THE 18 hole Saadiyat Beach Golf Course in Abu Dhabi is well under way and making an environmental statement, according to its master designer golfing legend Gary Player, who calls it “a golf course and a nature sanctuary.”
Player recently visited the eco-sensitive course, on track to open in the third quarter of 2009. It is Player’s first UAE signature course and the Arabian Gulf’s only ‘ocean’ course with several beach front holes.
The course, designed as an eventual contender for the annual European Tour backed, Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, is the core the Saadiyat Beach district of the 27 square kilometre natural island.
“Environmentally, the project is fitting in beautifully with Saadiyat’s natural assets. However, when the long grasses and turfs are laid, the site will attract an even greater proportion of wildlife,” said Player, a Grand Slam winner who lifted nine major titles during his career.
Following inspection of the first eight holes nearing completion, Player revealed some design fine tuning.
“We’ve added a fairway bunker to the driving range - nowhere else in the world, not even at Augusta (the home of The Masters golf tournament) can you practise hitting bunker shots down the fairway and Saadiyat will have that,” he said.
Other notable changes Player mentioned was the introduction of new tee-boxes enabling all levels of golfers to play, and a re-think on the number of trees adorning the course.