After 90 tournament triumphs, 10 major victories, and $22 million in winnings, Annika Sörenstam, the best female golfer in history, quit the pro game in December. But the 38-year-old Swede isn't done with the sport yet. She wants to build a golf empire rivaling that of Jack Nicklaus. "I have an opportunity to be the first female to really make a mark in this industry," she tells TIME. For amateurs, that means the chance to play Sörenstam-designed courses and even get in a round with her.
Sörenstam's first design, the Annika Course, opened in 2003 at the Mission Hills resort in Shenzhen, China. The world's largest golf resort, Mission Hills (www.missionhillsgroup.com) has 12 courses and 2,500 caddies, all clad in red, a lucky color in China. The course Sörenstam came up with is the kind she likes to play: you'll need more precision than power and $110 for green fees to navigate this splendidly hilly layout.
Euphoria, Sörenstam's second course (www.euphoriaestate.co.za), opened in November in Limpopo, South Africa. Its website trumpets the fact that the course was designed for women, but the resort welcomes male players too (packages start at around $70). Sörenstam has created a layout that will test most golfers dozens of bunkers line the fairways, and a ball-devouring ravine menaces players on six holes. "By using different tees and changing the landing areas, I think you challenge everyone fairly," Sörenstam says.
Anyone feeling too challenged may want to check out the offerings at the Annika Academy near Orlando, Florida (www.theannikaacademy.com). Options range from $150 lessons with Sörenstam's sister Charlotta (also a pro) to a three-day golf binge that includes nine holes with Sörenstam herself. That costs $12,000. But a true fan and one canny golfer turned businesswoman knows the experience is priceless.