LPGA unveils first golf facility outside US

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) celebrated the official unveiling of its first golf facility outside the United States, and its second in all, Sept. 23, when Asiad Country Club was reborn as LPGA International Busan in Busan Metropolitan City, Republic of Korea. 

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan, Busan Metropolitan City's Mayor Keo-don Oh, LPGA International Busan CEO Kyu-tae Hwang and Dr. Wolfgang Hacker, head of brand management of BMW Korea, took part in the unveiling ceremony after making a brief tour of the 27-hole facility. 

"I'm very happy to be able to open LPGA International Busan with the LPGA, which is leading the global standard for golf culture, and I expect this place to become a landmark for culture and tourism beyond just golf," said Mayor Oh. "Busan and the LPGA will work together to help Busan grow into a city that is central in leading Asian golf culture, starting with the first LPGA-certified golf course to open in the world outside the United States." 

LPGA International Busan, which is located in Korea's second largest city on the southeastern coast of the peninsula, will host the LPGA Tour's inaugural BMW Ladies Championship from Oct. 24-27. 

"I'm very impressed that LPGA International Busan is a completely different course from when I visited the venue in March last year," LPGA Commissioner Whan said. "It's a high-quality championship layout and with the best female players on the planet competing in the BMW Ladies Championship next month, the whole world will be able to experience the beauty of Busan. We look forward to collaborating with Busan to make LPGA International Busan one of the best golf destinations in Korea." 

Asiad Country Club was a championship golf course created for the 2002 Asian Games in Busan before it underwent a complete renovation by world-renowned course designer Rees Jones, the "Open Doctor" who is known for his many designs and redesigns of more than 225 courses worldwide. Rees Jones Inc. design firm has an extensive portfolio, including seven U.S. Open venues, eight PGA Championship courses, five Ryder Cup sites and one President’s Cup site. His courses have hosted over 100 championship events.

Jones has strong ties to LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla., where one of the two premier courses at the inaugural LPGA International was designed by his firm. LPGA International Busan is Rees Jones’ first golf course project in Korea.

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