Phnom Penh – Golfing great Arnold Palmer confirmed his company will build a 36-hole golf course in Cambodia, an official from Cambodia’s Sokha Hotels said Wednesday.

Arnold Palmer Design Company had been retained to build the course at the new 1-billion-dollar resort development by the Sokha group at the former French colonial Bokor Hill Station Resort, project manager Svay Vuthy said.

‘This was the company’s plan so we signed him. He is the best in the US and we want the best golf course in Cambodia,’ Vuthy said.

‘The plan is for the course to cover 200 hectares with 36 holes, but we will start by opening an 18-hole course so we can assess and observe the conditions. Construction is due to begin next year.’

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is perhaps the only world leader to list his golf scores on his personal website, and the Cambodian elite, as in most of Asia, is golf crazy.

There is even a Korean-managed public putting range in the centre of the Cambodian Senate’s grounds.

Cambodia is also aggressively chasing the high-end tourist dollar, and golf courses have mushroomed across the country in the past five years as the country enjoys peace and economic stability.

Palmer, 78, is among the great golfers of all time, winning seven major championships during his career, which began in the 1950s, and being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

His successful design company has designed 300 golf courses to date, according to his website, and prides itself on being in tune with the environment – an attractive trait for Bokor, which lies in a national park, around 200 kilometres from the capital.

Vuthy did not disclose the total cost of the course.