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The Tiger Woods Foundation and Tavistock Group have announced that the Hero World Challenge, an annual tournament co-sponsored by the PGA TOUR, will be staged at the spectacular Ernie Els designed Albany in the Bahamas on 3-6 December 2015.

It becomes the fifth golf course in the Ernie Els Design portfolio to host a professional tour event, following The Els Club Dubai (Dubai Open Golf Championship), The Els Club Copperleaf (Tshwane Open), Anahita Four Seasons Golf Resort (Mauritius Golf Masters) and Wentworth West Course (BMW PGA Championship). Plans are also in the pipeline to bring an Asian Tour event to The Els Club Teluk Datai, which was voted the world’s best new golf course in 2015.

Albany, the luxury resort community in The Bahamas jointly owned by Joe Lewis of the Tavistock Group, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, is nestled within 600 oceanfront acres on the southwestern end of New Providence island and is fast becoming known as the ‘Monaco of the Caribbean’. The golf course, designed by Ernie and which opened for play in 2010, is a links-style championship golf course featuring five par-5s, five par-3s and eight par-4s.

“We had been in discussions with Joe Lewis and his team for some time about this opportunity before it was finalized,” remembers Ernie. “He’s a man for whom I have such a lot of respect and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work side by side with him. Right from the start you could see that Albany was going to be a very special place and in the initial site visits with our head of design, Greg Letsche, we quickly developed a vision of a links-style layout. We felt those types of playing conditions and shot values would suit its proximity to the ocean, where the wind would make the course play different from one day to the next.”

Ernie made approximately 15 site visits during the design and construction phases and says, “we’re thrilled with this golf course both from an aesthetic and strategic standpoint. The dunes look very natural and some of the out-of-play areas feature native grasses and plant materials, so it is the type of golf course that really looks like it belongs in its environment. That’s one of our core design philosophies.”

Ernie goes on to say, “we’ve had some wonderful feedback from people who have played the course; members of places like Shinnecock and Pine Valley – serious golfing connoisseurs – who just want to keep playing the course over and again. They’re very impressed. So too are a lot of my fellow tour professionals who have been to Albany – guys like Tiger, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Adam Scott. Some of them have bought homes and were here playing the course and using the incredible short game facility as preparation for last year’s Masters. Albany is that good! We’re excited that Tiger is bringing the Hero World Challenge here and we’re in no doubt that the players and the fans are in for an incredible week.”

Please click here for more information on the 2015 Hero World Challenge.

Ernie’s favourite holes at Albany…
“To my mind, the most memorable holes at Albany are the ones that are most links-like, where the greens are cut, almost pushed back, into the surrounding dunes. Hole No.2 stands out; it’s a par-3 cut into a dune and is quite reminiscent of the 13th at Muirfield in Scotland, one of my favourite courses.

“Then there’s the 7th, a short par-4 that plays right-to-left off a dune with fairway bunkers that are strategically placed in such a way that when the wind is out of the southeast you can carry them and perhaps reach the green. The 14th is another standout hole. The fairway moves from left to right through a dune and depending on the wind direction you can be very aggressive with your tee shot or lay back. I like the balance of risk and reward; I think it works really well.

Albany 15th Hole

“I’d say also the 15th (pictured above) which features the highest dune on the golf course. The green is semi-hidden from view, but again the more aggressive you are off the tee the more you see of it for your second shot. That’s one of the many really strong themes at Albany. The way we’ve angled some of the holes means golfers are going to have to play semi-blind shots over dunes and into tucked-away greens. That’s a new experience for a lot of our members and visitors who are maybe used to playing on, say, typical south-Florida golf courses.”

For more information visit the website:

Albany Beach House