Jack Nicklaus courses come back to life


One by one, some of Jack Nicklaus’ anticipated golf projects around the globe are climbing out of the recession and coming back to life.

This year, three courses originally planned to be part of the world’s most exclusive network of private clubs, a collection of 25 Jack Nicklaus Golf Clubs, have regained a pulse.

The first to awaken from its development coma is the club in Anguilla, a tourist destination in the Caribbean. Thanks to some new funds, the project could be in line to break ground by the end of this year.

There are also rumblings about forthcoming golf construction at Quivira Los Cabos, the tony beachfront community in Cabo San Lucas. Quivira was envisioned as Mexico’s only Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, along with a second Nicklaus “signature” track.

FM Developments, developers of the Ury Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, fell vicitim to the recession and declared bankruptcy protection in 2009, putting the plans for the championship golf course on hold.

A recently formed group named FM Ury Ltd., spearheaded by a former FM director, reportedly stepped in to purchase the Ury Estate at Stonehaven and hopes to start building the Nicklaus signature course within 12 to 18 months. According to the original plans, the Ury Estate was slated to also house 230 luxury homes, a five-star hotel and a world-class spa.

Both entities are led by Richard Milne and controlled by members of the Forbes and Milne families, who are some of the wealthiest farming families in Scotland.

“We have got the estate back and we have got the designer, Jack Nicklaus, back,” Milne told the Scotsman in August. “We will be fulfilling all our promises.”

The developers behind the aforementioned ventures are saying they are erecting “signature” golf courses, which doesn't mean they will all necessarily blossom into Jack Nicklaus Golf Clubs.

Of course, where there’s smoke, there could eventually be fire. And that would be welcome news not just for Nicklaus and his investment partners but for the golf business as a whole. Anyone who believes in trickle-down economics would love to see the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club model take off like a rocket.

For now, the pricey concept could be a tough sell to prospective members, many of whom haven’t yet bounced back from their recessionary financial woes.

In the mean time, cautious developers are toning down previously lavish ambitions. The new development plan for the Ury Estate, for example, calls for a “different” (and presumably more downscale) form of housing and even — shudder — a shopping center.

In addition, the golf course has been relocated to another part of the 1,500-acre property, for reasons undisclosed. This isn’t a good sign, but Nicklaus seems to be comfortable with the new site.

“We believe that this special piece of property can be developed into an extraordinary golf course,” said a spokesman for Nicklaus’ firm in a press release.

This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form. For a sample copy of the World Edition, call 301/680-9460 or write to WorldEdition@aol.com.



You have previously been advised that there are no "Middle Eastern funds" involved in the Conch Bay Development project on Anguilla. Kindly correct this error.

You have previously been advised that there are no "Middle Eastern funds" involved in the Conch Bay Development project on Anguilla. Kindly correct this error.

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