Golfing in the Middle East
Package deals set with hotels to attract golfers
The Doha Golf Club offers golf packages with all leading hotels in Doha providing visiting players with efficient, professional and experienced management and service with top grade hospitality.The golf packages with Ritz-Carlton, Doha Inter-Continental, Sheraton, Marriott and Ramada hotels are sold to international golf markets through golf tour operators in Germany, Austria, UK, Switzerland and Holland. The club sells its GCC packages on a direct basis which are mailed to more than 50 golf clubs in the region. The club, which is playing a pivotal role in promoting tourism to Qatar, cooperates with Qatar Airways besides local hotels to attract visitors. The club has an 18-hole championship course. The first nine holes are said to be unique in design amongst the world's courses and although a little shorter than the second nine, still require accuracy and technical ability. The courses are in a cloverleaf configuration, to enable a 1st and 10th and 9th and 18th finish at the clubhouse. The Championship Course incorporates the varied directional aspects of the site and at its longest is a 7,204 yards, par 72 of tournament standard, with up to six tee positions per hole. The club also has a nine-hole floodlit academy course which welcomes players without an official handicap - said to be the only such course in the Gulf, Middle East and Africa to do so. The academy course has a par 34, nine-hole course, which is playable from three tee positions per hole and finishes with a long par five. The state-of-the-art Golf Academy offers a variety of tuition packages and has chipping and pitching greens and a bunker play area in addition to 10,000 square feet of putting green. Floodlighting has extended the available playing hours well into the evening both in summer and winter, and Qatar's two-day weekend spread across Thursday, Friday and Saturday by the different sectors has evened out demand for tee-times on the Championship course. A computerised golf management system networks the booking of lessons, buggies, tea-times, the Pro shop and the food and beverage outlets and golfers can now book tee-times via e-mail. The club is currently studying expanding club facilities to include a 500-seat banquet hall leisure club, swimming pool, gym, sauna, steam room and tennis courts. The owners, Qatar National Hotels, are also conducting a feasibility study into opening a 300-room hotel on the golf club site. Doha Golf Club hosts the PGA European Tours Qatar Masters which was held on March 8-11 besides the Qatar Amateur Open and the Annual Doha Oilmens Tournament held in the same month. The golf course boasts eight artificial saltwater and freshwater lakes. The initial landscaping of the course and club included the planting of 32,000 shrubs, 10,000 trees and 76 Carnegie Gigantea Cacti.