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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Famed US golfer Arnold Palmer to design Bokor golf course

Famed US golfer Arnold Palmer to design Bokor golf course

Famed US golfer Arnold Palmer to design Bokor golf course

American golfing legend Arnold Palmer has confirmed his

company is designing two 18-hole golf courses for the Sokha Hotel group's $1

billion makeover of the decaying, French-colonial-era Bokor Mountain resort.

"From the preliminary design stages to course opening

will be two years – this is a fast track project, [Sokha Group] would like to

move forward quickly," John Hamilton, vice president of Arnold Palmer

Design Company, told the Post on June 9.

The aim is to create a "world class golf

experience" amid the jungles of Bokor
Mountain, preserving as much as

possible the topography and minimizing environmental impact to the area, Hamilton said.

The courses will be Cambodia's

fifth and sixth sets of luxury links, and will sit at the foot of BokorMountain,

in Kampot province.

The Kingdom is keen to take advantage of the golf mania that

has recently swept Southeast Asia, which has

been cashing in on a worldwide golf tourism boom that last year was valued at

$20 billion.

About 50 million golfers are estimated to roam the world on

an annual odyssey to find new, relatively undiscovered greens, and Cambodia looks

set to capture a good chunk of this market over the coming decade.

Sokha Hotels are a key player in Cambodia's booming tourism

industry. The Bokor
Mountain redevelopment is

the group's most ambitious project to date. The project will seek to transform

the crumbling, fog-swept ruins at the mountain's top into a modern luxury

tourist resort.

The group is also inaugurating construction of a 500-room

hotel on the Chroy Changva peninsula in Phnom

Penh in July this year.

"Tourism is the number one priority sector for the

future and a major sector for investment," Sok Kong, founder and owner of

Sokimex, Sokha Group's parent company, told the Post in an interview on June 9.

"The company's focus is shifting to tourism, and we

have already signed an agreement on the design of the golf course on BokorMountain,"

Sok Kong said.

Palmer, 78, is one of golf's legends. He has won seven major

championships over the course of his career, which began in the 1950s.

 

He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

His design company has crafted 300 golf courses to date, according to the

company’s website. The company prides itself on being in tune with the

environment, Hamilton

said.

 

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