$77M Golf Complex to Be Built on Uglich Bogland

German investors looking to give the country's burgeoning golf industry a boost are building a $77 million golf resort in Uglich, 240 kilometers north of Moscow.

The complex, which backers say will be the largest in Russia, is to include two courses -- one with 18 holes, the other with nine -- and will be built on "worthless" swampland near the Volga River, an Uglich city official said.

Invest Consulting, based in Idstein, Germany, has spent 4 million rubles ($150,000) on the project, Irina Korableva, spokeswoman for Uglich Mayor Eleonora Sheremetyeva, said in an e-mailed statement. It was unclear where the rest of the funding would come from.

The resort was made possible by a development partnership between Uglich and Idstein, the statement said.

"This is a unique place on the Uglich Reservoir," Invest Consulting president Roman Zuboch was quoted as saying in the statement. "The plot stretches 2 kilometers along a beautiful riverbank ... opens onto a view of the Volga, onto the most beautiful sunsets in the world."

Two hundred cottages will line the fairways; tennis courts, a yacht club and a pool with thermal waters "like in Bavaria" are also planned for the complex, which is to be used year-round, the statement said.

Construction of the 150-hectare complex is due to begin in the spring of 2007 and end by 2009, Korableva said.

Lev Klepatsky, president of Uglich Golf, the company that will run the complex, said that while the country's six existing golf clubs were private, Uglich would be open to the public.

Klepatsky said about 500 courses were planned around Russia in coming years. Nearly 30 are under construction.