Barack Obama Club de Golf Cuba Nationale
Forgive the heinous attempt at spanish in the headline, but President Barack Obama could be finally giving golf a little stimulus boost - even if it is outside our borders.
Some have scorned his omission of any significant golf projects in the government’s stimulus packages the last two years, but it sounds like there are as many as ten golf course projects up for grabs in Cuba - all betting that tourist bans to the communist state will finally be lifted by the current administration. Click here for the Cuba golf travel article from Business Week.
Right now, the majority of the countries in the world are allowed to visit Cuba, but it’s largest potential market is the United States, and that would create a massive tourism surge to the impoverished country if Obama opened the borders. Said Gordon Dalgleish at Perry Golf: “Cuba has been the forbidden country in much the same way that China and Russia were for years,” said Dalgleish, whose firm manages golf and lifestyle tours for U.S. travelers to the British Isles and eight other countries. “If the ban is lifted, I think it may be ‘Katie, bar the door.’”
For golf course architects, it’ll be a mad rush to score these coveted projects. 49 U.S. courses opened in 2009 according to the National Golf Foundation, and 2010’s number won’t be that high.
Leading firms for Cuba’s new potential resort courses? I’d guess Jack Nicklaus for the name recognition and global presence and even possibly Greg Norman for similar reasons. I’d also bank on a few Robert Trent Jones Jr. courses thanks to his heavy dose of Caribbean and Mexican experience. I’m also curious if international designers could possibly get a leg up on the action because it’s easier to deal with Cuba if you’re not an American-based company. In that case, I’d think names like Cabell B. Robinson (based in Spain), Donald Steele (UK) or Les Furber (Canada) would be able to get the ball rolling ahead of the rest with fewer legal hoops to go through.
A Tiger Woods design in Cuba? I doubt it for various reasons, but I don’t think Cuba projects will be spending top dollar on these courses. I’d guess they’d be more in the upper-middle range over super elite. Maybe given the communist connection they’d go after some prolific golf designers thriving in China like Ron Garl or Schmidt-Curley.
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