Jack Nicklaus’ company to potentially design Turkmenistan dictator’s golf course

By pocketwiley [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The design company founded by Jack Nicklaus could potentially build the new golf course planned in Turkmenistan’s desert terrain.

Turkmenistan’s president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov received the legendary American golfer this week to discuss the potential venture. The course will be the first high quality golf resort in Central Asia. Negotiations are in place to have the course completed ahead of the Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat in 2017.

According to the official government website, Berdimuhamedov highlighted plans to “undertakes actual measures for popularization and development of different sports, wide involvement of the population and first of all of youth into physical training and sport movement.” The press release added that Nicklaus “confirmed high interest of the USA business structures including his own company in expansion of established mutually beneficial relations with Turkmenistan, which pursues its foreign policy course based on open door principles and constructive international cooperation.”

Nicklaus Design‘ specializes in golf course designs and remains a family-owned company. As of 2015, the company designed more than 405 courses in 41 countries and across the United States. Nicklaus was personally involved in the design of 294 of those courses.

While Nicklaus’ venture will likely prove to be a lucrative one, Berdimuhamedov is a controversial figure with dictatorial power in his country. He reigns over a country with one of the world’s largest reserves of natural gas and significant untapped wealth. Nicklaus, however, has previously worked in that region of the world, building golf courses for various oligarchs in the Moscow region. One of those courses is owned by metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska, which cost approx. $30 million to build and $300,000 in club membership fees per year.



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