Norman course planned for "futuristic development in Malaysia

Greg Norman has been hired to design a golf course for “a futuristic” gated community outside Johor Bahru in the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula.

Ulu Tiram will take shape on the 1,000-acre Sungai Layang Estate that’s just north of Johor Bahru, the capital of the state of Johor. It’s being developed by Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mohamed, the executive chairman of a huge Malaysian conglomerate called Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd.

At a recent press event, Abu Sahid said that developing the estate has long been his “dream.”

“The place has the sun, space, water, pristine and plush flora – it would be a sin not to develop it to its full potential,” he said in comments reported by Edge Property.

“Full potential” is what Ulu Tiram is all about. At build-out, the gated community will have villas and bungalows, a marina with 100 boat slips, a village center, a resort-style hotel, office space, a convention center, a private hospital and other medical facilities, a spa, an equestrian center, an international school and Norman’s 18-hole golf course.

Norman, who’ll also design a golf academy, has called the property “a magnificent site” and “one of the most beautiful sites I’ve seen.”

The community sounds pretty off-the-rack to us, but Abu Sahid has called it “a futuristic development integrating luxurious, contemporary living with high-technology, community-centric facilities.” Then again, on his company’s Web site, he describes himself as “a man of vision,” so maybe he’s seeing something that we can’t see.

Ulu Tiram Golf Club will feature Norman’s first in Malaysia, and it’ll face stiff competition. People have been playing golf in Johor since the 1920s, and today the state has more than two dozen golf properties, including tracks by Pete Dye and Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Perhaps its best known attraction is Legends Golf & Country Resort, which features courses by Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer.

Nonetheless, Norman has predicted that his course will stand among Johor’s best.

“We will guarantee that the project will be the shining light coming out of Malaysia,” he said at the press event.

Maju Holdings expects to break ground on the course in mid to late 2010, and it could open in early 2012.

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