Sunday, 05 February 2017
The target landing area is seen on the 8th fairway at the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic  (Getty Images)
The target landing area is seen on the 8th fairway at the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic (Getty Images)

Emirates Golf Club has drawn praise from all over the world this week, thanks to the immaculate condition and presentation for the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic...

As well as the stunning backdrop to the course, starring the impressive Dubai skyline, the main talking point has been the targets mown in to the fairways, which measure 300 yards from the tee to the centre of the target on most of the holes on the Majlis Course.

Director of Golf Course Maintenance, Craig Haldane, talked us through the thought process behind the eye-catching fairway design and how it is carried out.

“Basically the course is over-seeded with ryegrass because that gives you the chance to present. It gives you more density on the fairways so you can start doing things like striping or creating different patterns," said Craig. 

“This year we took the opportunity to think outside the box a little bit. I think the European Tour is very innovative and with more and more promotion of events on social media I’m challenged by our promoter to see what we can do that is a bit different.

“In 2015 we had a tartan cut on the fairways, then last year we had them going in one direction after over-seeding them. We had a few ideas this year, and alongside the European Tour agronomy team, we came up with the targets concept. 

“The one thing that is consistent is the distance of the target from the tees, which is 300 yards to the centre point. We tried to do that with the hand mower and then the fairway mower, but ended up doing it with the same fairway mower that is mowing the right to left, left to right pattern anyway.”

Craig and his team of 68 green keepers and staff, which includes his trusted assistant Luke Partridge, have been focusing solely on the Majlis Course for the week of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, with Emirates Golf Club also boasting the 18 hole Faldo Course and a nine hole par three course on its impressive property.

The team keep their renowned golf courses in great condition year-round, but this week has presented them with a chance to showcase their work on an international stage.

“Whoever is playing on the course, it never changes what we do as a team,  but you can’t deny that there’s more exposure on a week like this,” he said.

“Tiger Woods has the ability to bring big crowds in, but then guys like Danny Willett can do the same. Danny actually came up to our sheds on Monday as the defending champion to say thanks for all of our hard work. He signed caps for everyone, which I thought was very gracious of him to do.

“I think our course is right up there against other courses around the world, especially in terms of presentation.

"I like to think we strive towards this and always try and improve year on year. We have a host of very well presented courses in this part of the world and are fortunate to have been around a while longer than most.

"There are so many very good courses around the world, but in the Middle East we’re one of the forerunners for sure, and we have more great golf courses appearing all the time.”

The European Tour would like to thank Craig and all of his team for all of their hard work and for presenting a fine golf course this week. 

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GARCIA, SergioESP18-19
2STENSON, HenrikSWE18-16
T3JENSEN, LasseDEN18-14
T3HATTON, TyrrellENG18-14
T5UIHLEIN, PeterUSA18-12

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