|Photo: Joann Dost|
Ted Robinson, Jr. Design Debuts in Stunning Natural Setting
(Chuncheon, South Korea) – One of the most dramatic golf courses to emerge in many years, Whistling Rock Country Club, opened Sept. 26 in Chuncheon, 50 minutes east of Seoul.
The club showcases 27 holes of world-class golf by renowned international golf architect Ted Robinson, Jr. The routing at Whistling Rock follows strategic elevation changes in mountain hillsides. Respecting the natural elements of the diverse landforms, Robinson has integrated 15 lakes into this design. These lakes are connected by numerous streams and several cascading waterfalls that not only enhance shot values, but define Whistling Rock’s striking aesthetics.
A creative combination of choices and challenges, Whistling Rock is a genuine golf adventure that poses enticing risk/reward scenarios throughout each nine for players at all ability levels.
“If you are playing the golf course from the back tees, it has every challenge you can possibly think of,” Robinson says. “It will test your skills. But it is also straightforward, with sets of tees for every player to have an opportunity to succeed on a golf course that is fun to play.”
An upscale, private country club, Whistling Rock has three nine-hole loops, each possessing its own distinctive traits, maintaining a strategic and artistic rhythm regardless of the order in which they are played. The loops are named Cocoon, Temple and Cloud for the three signature tea houses that grace the golf course. Each nine plays to par 36, with complementing yardages – Cocoon measuring a maximum of 3,571 yards, with Temple at 3,654 and Cloud at 3,646.
Integral to the design is Robinson’s capacity to vary the degree of challenge from hole to hole.
On the Cocoon nine, the demanding, uphill third hole (474 yards, par 4) is followed by a sharp dogleg (359 yards, par 4), where the green is reachable from the tee with a bold carry across bedrock-lined water. And while the green at the par-3 eighth hole is nearly encircled by sand, the fairway on the par-4 ninth is wide open.
On the Temple nine, the par-3 8th requires maximum distance (256 yards) and accuracy, but the 9th is a 376-yard par 4 that rewards a safe, short play off the tee. The 9th features one of the most identifiable points on the golf course – a suspension bridge that connects the fairway and green, stretching across a natural bedrock canyon high above the water below.
The Cloud nine revolves around a five-hole stretch called “The Glen,” a segment that represents so much of what makes Whistling Rock special: steep rock faces, elevated tees, cascading waterfalls, lakeside greens and dense forest throughout.
Whistling Rock has been developed by Donglim Resort Development Co., LTD., a subsidiary of Taekwang Group, a leading South Korean conglomerate with holdings in textiles, chemical, industry, cable television and financial services (insurance).
A spectacular clubhouse, designed by Francine Houben of Macanoo Architects (Delft, The Netherlands) is the anchor of club and has been inspired by beautiful mountain scenery. The building sits at the junction between the existing mountain ridge and the cultivated landscape of the golf course. Formally in contrast with its lush, undulating surroundings, the rectilinear clubhouse appears as a beacon from across the golf course. The building concept consists of two strong Travertine stone slabs floating above the surrounding landscape. Internal and external patios cross the stone slabs to create a diversity of outdoor spaces and art gardens.
The tea houses at Whistling Rock created as sculptural objects that vary from one another and serving as visual icons within the landscape, offer players a unique moment of relaxation during the round. Each tea house takes its cue from the natural surroundings and carries the theme of each nine.
Landscape architects Ken Alperstein and David Fisher of Pinnacle Design (Palm Desert, California) worked closely with Robinson, Houben and other consultants to create a customized plant palette and oversee construction details to meet the project’s specific requirements.
Pinnacle artfully blended the natural surroundings of the project site with the shaping of the golf course and positioning of the clubhouse. The planting of thousands of native trees, including, Japanese Red Pine, Korean Pine, native dogwood, oak and cherry, has reinvigorated the property. These species – mostly transplants from original growth on site – were grouped and placed in groves to maximize their influence on the natural appearance of the golf course.
The mountainous resort area of Chuncheon sits in a basin flanked by lakes and rivers. The town and its environs, a popular vacation and festival destination, is surrounded by Lake Uiam to the west, Chuncheon Lake to the north and, further east, massive Soyang Lake.
Membership to the country club is by invitation only.
For additional information, visit the Web site at www.whistlingrockresort.com.