Gary Player to design Saadiyat golf course
Abu Dhabi, July 23, 2007
Golfing legend Gary Player is to design the first of two championship golf courses planned for Saadiyat Island.
The 27 sq km island, offshore Abu Dhabi city, is being transformed into a world-class tourism, culture and residential destination.
The Saadiyat course will be the first in the Arabian Gulf with several beach-front holes. It is also the first in the UAE to be designed by the South African who is acknowledged as the most successful international golfer of all time, and whose career includes three Masters wins, three British Open titles, two PGA championships and the US Open title to complete the Grand Slam.
“Gary Player is renowned as much for his dedication to the principles of design excellence as he is for his golfing accomplishments. He is recognised worldwide as an uncompromising perfectionist who settles for nothing but the best,” said Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and of Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), the name behind the transformation of Saadiyat Island.
“We are convinced Gary will bring to this project his impeccable set of values and insistence on quality which have earned him worldwide respect. This course will be a world-class asset for Saadiyat Island and Abu Dhabi and one capable of hosting international-standard tournaments,” added Sheikh Sultan. “We were also particularly impressed with the humanitarian work of the Player Foundation which has improved educational resources for underprivileged children across Africa, Asia and the USA.”
The Gary Player Signature course, which is scheduled for completion in 2009, is being constructed in the Saadiyat Beach district – one of seven distinct zones within Saadiyat Island. According to Senior Course Designer Jeff Lawrence, “The objective is to keep the design of the Beach Course simple and straight forward, yet visually stunning, while concentrating design efforts on the strategic values that will stand the test of time.”
The golf course is due to be presented this September, when TDIC also hopes to appoint a clubhouse designer. The facilities will be open to club members as well as some hotel pay-and-play guests. An international operator will be appointed to run the facility.
A second ‘ocean-style’ golf course is to be built on Saadiyat Island. The two courses will substantially enhance the golf tourism offering of Abu Dhabi which already has a championship course at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, which is owned by TDIC, and is home to the annual European Tour-backed Abu Dhabi Golf Championship to be staged for the third time in January.
“Saadiyat Beach is a dramatic setting for any golf facility with the clubhouse and the course planned to offer sweeping Gulf and beach views,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, ADTA and managing director, TDIC. “Our research has shown that golf is a key ingredient in the meetings and business tourism sectors which we anticipate will account for one third of our targeted three million annual tourist arrivals by 2015.”
Saadiyat Beach, which lies to the north west of Saadiyat Island, is positioned as a premier hospitality district.
TDIC has now chosen a limited number of select developers for projects on Saadiyat Beach and a series of five-star, luxury waterfront resorts have been announced. These include projects by Abu Dhabi National Hotels, the National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels, Al Jaber PSC and Rotana Hotels, which were all subject to design briefs with criteria including subtle elements which reflect the unique culture of the UAE. The resorts, which are designed to create a destination in harmony with nature while providing premium luxury hospitality, are due to open in 2009. Most boast beach-front cafés and restaurants as well as wellness centres and spas.
The Saadiyat Beach concept is expected to have strong appeal, particularly among European t