Reports recently have confirmed golf’s worst kept secret, that Tiger Woods Dubai – the former World No. 1’s debut golf design project – was in financial trouble and being put on hold. Tiger Woods Dubai was first floated back in 2006, but struck trouble the following year when Dubai’s housing prices plunged. It’s scheduled completion date was pushed back from 2009, to 2010 to then six-holes would be ready in 2011 to now being apparently closed down. For Tiger, the wait to complete his first golf course design continues.
Tiger Woods Dubai was an ambitious development concept, clearly aimed at a higher-end market with Tiger’s signature golf course to be part of a luxury estate that included villas, mansions and around 20 sheik-style palaces. The developer called a halt to the project last month, citing ‘market conditions’ as the chief reason and explaining that these conditions would be monitored and ‘a decision will be made in the future when to restart the project.’
For Tiger Woods the development is definitely on hold but not completely grounded. He commented recently that it (Dubai) has been ‘put on hold for right now…but it’s still there. We’ve got six completed holes and a few that were about to be grassed before construction was halted. Everything is on hold.’
Tiger Wood Dubai was being developed by a company owned by Dubai Holding, which is controlled by ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum but deeply in debt. Property prices in the emirate dropped by around 50% at the end of 2008 and at this stage have failed to recover. It remains to be seen whether this golf course will ever be built.
Meanwhile, in positive news for Tiger’s design business it was last week confirmed that his other projects in South Carolina and Mexico were continuing as planned. One can only speculate on whether the announcements from Dubai have enabled these projects to proceed, as rumours have been circulating the industry for years that the Dubai project was contracted to be the first completed Tiger Woods course anywhere in the world.
Regardless, The Cliffs at High Carolina remains the only US project signed by Tiger Woods Design in its four plus years of operation. Developer Jim Anthony recently confirmed that he was committed to completing the Tiger Woods course, having already invested $150 million into the project, with just 42 home sites (out of 1,200) sold around the course. Anthony apparently raised additional funds (approx $60 million) from existing homeowners at other Cliffs estates, and now plans to have a course that was first announced in 2007 ready for play by 2013. Although much of the tree clearing has been completed, only a handful of holes have been graded ready for fine shaping.
Woods’ other project, Punta Brava in Mexico, has been beset by environmental problems since it was announced back in 2008 and the developer has apparently announced plans to halt the real estate development while they concentrate on completing the golf course. This will be a private invitation-only golf club, with housing added later and only available to the membership. In what sounds an extraordinary site for golf, Punta Brava is surrounded on three sides by ocean and Tiger’s company has integrated water into numerous holes and routed the course so that six or more shots play directly over the Pacific Ocean.
For Tiger the completion of either course presumably can’t come quickly enough – at this stage I guess he’d be happy just to start construction.