Thanks to the wealth and prestige of many of its enthusiasts, golf is a sport that has secured some of the world's most prime real estate in order to create venues of surreal proportions. But even in a field of seaside, alpine and red-rock vistas, a new course being planned for the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean is going to stand like a God among men.
You see, the course is going to get even closer to the ocean than the average seaside country club--it's going into the ocean. A corporate team-up of Troon Golf, Waterstudio.NL and Dutch Docklands is designing an 18-hole course that will consist of a series of platforms planted in the ocean. Each platform will contain two or three holes and will be connected to the next platform via an underwater tunnel. Tunnels will also connect the course with seaside hotels.
So yeah, some particularly wealthy dudes will soon be able to drive and putt on the middle of the ocean. Hopefully, they'll dole out an extra mulligan or two for large waves. And hopefully, they're planning on using lobster-shell golf balls to cut the footprint.
Speaking of cutting the footprint, the golf course will make use of one of the Maldives' most abundant resources: sunlight. It will be fully solar-powered with zero footprint. Extreme tree huggers might argue that a giant hunk of floating golf course sitting in the ocean is pollution in itself, but we'll let them make that argument.
The project actually has a more benevolent purpose than just lining the pockets of some creative developers (though I'm sure there'll be plenty of that too.) Due to their low elevation, the Maldives are facing a potential crisis from rising ocean levels. In fact, parts of the islands' coasts have already started eroding, and Greenpeace estimates that the islands would be competely submerged with just one meter of rising sea level.
So the Maldive government plans to use the golf course, which will sit just a few minutes from its aiport, to drum up tourism, with money going to purchase land in other countries to provide a refuge for those displaced by climate change and rising sea levels.
Waterstudio.NL is a Netherlands-based architectural firm and Dutch Docklands specializes in floating architecture. Troon Golf is the golf management company that will oversee the actual golf aspect of the course. The $500 million project will be completed by 2015.
Press Release via Wired