Design Notes

Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner break ground on Florida’s Kinsale

Texas’ Big Easy Ranch opens its Chet Williams-designed Covey course; Nick Faldo aims to build in Laos

One of the holes at Kinsale Golf Club will be a Biarritz hole, a long par 3 based off No. 3 at the Biarritz Golf Club in France, which was dubbed “the chasm.”

The first phases of course construction are underway at Kinsale Golf Club in Naples, Florida, a project founded by Detroit native and long-time southwest Florida businessman Anthony Soave.

Soave has developed 174 acres of prime southwestern Florida land that will encompass the club's facilities, which will include a course designed by the renowned architecture team of Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner. Opening of the course is anticipated to be fall 2024.

"Our vision is that Kinsale Golf Club is a true golf club that will incorporate all the elements that provide our members with the experience that make them smile and want to talk about," said Soave, the club’s founder.

Kinsale, located in North Naples, was established from a love of the game but also out of a core understanding, appreciation and respect for the traditions, rules, and honorable nature that golf embodies.

The course is intended to have the look and feel of a links course with an almost limitless variety of challenges for golfers of all skill levels. It will operate with a membership of 250 from October through May of each year. The facilities will include an 18-hole golf course, driving range, teaching and short-game areas, practice putting green and a clubhouse.

Hanse and Wagner have earned industry merit for their masterful restorations of U.S. Open sites such as Winged Foot Golf Club, Merion Golf Club, Oakland Hills Country Club and Los Angeles Country Club among others, as well as original designs like Castle Stuart Golf Links, Streamsong Black, Ohoopee Match Play Club and the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro.

"Our vision is to build a fun and interesting golf course using C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor design philosophies as inspiration for our creativity," Hanse said. "The holes are not to be interpreted as replicas rather as a foundation for our design’s thought process and a basis of the course character. We’re excited to work with the Soave Team and being afforded the opportunity to create something unique for the Naples area."


Big Easy Ranch in Columbus, Texas, has opened its Covey course, designed by Chet Williams. Located roughly halfway between Austin and Houston, the 2,000-acre Big Easy Ranch is owned by Billy Brown, who gifted Williams with a site that features 80 feet of elevation change, creeks and mature oaks.

The 7,448-yard layout joins a par-3 course that was also designed by Williams. Fairways on the championship course are carpeted in Zeon Zoysia, while the greens are sporting TifEagle Bermudagrass.

Big Easy Ranch further enhanced its practice facilities, with a 9-acre driving range, putting green and three-acre short-game area.

The Lao Thatluang Investment & Development has signed Faldo Design Co., headed by Nick Faldo, to an agreement to design an 18-hole golf course in Thatluang Lake Special Economic Zone in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

The agreement was signed in Vientiane on April 26 by Huang Xiuwen, vice chairman of Thatluang Lake Special Economic Zone and Faldo.

"For companies settling here, in addition to providing an excellent, comfortable and convenient office environment, it also provides a high-end social activity venue for exercising and cultivating character," Xiuwen said, "which makes the Thatluang Lake Special Economic Zone the most ideal place for international companies to invest in Laos for living, working, leisure and making friends.”

The Thatluang Lake Special Economic Zone is entering a fast lane of development and the economic zone will inevitably become the center for tourism, business, entertainment and leisure in the Pan Asian Economic Circle, according to Xiuwen.

"I have been doing business in Korea for 30 years," said Kim Hyoenseok, chairman of You Eun 9 Sole. "During this period, we also cooperated with many countries. However, no country has endless possibilities compared to Laos, so I decided to invest $50 million U.S. Of course, this is just the beginning. I hereby promise to invest 100 more million U.S. dollars in the future to jointly develop with Laos."