Jack Nicklaus, the globally renowned golf course designer and the greatest champion in the game’s history, with a record 18 professional major championships to his name, has confirmed that he is designing his first-ever course in Saudi Arabia: a championship golf course for Qiddiya – Saudi Arabia’s capital of Entertainments, Sports and the Arts. The course, located 40 minutes from the Saudi capital of Riyadh, is under design and is awaiting commencement of construction.
Jack and Nicklaus Design are creating the championship course for a private golf and country club, set within an exclusive residential community in the heart of the Qiddiya development, just outside Riyadh, with ground expected to be broken later this year. The majestic Tuwaiq mountain range will frame the golf course.
Commenting on Jack Nicklaus’ involvement, His Excellency Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, Chairman of Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation said: “To have the greatest-ever golfer commit to making his mark upon our developing golf landscape in Saudi Arabia and at a project as significant as Qiddiya gives us great pride. To be part of the Nicklaus legacy will be something that we will always cherish, especially knowing the positive impact it will have on growing awareness of the sport at a domestic level, whilst increasing our national visibility as a vibrant new golf destination. We are looking forward to welcoming Mr Nicklaus for his first visit to Saudi Arabia in the coming months.”
Nicklaus, the most decorated player in the game’s history, commented: “I am excited by this project and my first golf course design in the Middle East. To be selected as one of the first international designers to work in the Kingdom is a great honour. I’ve already spent time looking at the topography of the land, images of the backdrop and terrain, and discussing with our design team a strategy for the course. The design will fully integrate the natural environment and the beautiful Qiddiya landscape, bringing together green spaces and mountainous terrain to form a picturesque canvas for both a beautiful and challenging golf course.”
Construction began on the Qiddiya project in 2019, and the golf development will include a high-end resort hotel and spa, as well as exclusive residences, that once finished will position the development as both the premier Golf and Country Club and number one course in the Kingdom. It will be constructed to the highest standards, with a view to hosting the most prestigious international championships in future years, challenging elite golfers while providing casual players with an opportunity to enjoy the sport and develop their skills.
“By being involved in this project, we hope to promote the development and enjoyment of the game in the Kingdom,” Nicklaus said. “We not only want to entice Saudi residents to take up the great game of golf, but we also hope this presents employment opportunities for citizens of the Kingdom that are within or related to the golf industry. This mirrors the vision of Qiddiya.”
Qiddiya has undertaken the planning of the course in consultation with Golf Saudi. The Nicklaus-designed course is the centrepiece of what has been positioned as the most exclusive golf residential community in the Kingdom.
Further expanding the sport of golf in the Kingdom, Qiddiya will be seeking designers for a second course. Together, the two courses will provide top-notch golfing facilities for residents and day visitors to Qiddiya, from elite players to those just learning the sport.
CEO of QIC, Philippe Gas commented; “The underlying philosophy behind this entire development is to introduce a new, active lifestyle to the people of Saudi Arabia. This project has been carefully planned to ensure an unmatched resort experience for both golfers and regular guests. We expect the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and residential offering to provide the most entertaining challenge for golfers and the most appealing homesteads for residents seeking an extraordinary lifestyle.”