'Floating' Golf Course in the Works

Reports are surfacing - no pun intended - of a floating 18-hole golf course for the Maldive islands in the Indian Ocean.

The holes would be built atop floating platforms containing two or three holes each that will be connected by a series of underwater tunnels. Each of these areas would also have adjoining hotels, according to an article in WiredUK.com (http://www.wired.com/playbook/2011/04/maldives-floating-golf-course/).

Some heavy hitters are supporting the $500 million project, which if all goes well would be completed in 2015. The backers include Troon Golf, which would lend its expertise in design, construction and management of golf facilities; Waterstudio, a Dutch architectural firm with experience in construction projects on rivers and canals; and Dutch Docklands, a leader in floating developments in the Netherlands.

The backers say the golf development would have a zero footprint on the environment as it would be powered by solar energy, an ample resource in the Maldives, a group of 1,190 coral islands just north of the equator. The development would also utilize sustainable desalination for irrigation water and water-cooling technologies.

The highest point in the Maldives is a mere 7.5 feet above sea level. Because of climate change and the potential for a rise in sea level, the Republic of Maldives' president Mahamed Nasheed is pursuing an initiative to purchase new land in other countries to house inundated refugees from his nation.

To help fund land acquisition, the Maldives government is looking to increase tourism revenues, the single largest contributor to the country's economy. The planned floating golf course would be located five minutes from Malé International Airport to give resort guests easy access.