1st Quarter 2016

 

Welcome to 2016’s First Quarter Chronicle! 

As a current owner, you represent an invaluable member of the Kanantik family. Like us, you share a true love for Kanantik and the majesty of Belize’s stunning natural beauty and culture. With that in mind, we’ve listened closely to all of you with the goal of continuing to enhance and elevate the overall experience for you and your family. As I begin my introduction to this quarterly, I must note that the Chronicle for the last quarter of 2015 never made it to your inbox. Whilst I apologize for that lack of communication to you all, skipping the 4th quarter chronicle was certainly not intentional and I hope that you will find our reasons for doing so suitable. 

Towards the end of 2015, we found that we had outgrown our previous sales, marketing and administrative firm, Global Property Alliance (GPA), and have since enlisted the services and partnered with Precision Project Marketing (PPM). This all happened in the midst of a very busy holiday season!  The next thing we knew it was mid February and we were long overdue on our promise to deliver you the Chronicle, so the team got to work creating it. We’re very excited to say that through this process we’ve made a complete overhaul for who and how you will relate to Kanantik Belize. From an owners' perspective we can guarantee that you will get the answers and timely reporting you've requested. PPM is impeccably lead by its CEO, Geoff Smith, of whom I have a long association.  I could not be any more thrilled in which he and his team have navigated this transition to full time management of the sales, marketing and administration. I will be sending out a separate communication introducing Geoff and the PPM team in the coming weeks and how it relates to you as an owner.

From a guest services standpoint, through our Client Experience Team, we’ve curated a world class team specializing in guest experience that is dedicated to facilitating the very best ownership experience possible. Not only will they be available to answer any questions, assist in planning your visit and service your requests, but in partnership with PPM, they will reach out on a regular basis to keep you informed of all Kanantik Belize news and updates. In addition to improved guest services and communication, we’re also finalizing an exciting new owners manual, which will be every bit as beautiful as it is informative. You can expect to receive this between May & June. 

Lastly, from a branding perspective, you will notice a new and vibrant look to Kanantik Belize. Through the appointment of a new Chief Marketing Officer, Chanell Oliver, we’ve been hard at work updating the look and feel of Kanantik Belize through a new logo and brand new website to reflect the fresh image of the brand, all of which you’ll start seeing in the coming weeks. Please be patient with us as we make on-going revisions to the website, but we all feel that the website really captures the look and feel of Kanantik Belize without compromising its uniqueness and will be a fabulous resource for you to share with friends and family in the hopes that they too might want to call Kanantik Belize their home away from home, or future home!

Thanks to your input, we've made dramatic improvements at Kanantik Belize, and are looking forward to sharing the experience with you. Moving forward, we will continue to evolve and innovate that experience by implementing to your feedback.

With the upcoming breaking ground of the Kanantik Golf course, we have dedicated this quarter's chronicle to all things golf, we hope that you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Next month you can look forward to George Mock's Annual Report from the ground marking his first anniversary as our General Manager for Development and we look forward to reporting on lots more development activity as 2016 continues to unfold.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me and the team at your convenience.

All the best,

Luke


At the Heart of Kanantik 

A Casey O’Callaghan Championship Golf Course


Legend has it that the game of golf as we know it today started in Scotland on sheep grazed heather links where shepherds passed their time hitting stones with crooked walking sticks into gopher holes.  The rolling tufted grasses upon hill and dale, reeded pond, stony brook, briars, tree ridge and coastal sands were all native hazards presented by nature. The first course was land that eventually became managed as the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. The character of which remains derived from its history and natural charm and challenge. 
 


“The Almighty Man Himself had golf in His heart when He made this place.”
- Thomas Mitchell Morris

The Pioneer of Golf Course Architecture, referring to the natural condition of the site that would become Machrihanish Dunes built in 1879, and now considered to be one of the defining links courses of Scotland. Morris designed 23 natural holes, defined as those which fit so well into the natural landscape prior to construction that only minimal effort was required to ready them for play in terms of grading and shaping work.

