The Latest in Luxury Resort & Real Estate News

| By Scott Kauffman | December 19, 2008 10:19 PM ET

First Ernie Els Course to Debut in Hawaii

(EWA BEACH, Oahu, Hawaii) -- Hawaii's main island of Oahu will soon be opening its first new private golf club in 30 years. The golf course development, Hoakalei Country Club, also represents the first course designed in Hawaii by golf star Ernie Els.

When the Ernie Els Design project opens next month, the 18-hole layout will also mark the official unveiling of Oahu's latest  master-planned resort-style community. Located on Oahu's southwest coast about 20 minutes from downtown Honolulu, Hoakalei Country Club will be the centerpiece of Hoakalei, a 726-acre development billed as "Hawaii's Marina Resort.

When completed by Haseko, which has been developing real estate on Oahu since 1973, Hoakalei will feature a full-service marina, hotel, resort spa, resort residences, exclusive beach and canoe club and waterfront commercial district.  These amenities will make the Hoakalei Country Club the only private resort-based country club on Oahu.
Ka Makana is the first section of the property being developed for housing, with plans for 900 golf and marina residences. Prices start at $500,000 for single-family homes and go up to $1 million.

The par-72, 7,400-yard golf experience at Hoakalei (which means "reflection of lei") promises to be unforgettable, with expansive vistas of the Ewa coastline throughout the 248-acre layout and water features on most holes. Playability is an important part of Els' design philosophy with multiple tee boxes accommodating players of all levels.

Hoakalei Country Club and its golf course will be managed by Dallas-based ClubCorp, one of the country's leading owners and operators  of private clubs.

New Pete Dye Course Takes Shape at Hyatt Regency Curacao Resort

(CURACAO, Netherlands Antilles) -- Esteemed golf course designer Pete Dye, who was enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame this year, is about to add Curacao to his long list of golf course locations.

Scheduled for a fall 2009 opening, the course is taking shape on the naturally contoured site overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the sheltered harbor known as Spanish Water, aptly named centuries ago after the Spanish sailors who came ashore to fill their freshwater casks. Measuring 7,200 yards from the championship tees, the course will be complemented by an 8,000 square-foot clubhouse featuring a fully stocked golf shop, locker rooms, restaurant and lounge.

The golf course development is part of Santa Barbara Plantation, a 1,500-acre resort-style community under development  just 25 minutes from Curaçao's capital city of Willemstad. Besides the course, the other key element of Santa Barbara Plantation's initial phase is the 350-room Hyatt Regency Curacao Resort & Spa, also scheduled to open in '09. A key amenity already in operation is the 120-slip Seru Boca Marina within Spanish Water, which is capable of accommodating vessels up to 80 feet in length.

When asked what makes this latest golf course creation special Dye says it's "the ambiance here."

"First you see the Caribbean, then the bay and the boats, then that big mountain," Dye adds. "This land is incredible -- the contours, the views, the ruins, the setting. Here the topography has enough movement; you don't have to create it."

In addition to the golf course and marina, Santa Barbara Plantation will feature recreational amenities such as a beach club for homeowners and their guests, fine and casual dining, a tennis center, business center, outdoor swimming pools and boutique retail shops.

In mid-'09, Santa Barbara Plantation will have Terrace Home models to see, priced from $1.1 million, featuring  commanding views of the course and Caribbean Sea. Single-family home sites are also available priced from $450,000 to more than $1 million with similar views.

The Marina Village, a 27-unit residential community overlooking Seru Boca Marina, consists of two- and three-bedroom patio homes ranging from 1,700-2,100 square feet in size and priced from $726,000.

Golf Course Architect Robert Trent Jones II Issues Green Proclamation

(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- The design firm of world renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones -- long known for developing golf courses in an environmentally responsible manner -- recently released its Green Proclamation: ten tenets that have guided the company's design philosophy over the years  and ones it is committed to pursuing long into the future.

The Green Proclamation complements the environmental efforts expended by most of the leading golf associations and its allies, including the United States Golf Association, PGA of America, Audubon International, and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Of course, green building and sustainable development are also concepts that have become ubiquitous in the world of luxury real estate and resort development.

Bruce Charlton, president and chief design officer at Jones' RTJ II firm, and current President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, says the time has come for golf course architects to make a firm public statement about the environment.

"Some people worldwide still have a negative image of the golf industry," Charlton said. "We need to both make a renewed commitment to developing golf courses in a sustainable way that protects the environment, and also get the word out that golf courses are a positive form of development. In many cases, our work improves water quality and wildlife habitat, preserves green spaces that will not be paved over or developed, and creates giant filters that sequester carbon. When they are correctly implemented, golf courses that are well-conceived and built responsibly on appropriate sites actually enhance the natural environment."

When asked about the significance of the Green Proclamation,  Robert Trent Jones, Jr., chairman of RTJ II, and son of the famous architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., said: "In the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to bring nations together in an alliance to protect the planet, we embark upon a more modest but -- we hope -- equally far reaching doctrine. Our Green Proclamation has ten points created to help influence the direction of golf course design in this era of environmental concern."

The firm of Robert Trent Jones II invites other golf course architects and golf course developers to join them in committing to the principles in its Green Proclamation -- A Fresh Approach To Golf Course Design.

According to Palo Alto, Calif.-based RTJ II, they aspire to:

  • Create courses on sites that will sustain golf with a minimum disturbance to and maximum enhancement of natural ecosystems, and/or rehabilitate degraded landscapes and environments.
  • Move earth more efficiently to create courses that fit their sites and respect the natural characteristics of the terrain.
  • Design and construct courses with ongoing operations and future maintenance and sustainability in mind.
  • Protect native flora and fauna.
  • Protect and enhance wildlife habitat and other sensitive environmental areas while providing active corridors for species diversity.
  • Minimize clearing of trees and other native vegetation and, where possible, revegetate with indigenous plants from the site.
  • Create courses that use less water, pesticides, and fertilizers than traditional courses.
  • Protect, conserve, and improve water quality and resources by incorporating wetlands, turfgrass, and other natural site features to clean and filter water.
  • Maximize the effectiveness of available water through the use of drought-tolerant grass species; and specify soil amendments that lead to water conservation, and, where applicable, absorb properly-treated effluent.
  • Employ new technologies wherever and whenever feasible, that will further these goals.

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