The European Challenge Tour will once again break new ground on the global golfing map upon its maiden voyage to Ras Al Khaimah, when Al Hamra Golf Club hosts the penultimate event of the 2016 season from October 26-29.
The first edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge will become the biggest sporting event in the history of the northernmost of the United Arab Emirates, located just 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport, following a three year deal which will see the new event through to 2018.
The $350,000 tournament, which is sponsored by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and sanctioned locally by the Emirates Golf Federation, is sure to provide sporting drama aplenty as the final counting event prior to the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final.
At the conclusion of the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge, the top 45 players in the Road to Oman Rankings will earn their place in the season finale in the nearby Omani capital of Muscat, after which the top 15 players in the Rankings graduate to the European Tour.
The future stars of world golf will descend upon Ras Al Khaimah in the hope of fulfilling their dreams of making the step up to The European Tour, following in the footsteps of superstars such as Thomas Bjørn, Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and many more.
It will mark the first professional golf event for the stunning, Peter Harradine-designed 18-hole layout at Al Hamra Golf Club, measuring 7,325 yards and meandering around four interconnected Arabian Gulf water lagoons.
Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “Hosting the European Challenge Tour is part of our commitment to golf tourism in the emirate and highlights the importance we are placing on the sport in 2016 and beyond. The world-class golf course at Al Hamra Golf Club is the ideal location for such a prestigious event, and we look forward to welcoming golf enthusiasts from around the world to the tournament.”
Simon Mees, General Manager at Al Hamra Golf Club, said: “We at Al Hamra Golf Club are extremely excited to be working with the European Challenge Tour and Ras Al Khaimah Tourism in bringing what will undoubtedly be a fantastic event.
“We have been looking at the possibilities of bringing a high level event to the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah for some time and it is wonderful that the tourism department shares our sentiments, having secured what will be one of Ras Al Khaimah’s largest ever events and one which will bring the destination as a whole unprecedented exposure.
“I’m sure the players will enjoy the challenges faced at Al Hamra and we look forward to working with all the partners to develop a unique and long lasting event.”
Alain de Soultrait, Challenge Tour Director, said: “We are truly delighted to be forging an exciting new relationship with such a wonderful golfing destination as Ras Al Khaimah, which will witness great sporting drama next October in the penultimate event of our 2016 season.
“Ras Al Khaimah is a destination fast growing in reputation and prestige and therefore fits perfectly with the mission of the Challenge Tour, which is to nurture the future golfing heroes of tomorrow, while also spreading the game to promising new destinations.
“We have already introduced professional golf events to such nations as Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Oman with great success and we have no doubt Ras Al Khaimah has the potential to become a major player in the golf tourism market.
“We must extend our thanks to the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, particularly its CEO Haitham Mattar and Director of Events Mia Harvey, as well as Simon Mees at Al Hamra Golf Club, who have been integral in making this event happen. We look forward to strengthening our relationships and building a memorable tournament worthy of such a great destination.”
The Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge will mean the Challenge Tour returns to the UAE after just one year away, having held the Grand Final in Dubai in 2013 and 2014, and fits perfectly in the schedule before the short trip onward to Oman.