Golf in its primal form was a metaphor for man navigating the perils of nature. The commonality of these storied and ancient courses – as well as later editions to the game like Pebble Beach, Spyglass and others – were their ability to appreciate and retain the character and quality of the land, wild and raw. It’s what makes great courses immediately recognizable not only as a place but attracts us to them as a destination.  Thereby, the quality and character of the hectares designated to be a golf course must speak to our innate sense of natural beauty and the challenges a native environment contextually would create and present.  To do otherwise is an unfair proposition to both the land and the game.

Golf is a sport played upon a living entity. To recognize the quality of the land systems and services as a value component to the game, is the ecological land ethic at its heart.  There’s a rare opportunity at Kanantik Belize to design and build a golf course in an era when the sport is re-finding its roots though dedicated best practice science and practices, such as Audubon International for Golf program.   Globally, courses are spending energy and resources to re-engineer decades of “nature under totalitarian rule”, in favor of more sustainable, cost-efficient and more enjoyable playing conditions. Like so many other examples of our ethic as a development, we at Kanantik are pursuing the creation of a course as an opportunity to plan once, spend once and do it right (sustainably) the first time.
 


 

The Win-Win Sustainability Movement in Course Design


The recent trend of “minimalistic courses” has refreshed the greatest of outdoor games, reconnecting player with true nature, a sense of place and harken back to the heritage of Scottish links courses on which the modern game originated. So rather than deranging and stressing natural resources to support a golf course, pressure is applied on the developer to find the right piece of natural ground, that has the character and qualities suitable for a course. When the right land is located: 
 
“Little earthmoving leads to fewer construction costs (and debt passed on to golfers), less disruption of the environment, and a “natural” look as the subtleties of the landscape are highlighted. However, the end result of many of these projects has been nothing short of environmental success stories.”
- Dr. Ben McGraw, SUNY Simple & Sustainable:
The Fascinating Shift of Golf Course Construction –June 2014
 
 

Beginning a Journey to the Links at Kanantik


The Cessna Caravan did its standard whirling pirouette at the end of Kanantik airstrip one fine sunny day in the Fall of 2014. As the prop fell silent, and the ladder dropped, off stepped the man of the hour, renowned golf course designer Casey O’Callaghan. With the enthusiasm of two kids, he and I jumped into a Range Rover and began our first boots-on-the-ground expedition of the 2,000 acre chunk of paradise that looked most favorable according to the Lidar and orthographic data on which the course had been penciled.


I must admit it was quite novel to survey the land alongside a golf course designer. Interesting was his interest in the existing inventories of grasses, sands, trees and water, and how these could be worked around, instead of plowed through. Standing on the proposed 16th fairway, Casey finally began nodding his head. Looking afar and contemplating with hands on hips, before him was the sea of savanna grass, clusters of Caribbean Pines and pocks of Palmetto clusters all rolling gently into winding walls of thick green jungle in the middle-ground. The distance dominated by the imposing Maya Mountain Range.  After taking it all in for a moment, he remarked, 
 

“There are other golf course developers who spend millions to create the features Kanantik Golf Course has naturally. All we have to do is work around them and this will be world class golf.” 

- Casey O'Callaghan

> Play Casey's Video

 

Success. Like a modern day forest shaman, Casey had just confirmed what we’d all hoped - we had found the piece of land that wanted to be a golf course. A less visionary Developer would have taken the conventional route and chosen a marginal, inappropriate piece of land and with dozers and fertilizer tortured both the land and the background natural resources to install a course on top of an unwilling ecology.  After completion and the developer long gone, the cost of the lost resource services is paid in utilities, inputs, management and green fees to maintain a piece of land that is literally on perpetual life support. But the times are changing, and while courses worldwide are spending twice to remodel courses to be more sustainable, we at Kanantik will create an ecological and efficient cost-to-build-and-operate course that will endure and entice golfers with the beauties of Belize. 
 


Since that fine day until the end of 2015, it’s been quite the masters class in all the disciplines that must be assembled in order to design a first rate golf course abroad. Many of the goods and services that golf course designers and contractors take for granted in the U.S. marketplace, must be sourced and accounted for in tropical Belize. It’s great to be first at anything, but there’s quite a bit of team building and trailblazing required to design and budget a first of its kind championship golf course in Belize.

