Sorenstam’s golf design business picking up steam

Annika Sorenstam was in Turkey last week, collecting an award and checking out the site of her latest design commission.


The award came from KPMG’s golf advisory practice, which asked Sorenstam to headline its golf development bash in Belek. In recent years the Swedish golf legend has branched out into Annika-branded clothing, perfumes and wines – not to mention financial services and online retailing – and that was more than enough reason for KPMG to name her Golf Entrepreneur of the Year.


Like Greg Norman, who appears to be her role model, Sorenstam has also branched out into golf design – a venture that’s picked up steam of late. So far, Sorenstam has completed two new courses, one at the massive Mission Hills complex in Shenzhen, China and another at Euphoria Golf Estate in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Last year she picked up four projects in Asia, including an 18-hole course at Mines Golf City in Bukit Keruntung, Malaysia and a 27-hole complex at Golden Bay Golf Resort in TaeAn, South Korea.


Now Sorenstam has picked up her first project in Europe. She’s agreed to design an 18-hole track in Belek, the coastal region that’s become Turkey’s favorite golf destination. The course will be part of Olivion Golf Resort, which will eventually consist of a boutique hotel, a village square and a sports academy.


The resort is being developed by Bekay Property Partners, an Istanbul-based hotel developer. Bekay owns at least a half-dozen hotels in Turkey, most of them operated under the Radisson brand. As luck would have it, Haluk Kaya, one of Olivion’s developers, was a featured speaker at KMPG’s Golf Business Forum.


Bekay expects to break ground on Sorenstam’s course in the spring of 2011. The track is being ghost-designed by Stan Eby of European Golf Design, a firm based in Sunningdale, England.


Sorenstam is represented by IMG World, the Cleveland, Ohio-based golf conglomerate. IMG and the PGA European Tour co-own European Golf Design.


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