LINKS Magazine

New International Course Openings for 2024

international course 2024

If you haven’t caught some of the jaw-dropping images and videos of Cabot Saint Lucia’s Point Hardy Golf Club that have been circulating in golfers’ social media feeds, you’re likely in the minority. The new course, from one of the game’s most desired design duos—Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw—is dramatically draped across a 375-acre peninsula on the northern tip of the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. Each of the final four holes demands shots over crashing ocean waves and rocky coastline, including back-to-back par-threes that have drawn comparisons to the 16th and 17th holes at iconic Cypress Point on California’s Monterey Peninsula.

Cabot Saint Lucia officially opened in December of 2023, immediately debuting as one of the Top 100 courses in the world according to at least one prominent publication. Point Hardy will get a full reveal—albeit to a fortunate few as a private club—in 2024, the newest in a series of international projects for the Cabot brand, which first made a splash in the destination golf world in the Canadian coastline province of Nova Scotia. In the coming years, Cabot will also unveil new courses outside the U.S. in Scotland (Cabot Highlands) and British Columbia (Cabot Revelstoke).

Chhun On Golf Resort, 16th hole (photo courtesy Brian Curley)

In 2024, Cabot will introduce four new courses at its first U.S.-based property—Cabot Citrus Farms—which you can read more about in this piece on new U.S. openings.

Beyond Saint Lucia, meanwhile, there are several all-new courses scheduled to open in 2024 that warrant recognition. Here are a handful to know.

7 Mile Beach (Hobart, Australia)

Former PGA Tour player Mathew Goggin grew up in Hobart and, as he hit balls along the beach, often wondered why Tasmania’s sandy coastal dunes weren’t home to golf. They soon will be, as 7 Mile Beach is scheduled to be the first of three new courses in the span of about five years. Goggin found the site—a special combination of sand, spectacular views, and wonderful contours—and brought in architect Michael Clayton of Clayton, DeVries, & Pont to walk the grounds. Clayton’s initial assessment was a delicious hint of what’s to come, saying, “If we mess this up, it still could be the second-best course in Australia.”

Chhun On Golf Resort (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

The first of two 18-hole layouts from architect Brian Curley is debuting at this growing golf facility near the center of the capital city of Cambodia in January 2024. Curley says the East course will offer a more traditional design, with formal bunkering, while the West will have a more natural and rugged appearance when it opens in 2025. Situated in a floodplain, five lakes on the property were excavated for the fill dirt needed to raise the footprint for the courses, the first of which will have a par-three island green 19th hole that’s accessible only by boat.

Chhun On Golf Resort, 19th hole (photo courtesy Brian Curley)

Erbil Hills (Kurdistan, Iraq)

Cynthia Dye, the niece of renowned architect Pete Dye, is the designer of what will become Iraq’s lone golf course when the first nine holes debut in late spring or early summer, with the full 18 open for play by the end of the year. A real-estate driven project that also includes a hotel and shops, Erbil Hills will make Iraq the 208th of 249 countries and territories worldwide to have golf. Iraq did have a few courses previously, sand or grass, but they closed at the time of the Gulf War.

Erbil Hills (photo courtesy IMG)

The Legacy Club at Diamante (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

Tiger Woods’s newest project at Diamante, which hosts a PGA Tour event on its Woods-designed El Cardonal course, is The Legacy Club, an invitation-only members retreat scheduled to open in the fall of 2024. The new course will be situated in a bowl of sorts, providing protection from the wind on the Baja Peninsula, and transport golfers from the desert landscape to an oasis of lush vegetation with views of the nearby Pacific Ocean. The Legacy Club’s verdant green landscaping has already elicited some comparisons to the meticulously manufactured Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

OKOL Lake Park (Samokov, Bulgaria)

Golf is the centerpiece of this Bulgarian resort development in the Balkan region, not far from the capital city of Sofia and the nation’s largest ski resort. Nine holes are playable with the other nine holes scheduled to open this year, creating a layout that stretches to 7,000 yards and offers stunning views of the Plana Mountains and Iskar Reservoir from its setting over 3,000 feet above sea level.

OKOL Lake Park (photo courtesy IMG)

Sindalah Golf Club (Sindalah Island, Saudi Arabia)

Beyond Saudi Arabia’s push into the world of professional golf are projects like Sindalah, which is a groundbreaking 9-hole beachfront course built on a luxury island. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., the course will have nine greens that are accessed by 18 separate tees, creating a par-70 layout that plays to almost 6,500 yards and offers 360-degree views of the Red Sea. Golf is just one component of the exotic project called NEOM, which is positioned as the Red Sea region’s first super-yachting destination.

Sindalah Golf Club (photo courtesy IMG)

Spey Bay Golf Club (Fochabers, Scotland)

This isn’t brand new construction, but a noteworthy redo debut scheduled for 2024. The new owners of Spey Bay, a 117-year-old course spread out across 150 acres along the Moray coast in the Scottish Highlands, turned to Mike DeVries and his team at Clayton, DeVries, and Pont (CDP) to transform the traditional links into a unique, fully reversible 18-hole layout with up to 22 greens and five different routings.

Spey Bay Golf Club (photo courtesy IMG)

Stone Highland Golf & Resort (Hanoi, Vietnam)

No country in the world outside the U.S. has more active golf development than Vietnam, where dozens of course projects are planned or being built. On a mountainous site just north of Hanoi, Stone Highland Golf & Resort is a 36-hole project that opened 18 holes at the end of 2023 and plans to unveil another nine in late 2024. Brian Curley designed both courses on a dramatic piece of property high above flat rice fields, with steep mountain slopes and a lot of rocky terrain. The landscape for the forthcoming second course isn’t quite as severe as the first, but still offers elevated views of the surrounding area.

Stone Highland (photo courtesy Brian Curley)

Vinpearl Golf Leman (Cu Chi, Vietnam)

Less than an hour north of Ho Chi Minh, a world class resort is debuting two new courses in 2024 that are very different from one another. Given a flat site with “heavy soils and poor water,” the Golfplan design team completely transformed the area, creating a North Course (scheduled to open in September) inspired by Golden Age architecture set on a prairie and wetland-type setting, and a South Course (planned December opening) inspired by the sand belt courses of Australia.

Vinpearl Golf Leman

Ury Estate (Stonehaven, Scotland)

All three of Jack Nicklaus’s Open Championship wins came on Scottish soil, including one at Muirfield, a name he adopted for his home course in Ohio. Nicklaus first got involved in the early stages of the Ury Estate project more than two decades ago and today a course from Nicklaus Design is being built around a development of luxury homes on a pastoral estate in northeast Scotland, not far from the coastline of Aberdeenshire and the historic harbor town of Stonehaven. A large hill-topped castle is the centerpiece for the course, which also incorporates stone walls and bridges, and could open in late 2024.

What new golf course are you most excited about opening in 2024?

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