Shangri-La to open Maldives’ first full size golf course

The Shangri-La Villingili resort in Addu Atoll is due to open the first full-sized golf course in the Maldives on March 27.

The nine hole course sits on seven-and-a-half hectares of previously undeveloped land at the southern end of Villingili Island.

Most holes par three and average 123.4 yards in length, and are set amongst the island’s natural veggetation including of palms, pandanus and other tropical plants. The course includes a clubhouse, refreshment bar and a pro shop.

“It’s a recreational course, not a professional course,” explained Shangri-La’s Assistant Communications Manager, Cristina Acenas. “It is accessible to beginners but advanced golfers will also enjoy it.”

Challenged about the environmental impact of a nine hole golf course on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the resort was quick to respond.

“The golf course uses salt tolerant Paspalum grass for its greens which thrives on available grey water and natural environmental factors existing in the Maldives,” Acenas explained. “Seashore Paspalum is used on golf courses worldwide and is said be the most environment-friendly among the types of grass used for golf courses.”

“A salt tolerant plant growing in sandy substrate is not going to need many nutrients, so it’s not so bad,” suggested a marine biologist consulted by Minivan News.

“The main worry would be using well water to irrigate the course, which would impact the island’s freshwater lens and other vegetation on the island,” she said.

Acenas explained that treated grey water from the island’s sewage treatment plant would be pumped into an irrigation dam constructed on site, “so no fresh water or fresh desalinated water is used to irrigate the greens, minimising waste and the carbon footprint associated with operating a full-sized golf course.”

A second concern raised by the marine biologist was the potential for run-off to wash fertiliser into the ocean, disrupting the nutrient balance of delicate reef ecosystems.

“They do have to be careful that nutrients don’t leech into reef,” she observed. “An increase in nutrients can great algal overgrowth that outcompetes corals and impacts reefs. It’s good they’re using a low nutrient plant, but they will need to keep a check on it.”

Acenas said that fertilisers used to maintain the course would be organic and used sparingly.

“It has been determined that the selected Paspalum turf cultivar will thrive well in the conditions present at Villingili. The Paspalum Grass through proper cultural practices should be sustained at healthy levels with minimal use of organic fertilisers and chemicals, and has a very high tolerance to salinity, more so than most weeds. This is a much healthier approach when considering the environment surrounding the course,” she told Minivan News.

The site will be subject to a biannual terrestrial monitoring by environmental consultants to assess fauna, flora and the impact of the course on their habitat, Acenas noted.

The golf course is located near a turtle nesting habitat (August – October), “and turtles can be seen coming to the surface all year round on this side of the island, especially on the ocean side from holes six to nine,” she added.

The marine biologist Minivan News spoke to observed that a golf course was probably a better nesting environment for turtles than a built up area because the course would lack light sources, which can cause females to become disorientated after laying eggs and crawl inland, rather than back out to sea.

Approval for the course was granted by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Housing and Environment, following following an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The Maldivian government in March 2010 signed a contract with Dutch Docklands of the Netherlands to develop a floating golf course and hotel in the Maldives.

Then Deputy Minister for Environment, Mohamed Shareef, said the floating golf centres would be “much better and more environmentally friendly than reclaiming land.”


20 thoughts on “Shangri-La to open Maldives’ first full size golf course”

  1. Are they setting up lights in the golf course to play at night? Or is it just to disorient the turtles?

  2. Not the first golf course,,we had that on RAF Gan.which never caused any environmental damage.Mind you we did not have to cater for the whims of big money tourists...

  3. Will this be a sharia compliant golf course I wonder? alcohol, no pork, no bibles, no ramayans, no idol worship, no women players, no immodest dress, no nudity and definitely no sex?
    Will the golf course be forced to shut down during prayer the construction industry?

  4. @Indira NewDelhi on Fri, 9th Mar 2012 1:23 AM

    Your sarcasm does not help any.

    Maldivians need guidance here. Now, all women are protesting for more freedom. They do not want to be dressed as penguins. Certainly don't want to be shared; one of four wives. Dont want to be bullied by a god-scared beardee.

    Yet they can't say that. They fear being rejected, outcast as an unbeliever. They know, that girls are, for all intents and purposes shackled, in fundamentalistic Islam.

    So under the pretense of democracy and support for Anni (who is the only one who can and will offer this freedom) the girls want the same thing as in any developed country. And the west knows this; hence the support given on all fronts.

    So, instead of being sarcastic, help in destroying the prison formed by the religious zealots.

  5. Sorry, but as a non-golfer, I fail to see the point of this. The western world is not exactly short of golf courses, so why fly 12 hours to play (and ignore the natural wonders of the Maldives while so doing?)

