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How Kyle Phillips created a world-class course from land deemed ‘unsuitable for golf’

By Kelsey Lee

Sunset over South Cape Owner's Club [image: Joann Dost]

Sunset over South Cape Owner’s Club [image: Joann Dost]

Namhae, South Korea – South Cape Owners Club is the innovation of business mogul JB Chung. Even when others said it was impossible, Chung remained optimistic – he had visionary Golf Course Architect Kyle Phillips in his square. “It seems other designers felt the land was too challenging to achieve a top quality golf experience,” says Kyle. “Mr. Chung believed the property was so stunningly beautiful, he was willing to take on this challenge.”

Kyle Phillips designs world-class golf courses maintaining the natural elements of the existing property, as if a golfer happened upon a piece of land that is perfectly fit for a round of golf. With South Cape Owner’s Club, “the original conception of the course involved considerable earth moving” Kyle recounts. “When I came in the picture, I was able to reduce the earth moving by roughly 40% from what the prior plans had called for—which not only saved a significant amount of money, but also allowed me to save more of the natural vegetation.” In areas where earthmoving occurred, thousands of trees were transplanted allowing this world-class course to fit naturally on its landscape.

The transformation of Holes 12 and 13

When I asked Kyle how he felt so confident in this new direction for the land, he laughed and said, “It’s just what I do. It is hard to explain. I knew the course would turn out well and this would be a good golf course, but the challenge was always to make it great – the best. To get it there, I just worked with the topography and thought out of the box.”

With South Cape Owner’s Club already being recognized as Korea’s #1 course and ranking in the world’s Top 100 Courses, it is safe to say Kyle was successful.

Kyle humbly credits his success at South Cape Owner’s Club to playing to the land’s strengths, and maintaining the natural features of the landscape while turning down the volume. “Not only is the design of each hole important, but when you finish a hole you want it to have a nice connection to the next tee”, says Phillips. “We worked hard to create transitions throughout the course that would allow the players to get lost in the game and the beauty of their surroundings.” A feat Kyle Phillips makes sound all too easy.

 

Perhaps, Fergal O’Leary, a panelist for Golf Magazine and Golf digest (as well as the youngest person to play the World’s Top 100 Ranked courses), most elegantly remarked on South Cape when he said:

“I never thought I’d find a golf course more stunning that Cypress Point or Cape Kidnappers. I never thought I’d play a golf course more impressive than Oakmont or Royal Melbourne (West). I never thought I’d experience a feeling of privilege more than Muirfield or Shinnecock Hills. I never thought I’d play a piece of property more remarkable than Augusta National or St. Andrews. What Kyle Phillips created at South Cape makes a lot of old classics shiver in their boots. The world needs to brace itself as this whole experience takes you to unimaginable levels of euphoria.”

Quite remarkable words, for land once given up on for golf. However, after Kingsbarns in St. Andrews, Yas Links in Abu Dhabi, Cal Club in San Francisco and now South Cape in South Korea, it seems not much is impossible for Kyle Phillips.

South Cape Owner's Club Hole 6 [image: Joann Dost]

South Cape Owner’s Club Hole 6 [image: Joann Dost]

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South Cape #14 - Par 3 - 136 meters

Kyle Phillips’ new South Cape course in Korea is expected to attract worldwide attention.

The Korean golf explosion is perhaps the game’s greatest recent success story. From 24 courses and a total of 750,000 rounds in 1980, the country’s market has expanded to well over 400 courses and nearly 27 million rounds now. Korean golfers have achieved huge successes on both male and female professional tours, and research by golf consultant Ha Jong-du shows an average number of rounds per course in excess of 60,000 – which implies  demand for additional facilities. And, indeed, more courses are currently being built:  architect Kyle Phillips’s spectacular new South Cape course on an island off the country’s southern coast is expected by many to challenge the Nine Bridges course, which has long been regarded as the country’s best.

Source:  Golf Course Architecture – October 2013

South Cape Coming Summer of 2013

South Cape Golf

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Official Rules

1. ENTRY: No purchase necessary to enter or win. Contestants will enter by submitting answers through the Kyle Phillips Golf Course Design Facebook page.

2. ELIGIBILITY: This contest is open only to legal U.S. residents, over the age of 18. Employees of Kyle Phillips Golf Course Design (along with its contractors, affiliates and subsidiaries) and their families are not eligible. Void where prohibited by law. Contestants residing in those areas where the contest is void may participate in the contest but may not win any prizes.

3. WINNER SELECTION: Winner will be randomly selected on July 12, 2013 at 5 PM PST.

4. PRIZES: Winners will receive a Cleveland 588 RTX wedge and dozen Srixon Q Star golf balls.

5. WINNER NOTIFICATION: Winners will be notified via email along with posted to Facebook and Kylephillips.com

6. USE OF CONTEST INFORMATION: All entries become the property of Kyle Phillips Golf Course Design. Kyle Phillips Golf Course Design reserves the right to use any and all information related to the contest, including submissions provided by the contestants, for editorial, marketing and any other purpose, unless prohibited by law.

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Three courses to be built at resort in South Korea

This year a trio of U.S. architects will make a little personal history at a resort in the capital of Gangwon Province in northern South Korea.

Each of the architects — Arthur Hills, Kyle Phillips and Tom Weiskopf — will be working in South Korea for the first time. Their courses are to serve as drawing cards for the Sanyosoo resort outside Chuncheon, a city of about 265,000 that’s roughly 50 miles northeast of Seoul.

Besides the golf courses, Sanyosoo will feature some houses, a large hotel and a shopping area. The developer is AM Engineering, a Seoul-based golf construction company led by Moon-Hwan “Dawson” Ahn. AM has built dozens of courses since it was founded in the mid 1990s, including Club at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island and Sky 72 Golf Club in Incheon.

Sanyosoo is AM’s first development venture. The company broke ground on the resort’s 7,400-yard Yosoo course earlier this year and expects to open it in 2011. The course was designed in house, but Steve Forrest, a principal of Hills’ Toledo, Ohio-based firm, is acting as the design consultant.

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