Next to soccer, or football as it is known worldwide, no other sport is truly more global than golf. Indeed, a newly published report by the prestigious Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews shows there are 34,011 golf facilities in 206 countries.
The R&A study, conducted by Florida-based National Golf Foundation, reports 79 percent of these facilities are located in ten countries: the United States, Japan, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, France, Scotland, South Africa and Sweden.
Although the U.S. is home to nearly half of the world's golf facilities (49 percent), and Europe accounts for 22 percent of the world's supply, the report also states there are 50 countries with only one golf facility compared to 30 countries with more than 100 facilities and eight with more than five golf courses (not including the U.S.).
The report tracks the development of golf worldwide and finds 696 golf courses are under construction or in advance planning. While 80 percent of these new projects are in Asia, Europe and North America, there are clear signs the sport is spreading with countries such as Belarus, Azerbaijan and Georgia opening their first golf courses in the last two years and initial courses under construction in countries as diverse as Macedonia and Sao Tome and Principe (see new projects below in Montenegro and Tenerife).
Of course, one of the newest high-profile courses under construction is the Gil Hanse-designed Olympic Course cut out of a nature reserve in western Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics. Until then, here's a collection of some other medal-contending courses outside of the United States.
Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Jumeirah Golf Estates, located in the heart of New Dubai, is one of the world's most prestigious residential golf developments. A collection of individually designed homes set amidst a truly breathtaking landscape and enclosed within a secure gated community, Jumeirah Golf Estates blend the best in modern living with the wonders of nature.
It's also part of the prestigious European Tour Properties network, a partnership between a select handful of high-end golf resort and residential developments and the PGA European Tour.
Currently offering 1,050 townhouses, villas and apartments on the edges of its world-renowned Fire and Earth golf courses, Jumeirah Golf Estates has quickly established itself among the world's most prestigious residential golf communities. According to a spokesperson, buyers primarily originate from the United Kingdom, Northern Europe, and India, with a majority of these being Dubai-based expatriates.
Jumeirah's Earth Course has the distinction of being the venue for the DP World Tour and Race to Dubai Championships. The latter is the season-ending tournament on the PGA European Tour.
Jumeirah Golf Estates has a range of properties for sale with prices ranging from approximately $1.2 million to $1.94 million for the recently launched Redwood Park townhouses and $4.2 million to $11.9 million for luxurious detached villas in Redwood Avenue. Jumeirah Golf Estates will also be launching apartments for sale at the end of the month. (Prices will not be decided until the end of the month).
"All the communities at JGE are surreal, you have to see it to believe it," Muna Al Haddad, Commercial Director at Jumeirah Golf Estates, was quoted as saying after the developers handed over the first set of homes in the luxury Whispering Pines community less than two years ago. "The Mediterranean-themed villas in the one-of-a-kind Whispering Pines community come ready with landscaped gardens, swimming pools and a garage. The community is surrounded with lush green landscaping and water features, establishing Whispering Pines as a true haven of peace and serenity. Inside, each home features premium quality kitchens and appliances, smart home solutions, and top-of-the-line audio-video equipment."
Jumeirah Golf Estates is located in the Jebel Ali district on the south side of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Highway, opposite Jumeirah Village. The Estate lies approximately 22 kilometers southwest of Dubai City Center within a half-hour's drive of Dubai International Airport and a few minutes drive from Dubai Marina and major business districts of Dubai Internet and Media City.
Surrounding developments are The Green Community, Dubai Sport City and Jumeirah Village.
Akoya Oxygen, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Preliminary construction work for another world-class golf course in Dubai is now underway, according to luxury real estate developer DAMAC Properties. The new Trump World Golf Club at the AKOYA Oxygen development is a par-72, 7,400-yard championship course being designed by PGA Tour star Tiger Woods and managed by the Trump Organization.
This new course follows a KPMG report that stated golf courses increase the valuation of adjacent real estate by up to 20 percent when compared to similar real estate in a neighborhood without the golf course component, according to Damac Properties.
DAMAC Properties confirmed that the designs for Woods' first course outside of North America is now complete and the "tender for the main construction will be issued shortly with the course set to become one of the most challenging and desirable courses to play in the world," taking inspiration from the courses Woods has won on from around the globe.
In addition, the company has announced further details of the key central entertainment district which will run alongside a scenic canal in the heart of the project. This area is set to attract visitors from all over with many firsts for the region including a self-contained experiential Rainforest.
More than 2,000 luxury serviced hotel apartments and hotel rooms will be housed above the retail and entertainment component, making the area a hive of activity and the central meeting point for people in Dubailand.
"In AKOYA Oxygen you don't just live, you experience living," said Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, DAMAC Properties. "There is so much more to the development than luxury homes. Owners will reside next to the only Tiger Woods-designed golf course in the Middle East and be able to walk along the canal to see the Dubai Rainforest.
"AKOYA Oxygen is set to be the focal point for tourists and residents with so much to see and do," he added. "Savvy buyers today demand much more than four walls and a roof - it is important to deliver an integrated lifestyle in tune with their aspirations."
