Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club sports an 18 hole Championship course and a ‘fun’ par 3 course. The par 4 354-yard 17th and the 421-yard 18th skirt the boat-filled Dubai Creek. The Emirates Club boasts both the Majlis course and Faldo’s floodlit course. Majlis was the first grass Championship course in the Middle East when it was built in 1988, it hosts the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Together with Jumeirah’s Earth and Fire Dubai is not short of world class courses.
However, the tiny island state of Abu Dhabi is determined to outdo it’s glamorous neighbour. Although it holds 10% of the world’s oil reserves (92 billion barrels as opposed to Dubai’s 4 billion) it is trying to attract investment, offering exclusive golf packages including the 7 hr flight from Heathrow, and two new courses designed by Kyle Phillips and Gary Player.
It’s a far cry from golf’s beginnings in the Middle East, when the greens were ‘browns’ consisting of oiled sand and players carried their own bit of Astroturf to tee off from.
PAUL CASEY WON the Valspar Championship on March 10th, nearly 9 yrs after his first PGA tour win. Now ranking No. 13 in the world, he has rejoined the European Tour after relinquishing his card in 2015 citing family reasons for being unable to play both tours. Paul wants to play in the Ryder Cup. Although he was on the winning team in 2 of his 3 previous Ryder Cups Darren Clarke could not pick him for Hazeltine. However, this year Captain Thomas Bjorn is said to be anxious to get him on board, so now with Paul eligible, McIlroy on form, Justin, Sergio and Jon Rahm our chances of regaining the Ryder Cup are improving. We just have to dish up some dodgy escargots for the USA team at the Paris pre-match dinner.
AT THE VALSPAR Championship Patrick Reed’s hopes of an outright win were dashed as his 45ft putt toiled all the way up the hill to the green then rolled all the way back down to his feet. Shame, couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.
RORY McILROY’S five birdies at Bay Hill were made with a Taylor Made TP Black Copper Soto, and Paul Casey’s Scotty Cameron 009 gave him six birdies at Valspar. (In case you wanted to treat yourselves.)
IN 1900, THE BIBLE manufacturing district in Lower New York City was where preachers would stand on the sidewalk, shouting passages from the Bible, followed by a great many “Amen’s.” It inspired a jazz record: “Shouting at Amen Corner.” When Arnold Palmer won the 1958 Masters after extricating himself from difficulties on the 11th, 12th and 13th holes, it inspired sports writer Herbert Warren Wind to christen the holes by that name.
BRANDT SNEDEKER’S WIFE, Mandy, busy organising a weekend birthday party for her daughter Lily, asked him to order a birthday cake and take it to the little girl’s school to be shared with her classmates. Brandt duly turned up at school with cake, but on opening the box he found the words engraved in icing: “Happy Birthday Billy”. As his wife said: “I gave him one job ………”
THE VICTORIA GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB, Sri Lanka, is rated among the world’s 100 Most Beautiful Golf Courses. Sri Lanka, according to the travel agents, is the latest unspoilt paradise scheduled to be decimated (sorry, discovered) by tourists, after 20 years of civil war. Situated 90 miles from Colombo, and surrounded by tea plantations and jungle, the Victoria Resort has recently been taken over by industry leaders Troon International, and since they are also responsible for Las Colinas we can expect to see the Victoria Resort listed as Sri Lanka’s Best Golf Resort next year.
SERGIO GARCIA and his wife Angela are the proud parents of a baby girl, and the reigning owner of the green jacket has chosen an Augusta-themed name for his first- born, calling her Azalea. Poor kid, good job he didn’t win at Bay Hill, they had a lovely show of Geraniums.
Until next time, Happy Golfing.