Lots going for Golf in Oman
While Muscat has it share of golf enthusiasts, there are no green courses in the city.
However, there is one in Salalah at the Crowne Plaza Resort that recently had its grand opening last month. The nine-hole green garden golf course includes a SPS Driving Range area that is supervised by a golf professional and is set in the resort’s expansive 45 acres of grounds. The lush, tropical haven – with its own coconut groves – is located at the southern tip of Oman. When golfers come in from the greens they have the chance to relax under a coconut tree, on the beach under an umbrella or by one of the three pools.
“We are extremely pleased to have the first green golf course in Oman, especially in Salalah. People can practice two rounds of golf per day and there are provisions for night play as well. We see considerable increase of bookings from the GCC and European market for golf tourism at the Crowne Plaza Resort. The team at the hotel has put great effort into ensuring we have the first green grass course,” said Jeffrey E Thomas, director of sales.
Another project that is currently under way is the Muscat Golf & Country Club located at Airport Heights near the Seeb International Airport. The course is expected to complete by the end of next year followed by the completion of the entire project at an estimated cost of RO20 million. Set on a PGA 18-hole golf course, it will comprise luxurious villas and apartments for GCC national residents and will also be open to foreigners.
“This development combines an unparallelled environment of country life with all the amenities of town living. It is clearly reflected in the proposed styling of the luxury two-bedroom apartments, penthouses and the three, four and five bedroom villas,” said Christopher Steel, GM, Hamptons International, the sole selling agents for the residences. Each villa and apartment will have unobstructed views over the golf course and the rugged natural beauty of the surrounding mountains. The residents will also enjoy a host of other amenities like the spa and a quality restaurant in the Clubhouse and access to swimming pools, tennis courts and other sports facilities.
In Muscat, at the moment, there are five sand courses. The most popular is the Ghallah Wentworth Golf Club (GWGC). In its 32 years history, GWGC has moved to three locations but has retained its original name. The current 18-hole course was opened in March 1999 for the Muscat Ladies Open that is still one of the most popular events along with Muscat Open and Nationals Champion. There are two seasons that are held at the Club – the nine-hole season lasts from April to September and the 18-hole season is from October to March. This is the only golf course in Oman owned by members.
The Al Maha is the only 18-hole public golf club in Muscat. By paying a token guest fee, anyone interested in the game can play here. Opened ten years ago, it is part of the Oman Automobile Association. The Club has five major open tournaments annually during the winter season. Jebel Park (associated with the Ministry of Defence) and Hidden Valley are the other two nine-hole courses in Muscat. Ras Al Hamra Club is open to only Petroleum Development of Oman club members.
By Kavita Pandit