GARY PLAYER is not only one of golf’s all time greats but the “Black Knight” is also renowned internationally for his course design expertise.
Now the South African legend is looking to design his first Australian course and has appointed local representation to explore new golf course design projects Down Under.
That job has gone to Golf Industry Central and its founder Mike Orloff.
As a seven-time Australian Open winner and frequent visitor, Player knows the country well but although he is a course architect with over 325 design projects in 35 countries on five continents under his belt, he has strangely enough never done one on Aussie soil.
“I have always wanted to design a course in Australia. I have been visiting and playing in Australia for nearly 60 years and absolutely love it. The people are fantastic, the land is incredibly diverse and I can’t wait to find a great project,” Player said.
Player’s vision is to build golf courses that respect and pay homage to nature. Native grasses, plants and trees are utilised, more organic material and less potentially dangerous fertilisers are used, and serious attention is paid to water usage.
“Maintenance costs are what is hurting the golf course industry world-wide,” said Scott Ferrell, President of Gary Player Design. “A typical 18-hole course has about 150 acres of ‘green’ that needs to be maintained and the costs are rapidly rising. Imagine the same course with half of the ‘green’, but with no loss in playability or beauty. This is at the heart of our philosophy – to design courses that take advantage of the natural characteristics of the land keeping maintenance costs down and allowing golf courses to operate more efficiently.”
Gary Player Design has asked local company Golf Industry Central to help locate a course to design in Australia because of its strong local network in the golf industry. Headed by golf operations and marketing specialist Mike Orloff, Golf Industry Central helps overseas markets access the Australian golf industry.
“It is an honour to be asked to help Mr Player find a project to design in this region. The course will be a very unique and special experience for the golfing community in this part of the world,” Orloff said.