Overlay on these challenges a special Environmental Compliance Plan issued specifically for the course by the Belize Government and Casey and I truly had our respective hands full.  In 2015 Casey coordinated three major charets, one in Belize, one in George Mock’s hometown of Houston Texas where we met with engineers; and the grand finale’ – a design and budget summit in December at Irvine California.
 


One  of the larger aspects of team building was the process of finding the contractor who could: 1) work well in companion with our GM George Mock and land planner Bob McMahon; 2) and was able to execute Casey O’Callaghan’s vision for the course.  The entire development team was impressed by Casey’s recommendation of Mark Malanado who had significant experience delivering top notch golf courses internationally, including Mexico.  The first step was to introduce Mark to the parcel he would be in charge of transforming.

“After walking all 18 holes, I was surprised as to how great a site it is to construct a golf course. The property’s ability to go from savanna to jungle and back again, along with its streams and near by mountains, gives you the feeling of being alone with nature.”  Mark said of his initial impressions.

About building courses overseas, Mark says: Its always been a wonderful experience and a great personal challenge, (the challenges for which are) the International constraints for access to golf course building materials and experienced golf course construction personnel willing to live abroad. 

Mark reports his peers in the industry are surprised and excited at the news of a course being built in Belize, “It's the first champ course in the country of Belize and I feel lucky enough to be involved in its construction."


 

Looking ahead toward Permitting and Beyond

By the close of 2015 we achieved our goal of completing the design and construction package specifications, budget and expression our environmental compliance plan in accord with the National Environmental Assessment Committee’s terms of reference.  Next comes the work of navigating the various ministries in order to achieve the permitting required to begin the works.

Meanwhile, George Mock is scoping and bidding out the clearing and shaping work with local large earth work vendors. The exercise was head up by George and Mark and was a learning experience that included practice clearing two fairways. Since most earthwork companies in Belize are used to making things flat  (roads and farms), it was a departure of their standard costing estimates to create something decidedly and engineered to specifically be not flat.   It was a great tech transfer exercise that George will undoubtedly be reporting on in the near future.
 

Course Ambassador

Brendan Steele - PGA Tour Pro


Perhaps there’s no opinion more valuable than that of a player’s player. Accordingly, the course embassador Brendan Steele was invited to see the “before” course, and walked all 18 with Casey and Luke one fine weekend in February 2016. His opinion captured the same magic that Casey felt the first time he stepped on the property in late 2014.
 

"I couldn't be more impressed with the property at Kanantik and the job that Casey O'Callaghan is doing to utilize the environment and create an experience unlike anything I've ever seen.”
Brendan Steele - PGA Tour Pro & Course Ambassador
Follow Brendan on the PGA Tour here: @brendansteelegolf

 

PGA Career
 

Brendan Steele is an American professional golfer from California currently playing on the PGA Tour. Steele turned professional in 2005 and played on the Golden State Tour, winning four times. In 2006 and 2007, he played on the Canadian Tour, where his best finish was second at the 2006 Telus Edmonton Open. He began playing on the Nationwide Tour in 2008. In 2010, he won the final event of the season, the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island. This win moved him from 30th to 6th on the money list which earned Steele a PGA Tour card for the 2011 season. In 2011, Steele won his first PGA Tour event at the Valero Texas Open by one stroke by holing a seven-foot par putt on the 18th. Steele was the third PGA Tour rookie to win in 2011. In addition to a $1.1 million payday and a Tour card until the end of 2013, Steele’s victory earned invites to The Players Championship, Bridgestone Invitational, 2011 PGA Championship, and the 2012 Masters. The win also moved Steele from 115th to 19th in the FedEx Cup standings.
 



The Pursuit of Worldclass

Audubon International Cooperative Certification


Lofty words and notions are gossamer unless supported by valid consistent action. Therefore, the Kanantik Golf Course Design Team recently decided to get involved in an exciting environmental design and management program for the Kanantik Reef & Jungle Resort Golf Course designed by Casey O'Callaghan. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) provides information, guidance, and support to help golf courses conduct proactive environmental projects that benefit people and the environment. We have many sound environmental practices in place already and this program will help us expand upon these and gain recognition for our efforts. 

