Golf News for Monday, September 30, 2013 | Business

Nicklaus-China announces forming partnership with Hainan Air

NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Nicklaus China, an entity of the Nicklaus Companies formed in 2012 to focus on the strategic and responsible growth of golf in China, has signed a formal partnership with aviation leader Hainan Air (HNA), allowing both companies to expand their reach and influence on the sport. Nicklaus China will use the experience and expertise of iconic sportsman and golf course designer Jack Nicklaus, along with his teams at Nicklaus Design and the Nicklaus Companies, to offer turnkey development services and support to the 13 golf courses currently owned by HNA. The airline company owns 11 courses in China and two in the U.S., including Pasadera Country Club in Monterey, Calif., which has been rebranded as Nicklaus Club-Monterey.

Nicklaus China will work closely with HNA to review and analyze their current golf and club portfolio. The partnership will map out a plan and strategy for the future, and at the same time, provide on-site management, as well as operations and marketing support. This will also lead to the redesign and re-branding of many of the HNA facilities.

"As a player and then designer, my goal has always been to grow the game around the world," Nicklaus said. "At the same time, I think it is important to grow the way golf is developed. We have witnessed the passion and enthusiasm for golf in China, but we have also observed a need and desire for assistance in every aspect of the development process. A quality golf experience only begins with the design process, and golf course developers in China are looking for leadership and expertise in the golf and real estate arenas.

"Although golf is relatively new to China compared to other markets, we can help position it as the very best. With over four decades working on golf courses in a variety of markets around the world, we can deliver the expertise to develop golf and real estate at the highest level, for enjoyment of the game, commitment to community, and responsibility to the environment. We share HNA's vision to create the highest quality golf and lifestyle experiences for its members and guests throughout China. We want to put these developments in a position to succeed for future generations to enjoy. We appreciate HNA's trust in our organization, and we look forward to many years of this valued relationship."

The partnership between Nicklaus China and HNA is synergetic. The companies both service the hospitality industry at the highest level. Both companies are committed to growing the game of golf in a strategic and responsible way. Between them, Nicklaus China and HNA also share a vision and a passion for providing golfers with the best-possible golf and lifestyle experiences throughout China.

"We think highly of our new partnership with Nicklaus China," said Mr. Lu Ying, Chairman of HNA Holdings Group. "Mr. Jack Nicklaus has been associated with greatness for over 50 years in golf industry. We trust that his commitment and experiences to quality products and developments will help effectively elevate our golf portfolio to the premier lifestyle developments that both great companies are striving for. We will build a long and prosperous partnership with Jack as we continue to grow the game of golf the responsible way in China."

As a company, Nicklaus Design has 20 courses open for play in China, where it has had a burgeoning presence since the 1993 unveiling of Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club in Guangdong. A recent Golf Digest China ranking listed five Nicklaus Design courses in its top 10. Nicklaus' Spring City design has been voted the No. 1 course in China multiple times by Asian Golf Monthly. In addition, Nicklaus Club Beijing has grown its membership from 50 to 380 in the less than two years since it was announced Nicklaus would redesign and rebrand the club. The course is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014.

"Our continued growth in China is very important to our business," added Howard Milstein, Jack Nicklaus' business partner and Co-Chairman of the Nicklaus Companies.

Not only does Nicklaus have more than 20 years of experience designing golf courses in China, Jack Nicklaus and Nicklaus Design have more than 44 years in the global design business. Involvement in some of the most successful projects in the world has allowed Nicklaus Design to learn the best practices in land planning, operations, management, and marketing. HNA will benefit from Nicklaus China's expertise.

Some of the HNA-owned courses that Nicklaus China will consult on include Beijing Golf Club, Nicklaus Town Chengde, and Nicklaus Club-Monterey. There are seven HNA-owned courses on Hainan Island and two courses in Dongguan. In June-one year to the date Nicklaus China was created in a partnership with Beijing-based Finergy Capital-Nicklaus visited several of HNA's projects, from Beijing to Chengde to Dongguan to Sanya on Hainan Island.

About the Nicklaus Companies
For more than 40 years, the mission of the Nicklaus Companies has been to enhance the golf experience, and to bring to the national and international consumer golf-related businesses and services that mirror the high standards established in the career and life of Jack Nicklaus. These services include golf-course design, development of golf and real estate communities, and marketing and licensing golf products and services. Nicklaus-branded products have been marketed worldwide since 1962. In 2007, Nicklaus joined together with a like-minded partner in Howard Milstein, the Chairman of Emigrant Bank, to help further the growth of the company and to realize the full potential of the brands and branded businesses.

Nicklaus Design is widely regarded as the world's leading golf course design firm, with almost 380 courses open for play in 36 countries and 39 states, Golf Inc. voted Jack Nicklaus the "Most Powerful Person in Golf" a record six consecutive years. Nicklaus Design has offices and representation in more than a dozen countries. In a recent three-year span, Nicklaus Design was voted Architect of the Year in Asia by the readers of Asian Golf Monthly. Close to 75 Nicklaus Design courses having been ranked in various Top-100 lists, and no fewer than 100 Nicklaus courses have hosted a combined total of more than 750 professional tournaments worldwide. Nicklaus Design has projects in planning or under construction in 20 countries, including 10 in which the firm has never been involved. That allows Jack Nicklaus to fulfill a career-long mission to introduce and help grow the game around the world. Primary markets include China, Southeast Asia, Europe and Russia. Nicklaus Design has 19 courses under development in China alone.

As a point of differentiation and to aid developers in emerging markets, Nicklaus and Nicklaus-China offer turnkey services, where the company helps oversee construction, membership sales and marketing.

For more information on the Nicklaus Companies, please visit www.nicklaus.com.

About Hainan Airlines Co., Ltd. (Hainan Airlines, HNA)
Hainan Airlines Co., Ltd. was founded in January of 1993 in Hainan Province, China's largest special economic zone. As one of China's fastest-developing and most active airlines, Hainan Airlines is committed to providing passengers with holistic, seamless and high-quality services.

Since 1993, in addition to Haikou, its main hub, Hainan Airlines has established seven bases in Beijing, Xi'an, Taiyuan, Urumqi, Guangzhou, Dalian and Shenzhen, as well as an extensive network that spreads across China, covers Asia, and spreads out to Europe, the Americas, Oceania and Africa. Hainan Airlines has opened nearly 500 Chinese domestic and international routes flying to more than 90 cities.

Hainan Airlines has been carrying out safe operations for 20 successive years since inception and has continued to maintain an excellent safety record. Its service has won general approval from a vast number of passengers as well as from within the civil aviation industry. It was selected by internationally renowned consulting appraisal agency Millward Brown to be listed on the "BRANDZ Top 50 Most Valuable Chinese Brands" of 2013. In April 2013, Hainan Airlines was rated as a SKYTRAX five-star airline company for the third consecutive year.

Hainan Airlines has inherited "the Eastern way of receiving passengers," while advocating the service ethos of "respecting the passenger," abiding by the "SMILE" service principle and passing on the brand concept of "meeting by chance, cherishing together," manifesting "the beauty of the East" as an international new brand image. Hainan Airlines is determined to become a world-class airline enterprise of the Chinese people and a world-class airline brand.

Contacts
Nicklaus Companies
Scott Tolley
Vice President, Corporate Communications
11780 U.S. Highway #1, Suite 500
North Palm Beach, FL. 33408
Tel: 561-227-0300
scott.tolley@nicklaus.com

Nicklaus-China:
Jimmy Han
Beijing, China
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China
Mobile: +86 13810216545
jimmy.han@nicklaus.com