NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla.- Nicklaus China, an entity of the Nicklaus Companies formed in 2012 to focus on the strategic and responsible growth of golf in China, has signed a formal partnership with aviation leader Hainan Air (HNA), allowing both companies to expand their reach and influence on the sport. Nicklaus China will use the experience and expertise of iconic sportsman and golf course designer Jack Nicklaus, along with his teams at Nicklaus Design and the Nicklaus Companies, to offer turnkey development services and support to the 13 golf courses currently owned by HNA. The airline company owns 11 courses in China and two in the U.S., including Pasadera Country Club in Monterey, Calif., which has been rebranded as Nicklaus Club-Monterey.
Nicklaus China will work closely with HNA to review and analyze their current golf and club portfolio. The partnership will map out a plan and strategy for the future, and at the same time, provide on-site management, as well as operations and marketing support. This will also lead to the redesign and re-branding of many of the HNA facilities.
“As a player and then designer, my goal has always been to grow the game around the world,” Nicklaus said. “At the same time, I think it is important to grow the way golf is developed. We have witnessed the passion and enthusiasm for golf in China, but we have also observed a need and desire for assistance in every aspect of the development process. A quality golf experience only begins with the design process, and golf course developers in China are looking for leadership and expertise in the golf and real estate arenas.
“Although golf is relatively new to China compared to other markets, we can help position it as the very best. With over four decades working on golf courses in a variety of markets around the world, we can deliver the expertise to develop golf and real estate at the highest level, for enjoyment of the game, commitment to community, and responsibility to the environment. We share HNA’s vision to create the highest quality golf and lifestyle experiences for its members and guests throughout China. We want to put these developments in a position to succeed for future generations to enjoy. We appreciate HNA’s trust in our organization, and we look forward to many years of this valued relationship.”
The partnership between Nicklaus China and HNA is synergetic. The companies both service the hospitality industry at the highest level. Both companies are committed to growing the game of golf in a strategic and responsible way. Between them, Nicklaus China and HNA also share a vision and a passion for providing golfers with the best-possible golf and lifestyle experiences throughout China.
“We think highly of our new partnership with Nicklaus China,” said Mr. Lu Ying, Chairman of HNA Holdings Group. “Mr. Jack Nicklaus has been associated with greatness for over 50 years in golf industry. We trust that his commitment and experiences to quality products and developments will help effectively elevate our golf portfolio to the premier lifestyle developments that both great companies are striving for. We will build a long and prosperous partnership with Jack as we continue to grow the game of golf the responsible way in China.”
As a company, Nicklaus Design has 20 courses open for play in China, where it has had a burgeoning presence since the 1993 unveiling of Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club in Guangdong. A recent Golf Digest China ranking listed five Nicklaus Design courses in its top 10. Nicklaus’ Spring City design has been voted the No. 1 course in China multiple times by Asian Golf Monthly. In addition, Nicklaus Club Beijing has grown its membership from 50 to 380 in the less than two years since it was announced Nicklaus would redesign and rebrand the club. The course is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014.
“Our continued growth in China is very important to our business,” added Howard Milstein, Jack Nicklaus’ business partner and Co-Chairman of the Nicklaus Companies.
Not only does Nicklaus have more than 20 years of experience designing golf courses in China, Jack Nicklaus and Nicklaus Design have more than 44 years in the global design business. Involvement in some of the most successful projects in the world has allowed Nicklaus Design to learn the best practices in land planning, operations, management, and marketing. HNA will benefit from Nicklaus China’s expertise.
Some of the HNA-owned courses that Nicklaus China will consult on include Beijing Golf Club, Nicklaus Town Chengde, and Nicklaus Club-Monterey. There are seven HNA-owned courses on Hainan Island and two courses in Dongguan. In June-one year to the date Nicklaus China was created in a partnership with Beijing-based Finergy Capital-Nicklaus visited several of HNA’s projects, from Beijing to Chengde to Dongguan to Sanya on Hainan Island.