The Mysterious gWest
A new golf course in Scotland has remained closed to the public for over 14 years. The facility, known as gWest or the "great enigma" of Scottish golf, was built next to the prestigious Gleneagles Hotel and Resort. Despite being completed in 2009, the course has never opened. Fans have dubbed it a "ghost course". The lack of public opening is attributed to financial uncertainty, political upheaval, and a secretive owner.
From Pipe Dream to Ghost Course
The development of gWest began in the 1970s when the owner, Mahdi Al Tajir, acquired land in Blackford, Scotland. Al Tajir, who was once considered the richest man in the world, made his fortune during the oil boom in the Middle East. After sitting on the land for 30 years, he decided to turn it into a championship golf course. Designer David McLay-Kidd praised the site as the best inland location for a golf course he had ever seen. The ambitious plans for gWest included a six-star hotel, exclusive homes, and top-of-the-line amenities. However, the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent events, such as Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, have prevented the project from moving forward.
Avoiding the Public Eye
Locals have reported encountering intimidating security guards and encountering obstacles like bulls or blocked public paths when trying to access the gWest site. The facility has remained a well-kept secret, with only a select few individuals, including professional golfers and acquaintances of the Al Tajir family, having had the opportunity to play the course. While the course appears ready for play from the air, closer inspection reveals that it requires further maintenance. The clubhouse also needs work and appears unfurnished at present.
The Future of gWest
The website for gWest still advertises it as an exclusive residential resort with an 18-hole golf course. However, the owner's son, Mohsin Al Tajir, has expressed doubts about the project's future. He mentioned that the family is not willing to invest further money into the project without a clear vision of what lies ahead. He also hinted at frustration with the local community's opposition to the development. Despite the uncertainties, the Al Tajir family remains open to properly developing gWest when the economy improves in Scotland.
Will gWest ever see a golf shot hit on its course? Only time will tell.
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