“I would love to see the game grow to a hundred million people, because I’m so passionate about all the game has given me.” – Greg Norman
For much of the 1980s and 90s, Greg Norman was the best golfer on the planet, spending an amazing 331 weeks as the world’s No. 1-ranked player. His go-for-it attitude was exciting, and although he enjoyed a few tremendous victories, he also suffered heart-breaking defeats. But win or lose, I remember him as gracious. In victory he did not gloat; in defeat he did not settle for excuses. He owned his performances, and in that regard he is one of the people I most respect in golf.
Norman was then, and he is now, a strong proponent of the international game, going so far to advocate for a World Tour back in the 1990s, as well as being a strong and early supporter of The Presidents Cup. His commitment to the international game nowadays extends to his relationship with the China Golf Association, for whom he is helping to develop a Chinese team to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, and also advance the game in China well beyond the Games. Of those 100 million golfers he speaks of, many, he envisions, will come from China.
Troon is also committed to the international game, with courses managed in close to 30 countries around the world and counting. Several articles in this issue illuminate Troon’s international presence, including two of the newest facilities in the portfolio: Fairmont St Andrews in Scotland (page 22), and Sandals Emerald Reef Golf Club in Grand Exuma, Bahamas (page 48), where guests will find a Norman-designed gem of a course extending into the Caribbean Sea. We also feature the “Queen of Los Cabos Golf,” Palmilla Golf Club (page 42) in Los Cabos.
One look at the World of Troon Directory in the back of the issue (page 54) will verify what an international game it truly is these days. From Australia to Azerbaijan, from Morocco to Malaysia, Troon’s portfolio is as impressive as it is varied. If someone were to take it upon themselves to visit every one of the close to 250 Troon courses worldwide, what an experience they would have!
And of course we cannot overlook the United States, where the recent edition of Honours Golf brought 17 excellent new facilities into the Troon network. We feature one of those destinations in this issue, The World Golf Village (page 28), where two very enjoyable courses are bolstered by the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum, making it a golf trip well worth taking.
In Troon’s home state of Arizona, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (page 46) has undertaken some renovations that have elevated an already highly ranked course even further; and in Northern California, Yocha Dehe Golf Club (page 34) continues to impress visitors with its rural charm and idyllic setting.
Norman, who has enjoyed a long friendship with Troon Chairman and CEO Dana Garmany, today serves on the board of directors of Troon and has become a minority investor in the company. With a share dedication to the growth of the game and a belief in its international appeal, the Norman/Troon relationship is just another example of “going for it” and winning!
George Fuller, Editorial Director
This originally appeared in the 2015 Edition No. 2 of Troon Golf & Travel.