residents and visitors,” Md Othman said, adding that the golf resort will also prove a boon to locals with the Forest City Golf Hotel offering 460 job opportunities – 250 vacancies in the hotel and 210 for the golf course.
He added: “It is good news to golf enthusiasts from home and neighbouring countries, providing them with a notable experience, as the golf course showcased the masterpiece of someone who has designed more than 300 golf courses all over the world.
“Having our first golf course designed by a legend already sets the benchmark for our landscape design at CGPV. When fully completed, the golf resort is expected to have a total population of about 1,300 residents while the five-star hotel will cater to visitors from across the globe.”
Respected golf industry veteran Arthur Yeo has been appointed General Manager of the Golf Resort.
Yeo said: “This is an extraordinary undertaking that is taking shape at a rapid pace. We were delighted to welcome Jack Nicklaus and his son to the site and it was gratifying to hear them speak so positively about the course.
“As he toured the course, Mr Nicklaus made a few interesting tweaks to the layout that I’m sure will further enhance it.”