  6. @Postance

    Who know the whims of the rich, I'm guessing they have done market research into this, of course any cash made trumps environmental concerns.....

  7. Derek - The lack of golfing is the #1 reason high end luxury travellers reject the Maldives as a destination. Rich people often like to golf. Without getting too stereotypical, men say to their wives, "Book us anywhere in the world you like and as long as it has a golf course, I will be happy." Now all those rich people, who previously rejected the Maldives, can bring their money to the Maldives.

  8. Ahmed Asim,,99% of people are on your side as long as you keep the Maldives free.Try your best to join in with the free world,reject those Pakistani trained 'beardies'..It would only take one atoll to 'say-no'..Make it Addu..

  9. Ahmed Asim Bhai
    Right now you have only one fun of your Islamic Ministry and the stupid laws they come up with.....soon you will be the laughing stock of the world. Maldivians have recently deposed a democratically elected leader.....not a very clever move.....for a little hobbit with an islamist agenda.....Allah have mercy on you now!!.....are we going to see more public floggings of women??.....more deportations of 'infidel' guest workers for having bibles and ramayans in their luggage??.....more destruction of 'idolatrous' public monuments??.....more tedious Pakistani style protest marches to 'protect islam'??
    Maldivians have only two choices:
    1 Embrace secularism and democracy and join the booming economies of India and Sri Lanka.
    2 Embrace fundamentalist islam and join the failed states of Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan.
    Not a difficult choice really...........

  10. Dear Indira..Go back to New Delhi..Friendly advice perhaps..

    Dear Larry, It shudnt be addu, make it Fuvamullah coz Addu isnt capable to do anything..

  11. Indhira, my friend, now it is very clear for me that you are an infidel banished from your own country..Try moving to Lanka man..No place for you here..LOL

  12. Simba and Gatey
    I am in India you retards and living happily in New Delhi.
    What made you think I was based in Maldives?..... that is a scary prospect indeed. I wouldn't wish my worst enemy to be based in Maldives!!
    I am not Maldivian.....I am not sunni muslim.....and I live happily with my family in New Delhi.....gettit??

  13. @Indira Why are you giving people who seem to share your point of view, like Ahmed Asim, a hard time?

    Personally I believe The Maldives is in a state of "rapid evolution" now, but it will still take decades to see real results. At the end I expect to see more religious freedom and democracy.

    Wealth hopefully will increase too, although The Maldives still have a lot of problems to tackle. Overpopulation brings unemployment and low incomes, which creates unrest, ... And of course there is the environmental problem, including the climat change.

  14. @ Indira
    It is pretty clear who is the retard here. The guys who comment on their own country news or an outsider who is so frustrated with his country that he had to get involved in other country matters. am I right Indira?? LoL

    but I thank you for your interest in Maldives and we are very sorry that yu cant be a Maldivian. LOL.. May be in the next life as you believe..

    Chao Amigo!!

  15. @ Damien
    I don't want to be a Maldivian anymore than I want to be a Pakistani.
    You figure that out for yourself.
    By the way, I am a woman. You really are retarded.

  16. @Indira: Well said! just well said! i wonder if this golf course is just at all open to public or only guests? As then might be different rules we do hope!

  17. What a waste of money!!! What's the point of this other than to satisfy a few filthy rich!? Shame on you Shangri-La! Why not invest that money in a local community!

  18. Yes build a golf course, because golfing is the first thing anyone would want to do when they go to the Maldives.

    And about the islam stuff...
    I am a maldivian,
    I am a muslim.
    But I personally think that the Maldives is becoming very extremist.

    Nobody wants to have religion shoved down their throats but that is exactly what is happening.

    I think it is possible to have a religious government.
    The only problem is, most people in the world are too ignorant to figure uot how to do it right. I don't just mean Maldives - There's Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia...

    There was a time in the maldives when Islam wasn't so extreme - Women used to walk around topless but they were still muslims.

    But now that the idiot extremists are in charge, they're filling everyone's heads with idiotic, extremist bullshit.
    Women are inferior...Westerners are evil...Islam is superior to all other religions...

    These days, people can't even have Maldivian names. What the f*** is that about?
    These Haabee retards think that everything Arabic is automatically Islamic.

    Sometimes I don't know why I even care about the maldives. Stop wasting your time and money - You will sink no matter what you do. The world will be a slightly better place with a few more idiot extremists dead.

    The maldives' only hope is for someone intelligent to take over. So really, they have no hope at all.

    By the way I think its really funny that the comments section always turn into a political/religious debate no matter what the news article is about.


Comments are closed.