• Turkmenistan currently doesn't have any golf courses
• "I don't really know why the president wanted golf," he said
JACK NICKLAUS | TURKMENISTAN
Jack Nicklaus newest design project has taken him to a country that, according to the website Top 100 Golf Courses, doesn’t even have a golf course… yet!
Yes, the Golden Bear will be building a course in the Asian country of Turkmenistan, where few people are even aware of golf – let alone play it. At least not yet, that is.
According to Associated Press, the president of the Central Asian nation, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, announced in October that he wanted a golf course built ahead of the Asian Games next year.
"He knows that golf is an Olympic sport and he's got the Asian Games next year" - Jack Nicklaus
Nicklaus said Ashgabat Golf Club in the country’s capital city of Ashgabat, should be finished in April (but not playable until July), with more courses reportedly planned in the near future.
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"I don't really know why the president wanted golf," Nicklaus told AP. "He has about 2,500 ex-pats who live in Ashgabat who wanted golf.
“He knows that golf is an Olympic sport and he's got the Asian Games next year. He wanted the golf course done before that."
But Nicklaus doesn’t want just one course in Turkmenistan.
As well as Ashgabat, which will be a championship course and ‘learning course’, the 76-year-old – who has visited the country five times – is eyeing more layouts in the coastal Awaza area.
That, the president and Nicklaus hope, will help boost tourism in a country that issued fewer than 1,000 tourist visas last year.
Jack Nicklaus course in Turkmenistan
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