5 km from Siem Reap Airport, 3 km from city center
7,230-yard, par 72
Visitor green fee for 18 holes:
$120 (includes souvenir bag tag, course guide and 50 range balls)
The Angkor Golf Resort web site: angkor-golf.com
Nick Faldo web site: nickfaldo.com
The much-anticipated tee-off of Angkor Golf Resort's new PGA-standard championship golf course outside Siem Reap is about 10 weeks away, the resort's management predicts.
The project is already famous for its designer -- British golf legend Nick Faldo -- and enthusiasts from low handicappers to hacks have been waiting for years to hit these links.
"It's really looking good. It's about 85 percent finished: The grass is down on the fairways and greens and we'll be open in the middle of May and we have a tournament scheduled in June," said Angkor Golf Resort's public relations chief Grant Brachmanis. "All that's really left is finishing the clubhouse. We've already started caddy training and we're playing six holes a day."
The Faldo Design team began building the 18-hole, 72-par, 230-yard course in 2004. Faldo -- who won six Majors, including three Masters and three British Opens, during his 29 years of professional golf -- will be on hand for the official opening in September.
"I think we've created a great golf course, considering it's basically a flat site. We've managed to get plenty of movement and a lot of interest and enhance the natural features that were here," Faldo told local media in 2005.
"It's brimful of strategy, variety and interest," Faldo told Golf Digest. "It is located near the famous Angkor Wat world heritage site; it will be the first course in the area and will definitely put Siem Reap on the world golfing map."
Two of Faldo's other Asian designs are the Faldo Stadium Course at Mission Hills in Shenzhen, China, and Ocean Dunes near Phan Thiet, Vietnam. Recently, Faldo's Honghua International Golf Club in Beijing played host to the 2006 Volvo China Open and The Rock Golf Course in Ontario, Canada, was voted one of Golf Digest's best new courses of 2004. Industry standard financing for a course of this caliber is at least $1 million per hole.
"We're very proud of the Nick Faldo designed course and associated facilities, which we believe will be recognized as the best in Cambodia, and among the best in the region," said Rick Bucknall, general manager, in a speech at Angkor Golf Resort's 2006 British Open function.
Angkor Golf Resort will offer a clubhouse, a country club and a convention center. The project, guided by Indonesian developer Tony Tandijono, plans to tap into Siem Reap's skyrocketing tourist market and Asia's love affair with golf. Last year South Korean Ambassador Shin Hyun-suk -- whose country provides the most visitors to Cambodia -- was quoted as saying "Playing golf in Korea is very expensive -- more than $200 a game. Many Koreans visit China, Japan, the Philippines and Thailand to play. They should have golf course for Koreans here."
"The Korean market is very important to us. But if you look at Asia, golf is exploding everywhere. What we can offer is a more complete experience because of our facilities and the historical treasures of Angkor Wat," said Brachmanis. "The market is here already; we're providing something extra."
Recently, The FCC in Siem Reap was been named the first partner hotel for Angkor Golf Resort. "We want to create a whole new experience, a 'wow' experience, and we feel the FCC can create that experience with us," said Brachmanis. "It's a good fit: we're both similar in that we want to create a nice, relaxed, professional atmosphere."