AKOYA Oxygen was launched in August 2014 to huge acclaim with the first and second phases of villas sold out within record time. AKOYA Oxygen is a living community allowing residents to escape the city to a lush green environment with an upscale resort feel. Luxurious residential properties will be integrated with green and modern design to feel at peace with the environment, all set within beautiful manicured landscaping.
The first residents will be moving into the luxury villas and townhouses at AKOYA Oxygen in 2017 with the full development set to be completed in time for the World Expo being hosted in Dubai in 2020.
As of December 31st 2014, DAMAC Properties has delivered almost 13,000 homes and has a development portfolio of over 38,000 units at various stages of progress and planning. Included are more than 10,000 hotel rooms and serviced hotel apartments under development, which will be managed by its hospitality arm, DAMAC Hotels & Resorts. PGA Catalunya Resort, Near Barcelona, Spain
PGA Catalunya Resort is one of the most luxurious golf and resort communities in Europe, and recently announced it was placing a bid to host golf's prestigious Ryder Cup tournament in 2022. The upmarket development includes large golf-front home plots, luxurious family villas, a private enclave of semi-detached villas with extensive private gardens and a neighborhood swimming pool, as well as exclusive apartments adjacent to the clubhouse.
Prices of real estate at PGA Catalunya Resort start from approximately $428,000 for apartments and rise to $1.33 million for plots. The most expensive property currently for sale is a spectacular $2.46 million villa overlooking the resort's Tour Course.
Being part of European Tour Properties in close association with The European Tour only adds to the real estate value, according to David MacLaren, the European Tour's director of property and venue development.
"The network features some of the most prestigious golf and lifestyle resorts in Europe, the Middle East and south-east Asia, including PGA Catalunya Resort near Barcelona, Terre Blanche in France, St Leon-Rot in Germany, venue of The 2015 Solheim Cup, and Jumeirah Golf Estates, which hosts the DP World Tour Championship, the season-ending finale to the European Tour's Race to Dubai. The network's recent expansion into Asia saw the stunning resort of Black Mountain in Hua Hin, Thailand, which became the 14th member venue in February 2015.
"Being associated with the premier global golf venue brand offers obvious advantages from a positioning and profile perspective, particularly as the essence of The European Tour is to bring elite golf to a world stage," added MacLaren, whose European Tour Properties now numbers 14 developments worldwide after expanding to Asia for the first time at Black Mountain in Hua Hin, Thailand. "So customers playing, staying or buying property at a European Tour Properties venue know that their experience comes with a stamp of tournament quality.
"The association also delivers significant practical benefits including strategic and operational support, sales and marketing activities linked to golf travel and real estate, and access to tournament opportunities. Eight of our 14 venues have hosted European Tour sanctioned events in the past year and we are supporting other venues in their plans to host tournaments. For example, we are working closely with The Dutch, which will host the KLM Open from 2016-18. In terms of sales and marketing, our strategic partnership with Fine & Country has created a unique approach to real estate marketing, which is benefiting all European Tour Properties with residential developments."
PGA Catalunya is one place where real estate activity is still buzzing.
"There has been a general upturn in real estate sales recently," MacLaren said. "We are seeing strong sales across the European Tour Properties network. PGA Catalunya Resort has sold more than 100 units since 2011 and continues to out-perform the market in Spain. In Dubai, sales at Jumeirah Golf Estates are strong and the new Redwood development, with its 75 townhouses and 42 villas, has been well received, underlining the importance of real estate developments being able to adapt to shifts in the market."
Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, Provence, France
This 750-acre estate offers a number of unique residential opportunities, with plots of 2,000 square meters to 14,000 square meters available. In March 2015, a new real estate program of villas sold off-plan was launched. The 'Golf Residences,' especially designed with golfers in mind and consisting of 49 turnkey villas, features a neo-Provençal architecture and integrates fully with the surrounding natural landscape.
Built on serviced plots of 800-1,300 square meters, the area is divided into three private and secured woods near the Albatros Golf Performance Centre: Bois des Oliviers, Bois des Arbousiers and Bois du Riou. The property has two 18-hole championship golf courses: The Chateau and Riou.
Plot prices at Terre Blanche start at approximately $749,000 and Maison de Golfeurs villas will be launching shortly with indicative prices in the region of $1.284 million, according to a spokesperson.
A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort is a luxurious 5-star property in Tourrettes.
Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal
For 40 years, Quinta do Lago has established itself as one of the most prestigious golf and real estate developments in Europe. Low-impact and leisure-oriented, Quinta do Lago leads the way in how to combine residential living with nature, and beauty with lifestyle.
Quinta do Lago is located to the west of Faro Airport in the Algarve region of Portugal. It comprises one of the three corners of what is today known as Algarve's Golden Triangle.
The master-planned resort is situated in a protected nature reserve of stunning wetland scenery, and the resort's low-rise, low-density architecture and landscapes echo the natural surroundings. With its unique in-house credentials, it is no surprise that it has become the area's undisputed market leader with the highest number of sales and listings in the region. Plot prices at Quinta do Lago start at approximately $2.35 million with only villa resale available.
