GELANG PATAH: The Forest City Golf Resort, valued at RM1.8 billion, is poised to be another prestigious championship golf course in Johor, making the state a premier golfing destination.
It is also set to redefine golf tourism to embrace the “complete golf holiday experience.”
“Golf courses were mushrooming throughout the state in the early 1990s but a price war among the competitors, failure to add value to the golf packages and a lackadaisical attitude in upkeeping maintenance have affected the booming golf industry in Johor,” said Kol. Mohd Jamal Salleh, President of Johor Golf Tourism Association.
“The Forest City Golf Resort, offering a tri-course, with the first 18 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son, is expected to further be a part of the bigger players in Johor to revive and add more value to the state as a golf paradise once again.”
Jamal’s optimism is supported by the fact that Johor has the highest number of foreign direct investment, and having a world-class golf resort will bode well with businessmen who also have a penchant for golf, as it provides the perfect setting for a warm-up session to a business discussion.
“A Date With Jack Nicklaus, the Golfing Legend” — a preview programme on what the golf resort has to offer — has brought the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and golfing legend, Jack Nicklaus to the Forest City Golf Resort today.
Nicklaus said the golf course was fully man-made as there was nothing there before.
“We had to work the ninth and 18th greens around a hill, and the golf course has beautiful river views. From a playerbility’s standpoint, the golf course we have designed is unique as golfers cannot find anything like it in Singapore or Malaysia,” he added.
Although the terrains are challenging, the golf course was built with the amateur golfer in mind, as well as for handicappers and professional golfers.
Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV) has to date spent RM309 million on developing the golf resort which has three golf courses, a hotel and residential units.
Johor boasts of the highest number of golf courses in the country, with 27 state-wide to date.
The Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020) is expected to attract 36 million tourists, generating RM168 billion in tourist dollars, reportedly announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the tabling of Budget 2018 last October.
Datuk Md Othman Yusof, Executive Director of CGPV, said in his welcome speech that the first golf course, named Forest City Legacy Golf Course, would give golfers the experience and affordability that are not found in other golf courses.
“Being only a stone’s throw away from the Woodlands checkpoint, this golf resort will attract international golfers, residents and visitors,” Md Othman said.
With robust growth in Gelang Patah, Md Othman said he believed not only will the golf resort give a boost to the tourism sector, the locals will also enjoy the spillovers of the development, in particular, job and business opportunities.
Md Othman said the Forest City Golf Hotel, expected to be completed by mid 2018, will offer a total of 460 job opportunities with 250 vacancies in hotel and 210 for the golf course.
“A total of 100 per cent of the staff at the hotel are locals,” Md Othman said, adding that the Golf Resort is being built under the second phase of Forest City.
“It is good news to golf enthusiasts from home and neighbouring countries, providing them with a notable experience, as the golf course showcased the masterpiece of someone who has designed more than 300 golf courses all over the world.
“Having our first golf course designed by a legend already sets the benchmark for our landscape design at CGPV. When fully completed, the golf resort is expected to have a total population of about 1,300 residents while the five-star hotel will cater to visitors from across the globe,” he said.