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Maldives’ first golf course

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Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa in Addu Atoll is due to open the first full-sized golf course in the Maldives on 27 March.

The nine-hole course sits on 7.5 hectares of previously undeveloped land. Designed for recreational golfers, most of the holes are par three and average 123 yards.

Amid concerns about the course’s environmental impact on the island’s ecosystem, a spokesperson from the resort said that fresh water would not be used to desalinate the greens and use of organic fertilizers would be kept to a minimum.

Tourism arrivals in the Maldives have nearly doubled in ten years, hitting a record of over 931,000 in 2011, a figure which is expected to grow again in 2012.

That has led to a boom in development on the islands, and in some cases off them — Shangri-La may be able to lay claim to the first golf course in the country, but it could soon be overtaken by a floating course first mooted last year.

The development plan, a partnership between Troon Golf and Dutch Docklands, calls for a $500 million floating island, which is set for completion in 2015.

According to the plans, golfers would be able to hop on a speedboat to get to the proposed site, which features 27 holes spread across three islands, all connected by underwater tunnels.

It is believed that the Maldivian government supported the idea of the floating course, noting that the project would be more environmentally friendly than reclaiming land, the tactics used by Dubai for its offshore developments.

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