7th January 2015: €48 million of luxury residences at Luštica Bay, a €1.1 billion luxury residential development in Montenegro, were sold off-plan to a range of international buyers by the end of 2014.
At a time when Montenegro is rapidly emerging as the Adriatic's answer to Monaco, Luštica Bay is proving an increasingly popular investment choice for ultra-high net worth individuals seeking a long-term lifestyle investment. The first 70 residents are expected to move in to their properties by May 2015.
This is on the heels of the $1.1 billion luxury residential development selling off-plan more than $51 million in residential transactions to a range of international buyers by year-end 2014.
"With a total of 145 residences sold to date, we are observing a steady increase in sales of real estate at Luštica Bay, from a diverse range of international buyer pools," said Lustica Bay CEO Darren Gibson. "With a series of luxury development projects underway across the country, Montenegro is steadily becoming a go-to destination for those seeking an attractive lifestyle offering and a sound long-term investment."
Among the incentives helping to lure investors to the country include not having to pay duty on fuel for yachts and the cap on VAT at 7 percent on marine and tourist services. Montenegro is also introducing a new visa scheme in 2015 under which anyone can stay up to a year should they invest in property.
Sales at Luštica Bay, which is situated within 690 hectares of lush vegetation on the Adriatic coast, have been shared by a variety of global buyers, including Serbians, Russians, Egyptians, Germans, British, Swiss, French, Belgian, Canadian and American nationals. This cross section has led to Luštica Bay creating a truly international community.
"The country is increasingly becoming known as an investor-friendly destination following wide-ranging economic and bureaucratic reforms, along with investment in infrastructure," said Abercrombie & Kent International Estates sales agent Robert Green. "These factors, coupled with the location, beauty, amenities and facilities at Luštica Bay are making it a very popular choice."
Among the phase one amenities planned are a 300-key marina hotel, boutique hotel, bespoke villas and marina town homes, an 176-berth marina and Gary Player-designed golf course, making Lustica Bay one of the largest integrated destination projects currently under development in the country.
The developer is Orascom Development Holding AG, a leading developer of fully integrated destinations that include hotels, private villas and apartments, leisure facilities such as golf courses, marinas and supporting infrastructure. Orascom Development's diversified portfolio of destinations is spread over nine jurisdictions (Egypt, UAE, Jordan, Oman, Switzerland, Morocco, and United Kingdom), with primary focus on touristic destinations and budget housing.
The Group currently operates six destinations, including three in Egypt (El Gouna, Taba Heights and Haram City), The Cove in United Arab Emirates and Jebel Sifah and Salalah Beach in Oman. Orascom Development has a dual listing, including a primary listing on the Swiss Exchange and a secondary listing on the Egyptian Exchange.
Abercrombie & Kent, one of the world's leading luxury travel companies, launched Abercrombie & Kent International Estates to market and sell exclusive residential properties around the world, including private homes and resort residences. With over 250,000 high net worth clients on A&K's database, 52 offices worldwide and over 2,500 employees across seven continents, A&K International Estates is ideally placed to market directly to buyers in search of unique and inspiring second homes.
Abama Resort is a 400-acre luxury resort community on the island of Tenerife. Part of the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago just off the southern coast of Morocco, Abama offers world-class dining and five-star amenities and services expected from a resort featuring a Ritz-Carlton.
Situated on the western part of Tenerife in the Guia de Isora area, Abama offers year-round springtime climate and incomparable views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby Canary Islands - just a few travel hours from most major European cities.
Abama Luxury Residences just announced the first of its Terrace apartments will be delivered at the end of May, in line with the opening of the properties' exclusive Social Club. After a buoyant first annual quarter which saw sales of residences across the resort increase by 55.5 percent, compared to total sales for the whole of 2014, the resort is preparing for the delivery of its first 24 apartments alongside the opening of the Social Club which is available exclusively to owners of the apartments.
Located at the entrance to the Terraces community in a prime ocean-facing position, the Social Club will be a place for owners to meet, socialize and relax to a backdrop of spectacular views over the golf course to the Atlantic. Set over three levels and 900 square meters, it is built in the same architectural style as the hotel and features 420 square meters of extensive terraces, an outdoor pool and a children's pool. Other details include a gym, private dining room, bar & snack area, play room and relaxation area.
Investors in the 24 Terrace apartments originate from across Europe and all purchased properties on the front line with uninterrupted views of the ocean. Attracted by the location, they were also impressed with the range of amenities across the wider Abama Resort including the 5-star Ritz-Carlton, Abama hotel, a choice of 10 restaurants (2 with Michelin stars), 18-hole golf course, tennis academy, spa and beautiful beach.
Also available to second home investors are plots for custom villas and a handful of fully furnished villas situated alongside the fairways of the golf course. Prices start at approximately $374,500 for Terrace Apartments with Bellevue Villas starting at an estimated $1.77 million. Plots start at $321,000.