Friday, January 4, 2013

A Floating Golf Course In the Middle of the Ocean

Global warming is affecting different parts of the world at different rates, and, therefore, is affecting the golf world at different rates.

The country of The Maldives - 26 atolls, 1,192 (mostly tiny) islands in the Indian Ocean - feels the rush of climate change much more urgently than you and me. That's because the Maldives is disappearing - literally - beneath the rising ocean waters.

Some other island nations have made plans to evacuate as their homelands fall beneath global-warming-fueled rising seas. But those plucky Maldivians have another plan: Replace their disappearing natural atolls and islands with man-made, floating islands.

This might sound like a far-out, far-off idea. But it's not. Construction begins this year, and plans include a golf course.

(Graphics: dutchdocklands.com)

Pioneering architectural firm Dutch Docklands is designing the man-made islands, which will support homes, businesses, restaurants, hotels, convention centers and, yes, a golf course called The Royal Indian Ocean Club.

London's Daily Mail outlined the project in mid-2012:

In the Maldives, the floating islands will be anchored to the seabed using cables or telescopic mooring piles, making landforms that are stable even in storms.

The architects chose this approach to minimise damage to the seabed, and also chose to build lots of small islands to reduce the shadow on the seabed, which could affect wildlife.

The islands will be constructed in India or the Middle east to reduce costs, then simply towed to their final destination in the Maldives.

... (Dutch Docklands) CEO Paul van de Camp said: "We told the president of the Maldives we can transform you from climate refugees to climate innovators."

... The first part of the project to be built will be the golf course.

"This will be the first and only floating golf course in the world - and it comes complete with spectacular ocean views on every hole," said van de Camp.

"And then there's the clubhouse. You get in an elevator and go underwater to get to it. It's like being Captain Nemo down there."

Some of the holes are expected to be in place by the end of 2013, with a full launch of the floating golf course in the middle of the ocean expected by 2015.

The Dutch Docklands website includes a section about the floating Maldives golf course. Among other info, it says this:

"The design will include many interesting water features where some of the holes on the island will be interconnected by a revolutionary underwater tunnel. In the tunnel you will be surrounded by tropical fish, manta rays and maybe the odd whale shark. ... The underwater clubhouse includes a well-equipped golf shop, restaurant and bar to cater to the discerning golfer."

Troon Golf, a worldwide leader in golf course management, is on board as a consultant to the project.

If they actually pull this off, the Maldives won't just survive as an independent nation in the Indian Ocean, it will become a must-see for golfers and others travel enthusiasts.

In fact, this guy might even show up:

On the other hand, this guy might show up, too, and if he does - run! And alert a course marshal:

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