Jack Nicklaus’ Legacy in Johor

Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus and son visit Forest City Golf Resort site in Gelang Patah

Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus and his son, Jack Nicklaus II recently visited the Forest City Golf Resort to check on their design. The resort, which is slated to have three golf courses, the first 18 design by Nicklaus, is part of the plan to revive golf in the state again.

According to Nicklaus, the golf course is fully man-made as there was nothing there before.

“We had to work the ninth and 18th greens around a hill, and the golf course has beautiful river views. From a player’s standpoint, the golf course we have designed is unique as golfers cannot find anything like it in Singapore or Malaysia,” he said.

He added, “Although the terrains are challenging, the golf course is built with the amateur golfer in mind, as well as for handicappers and professional golfers.”

Nicklaus’ visit also brought His Majesty, the Sultan of Johor, DYMM Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar to the site to preview what the resort has to offer.

Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV), the master developer of Forest City, Southeast Asia’s largest mixed-use green development at Iskandar, has to date spent RM309 million on developing the golf resort, which has three golf courses, a hotel and residential units. CGPV is a joint venture between Country Garden (60%) and Esplanade 88 Danga Bay Sdn Bhd (EDSB), an associated company of Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ).

Johor boasts the highest number of golf courses in the country, with 27 state-wide to date. Of these, it is believed that there are only 5 that have tri-courses. Johor also has the highest number of foreign direct investment so having a world-class golf resort will bode well with businessmen who also have a penchant for golf, as it provides the perfect setting for a warm-up session to a business discussion.

The Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020) is expected to attract 36 million tourists to the country generating RM168 billion in tourist dollars, reportedly announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the tabling of Budget 2018 last October.

Datuk Md Othman Yusof, Executive Director of CGPV, said in his welcome speech that the first golf course named Forest City Legacy Golf Course, would give golfers the experience and affordability that are not found in other golf courses.

“Being only a stone’s throw away from the Woodlands checkpoint, this golf resort will attract international golfers, residents and visitors,” Md Othman said.

With robust growth in Gelang Patah, Md Othman said he believed not only will the golf resort give a boost to the tourism sector, the locals will also enjoy the spillovers of the development, in particular, job and business opportunities.

Md Othman said the Forest City Golf Hotel, which is expected to be completed by mid 2018, will offer a total of 460 job opportunities with 250 vacancies in hotel and 210 for the golf course.

“A total of 100 per cent of the staff at the hotel are locals,” Md Othman said, adding that the Golf Resort is being built under the second phase of Forest City.

“It is good news for golf enthusiasts locally and from neighbouring countries, providing them with a notable experience, as the golf course will showcase the masterpiece of someone who has designed more than 300 golf courses all over the world.

“Having our first golf course designed by a legend already sets the benchmark for our landscape design at CGPV. When fully completed, the Golf Resort is expected to have a total population of about 1,300 residents while the five-star hotel will cater to visitors from across the globe,” he said.

Aside from the three 18-hole golf courses, the area offers easy connectivity when a new expressway that links the Golf Resort to Forest City is ready soon. This will cut travelling time between the two destinations from the current 30 minutes to 15. With a Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail station planned within Iskandar Malaysia, this will offer seamless accessibility to Forest City. CGPV is also building a connecting road stretching 9.6km from Forest City to the golf resort, which will be ready next year.