Peter Thomson, five-time British Open Champion and principal of Thomson Perrett and Lobb Golf Course Architects, has described the desert site at Ain Al Emarat – location of his first signature golf course in the Middle East – as one of the best he’s seen in his 40-year golf course design career.
Thomson visited the site, with partners Ross Perrett and Tim Lobb, while in the UAE to attend the launch of the residential project and golf course by developer Al Qudra Real Estate, at Cityscape Dubai, the world’s largest business-to-business real estate and property exhibition.
Mr Thomson said, “The land at Ain Al Emarat is magical, pure links land with no vegetation. We could instantly see marvellous golf holes in these undulating dunes, and there was great excitement, as this site has the potential to become a truly great golf course.”
The Australian design team drove through rolling sand dunes to inspect the course layout and reconfirm the location of green complexes, which Thomson says will benefit from bold natural contours and stunning landforms.
“The land is so natural and you can see potential for holes from all the classic British links courses. It truly is a golf course designer’s dream, and hopefully we won’t need to move very much earth, and will leave it all up to nature to design the course,” he added.
The course is situated in sight of mountains and close to the oasis city of Al Ain, the second city of the Abu Dhabi emirate, and known as ‘The Garden City of the Gulf.’ The design team fine-tuned their original layout and confirmed routing plans ready for construction to begin early in 2008.
The golf course is the centrepiece of a massive residential and leisure development for 120,000 people, designed by global architecture practice HOK, creators of the Wembley and Emirates stadia in London. Ain Al Emarat has already received a prestigious award for ‘Best Masterplan,’ at the 2007 Building Exchange Awards in Spain.
Thomson Perrett & Lobb is currently designing and managing projects in Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Thomson Perrett & Lobb www.tpl.eu.com