BIG PLANS: Hong Kong-based developer Feng Di is the new owner of Noosa Springs Resort.
BIG PLANS: Hong Kong-based developer Feng Di is the new owner of Noosa Springs Resort. John Mccutcheon

Asian firm takes over at Noosa Springs

A HONG Kong-based developer has bought the Noosa Springs Golf Course with the aim of luring the lucrative Asian golfing market to the region.

Noosa Springs Investment Pty Ltd, a related entity of Golden Horse Nine Dragon Lake Holdings, finalised the purchase of the family-owned Noosa Springs Golf Course yesterday.

The 97 staff will retain their jobs.

Chairman Feng Di said Noosa provided the "perfect location" for the 1000 golfing members the firm already had on its books through its developments in China.

The purchase of Noosa Springs comes only a month after Dragon Lake finalised the purchase of the Links Hope Island Golf Club on the Gold Coast.

Mr Feng said Australia's good weather and clean air would provide a perfect environment to attract Asian golfers.

Dragon Lake owns two 27-hole golf courses in China, including the world-recognised Dragon Lake Golf Club which hosted the Asian Games in 2010.

International golfing group IMG, a world-recognised authority for developing global golf and leisure facilities, is in partnership with Dragon Lake and will be involved with Noosa Springs.

IMG also manages golfers Ernie Els and Annika Sorenstam among others and is the organiser behind Australia's largest golfing event, the Australian Masters.

Senior director of operations, golf course service, Neil Coulson said IMG had not been involved with the Sunshine Coast "for many years" and was looking forward to new opportunities.

IMG Golf also manages, operates or consults for more than 30 professional events worldwide, including 15 LPGA and PGA tour events.

Mr Feng already has flown a group of Asian golfers to sample the course.

In addition to the purchase of the golf course from the Starkey family, Noosa Springs Investment also has acquired the adjacent 23 vacant lots of the Oasis residential enclave.

Mr Feng hopes to develop this into a "high-quality" development. Plans are still in the "design" stage.

Alan Starkey, the former owner and founder of Noosa Springs, paid tribute to his wife Beth and thanked God for the opportunity as he reluctantly handed over the reins.

The Starkey family enterprise StarCo bought the 103-hectare property in 1992 and transformed it into an award-winning residential resort.

StarCo has retained two sites south of the clubhouse and plans to develop them further.