Architect Rick Jacobson Back In China

Architect Rick Jacobson has signed on to design his third golf course on the Chinese mainland north of Hong Kong. The Si Hui Golf Club will be a 27-hole destination course located in the Guangdong province near the city of Guangzhou (pop. 11 million), better known to the western world as Canton.

Based in Libertyville, Ill., Jacobson will design a new 18-hole course and completely renovate an existing nine-hole layout. The 27-hole facility will be the focal point of a new residential development that will include hotels, retail and commercial development.

"We are very excited to have an opportunity to create a truly enjoyable golf experience - one that is challenging but not punishing," Jacobson said. "We're always looking for a perfect balance so that golfers can walk away saying they had fun and would love to come back and play again."

Jacobson currently is creating construction documents for the project; earthwork is scheduled to begin soon with work to be completed in 2009.

Each of the three nine-hole tracks will measure about 3,500 yards from the tips, meaning the course will be able to host top professional and amateur events. Multiple teeing areas will give players of all skill levels the ability to enjoy the course. The forward tees on each nine measure approximately 2,500 yards, Jacobson said.

Jacobson said he plans to incorporate large landforms to create dramatic definition for each golf hole. The course will have the Scottish feel of an inland links, featuring Donald Ross-style sod-faced, flat-bottomed bunkers. A number of water features will be integrated into the design to accentuate the aesthetics.

With elevation changes of more than 100 feet, Jacobson will utilize elevated tees to create dramatic vistas and give players the opportunity to get a full view of the hole before playing it. The course is surrounded by mountains, which can be viewed from many perspectives.

The course also will include a large practice facility. A two-sided driving range will be augmented by short-game practice areas and putting greens on both ends of the range, Jacobson said.

The region is warm enough to allow for a 12-month golf season. To nurture long-term sustainability, Jacobson will utilize Paspalum turf, a heat-resistant strain that requires limited water and fertilization.

Jacobson currently has two other courses under construction in China:

The 36-hole Lion's Lake Resort course in a golf course resort community setting near Guangzhou;

Chaozhou is an 18-hole resort course located about an hour from Guangzhou by air. Guangdong province is the home of Mission Hills, the world's largest golf resort, about a half-hour by air from Hong Kong.

Jacobson is known for such original 18-hole designs as Augustine GC in Stafford, Va., Bull Run CC in Haymarket, Va., Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View, Del., and The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis. Bayside Resort and Golf Club in Fenwick Island, Del., was named among the top new courses for 2006 by Golf Digest and Golfweek. The course was collaboration between Jacobson and Jack Nicklaus, his former employer and mentor.

Jacobson also is widely known for his renovations of classic courses, including Pete Dye's Des Moines CC, site of the 1999 U.S. Senior Open; Oak Park CC and Bob O'Link GC, both Chicago-area Donald Ross designs; North Shore CC in Glenview, Ill., an H.S. Colt/C.H. Alison layout; Glen Oak CC in Glen Ellyn, Ill., a Tom Bendelow course; and Sunset Ridge CC in Northfield, Ill.