Even though Casey O’Callaghan’s specifications already meet most if not all of the requirements for the Audubon Certification, Casey says “This certification will highlight and promote the environmentally sensitive approach that we are taking to construct the golf course.  The certification simply allows us to advertise that we are an environmentally sensitive project and that we are building the course to the highest environmental standards.”

As the Kanantik Sustainability and Compliance Director I will be assisting Casey and the golf course design team's effort to fashion best management practices (BMP's) for the course's approval and permitting by the Government of Belize. The decision to adopt the such a high standard as the ACSP provides, should go a long way to satisfying DoE and LUA. It’s also great working alongside golf course contractor Mark Malanado who is proactively interested in the mitigation metrics during the construction process. In Mark’s own words “Audubon International is a great addition to the project.”

The Audubon program addresses five key environmental quality areas: Wildlife and Habitat Management, Chemical Use Safety and Reduction, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management, and Outreach & Education.

Our first step is Environmental Planning. During the upcoming months, we’ll be conducting a Site Assessment and Environmental Plan to tell Audubon International staff about our organization and the types of projects we want to pursue. They will then have a better sense of who we are and what our goals are.

Over time, once we have implemented a variety of projects in each environmental component, we can apply to become a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Golf Course. This exemplary distinction is a international recognition of environmental excellence bestowed on organizations that are taking a leadership role in conservation projects. It's a program backed by the USGA. 

Environmental quality is important to our golf course and the Kanantik design team, but it’s a matter of economics too…. our owner’s economics!  Audubon courses are more efficient to operate and sought after to play. That’s a proven fact. Keeping a poorly designed course on life support is costly.  Call us old fashioned, but we like to do it right the first time, respectful of the background ecology, and the long term value of the course. A gentle touch on the land that invites natural systems into the design, keep the land both beautiful and functional into perpetuity.


> Play Ken Ussenko's Video
 


 

Conservation

At the end of the year, Landscape Director Randy Navaro paired up with the guys at Scarlett Six Biomonitoring Team, under authority of Belize Audubon Society, to do the first of a series of bird census operations to collect background data and monitor our impact on native bird habitat. This exercise was the first in a strategy to actually improve the bio-habitat for nesting of endangered birds in the golf course area and greater Kanantik development. These findings are part of the basis we will be using to achieve Audubon International Golf Course certification.  Here were the findings from a mere two hour walk of the golf course!


> View Bird List


 


Introducing the newest member of our Client Experience Team

Jessica Moran
 

What an exciting opportunity it is to be a part of the Kanantik Belize community!  I am thrilled to join this incredibly creative, motivated, insightful and fun team of professionals.  For the last five years, I have seen this project grow out of the imagination and hard work of some very talented individuals.  As a friend, I have been intrigued by the vision of this team.  Now that I have joined them, I am inspired by their dedication, integrity and ingenuity.   Whether you have been an owner for some time or you are just joining us, I look forward to beginning conversations with you.

Prior to joining Kanantik Belize, I was a public school teacher.  I am the mother of three young, energetic boys.  I am eager to contribute to and support your experience as an owner in our community.  In future editions of the Kanantik Chronicle, I will focus on specific questions that you may encounter as the owners within this community.  Between publications, I look forward to discussing this amazing piece of paradise with you! 


jessica@kanantikbelize.com
Office: 949-334-9176

Welcome back Chad

Welcoming back a leader, colleague and friend


After taking most of 2015 off for medical reasons, we are absolutely ecstatic to welcome back Mr. Chad Harting to resume his old post as our Tour Director in Belize.

Chad has been with the company nearly 4 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience not only with our tour function but general construction as well.

Chad joined us last month in February for his first tour back and it was as if he never left. Whilst on tour, all of our Belizean family welcomed him back with open arms and I hope those of you who have met Chad on our tours will join me in welcoming back an integral member of our team.