Omani amateur revels in big-time experience

10/25/2013 5:18:04 PM
Azaan Al Ruhmy (Ingmar Jense) ()
Azaan Al Ruhmy (Ingmar Jense) ()
Azaan Al Ruhmy, Oman’s leading amateur, believes he has gained a wealth of experience from his European Challenge Tour adventure at this week’s National Bank of Oman Golf Classic and thinks the event will become a vital factor in developing the game in his home country.

Al Ruhmy is a member of Oman’s amateur national team and received an invite to play amongst some of Europe and the world’s top up and coming professionals in the Challenge Tour’s maiden event in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The tournament has so far proven a huge success, with the international stars present praising the organisation, the course and the friendly welcome they have received in Muscat, but there is a much deeper significance as players like Al Ruhmy gain crucial experience in their quest to improve as golfers.

The 29 year old admitted he placed a lot of pressure on himself in the lead-up to the tournament and struggled with the demands of a major professional event, but has learned a huge amount from the experience.

“I was really looking forward to the event and I was really excited about it,” said Al Ruhmy, whose father, His Excellency Dr Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Rumhy, Oman’s Minister of Oil and Gas, is also an accomplished golfer.

“Perhaps I got the bad draw starting late in the afternoon on day one with huge winds. That pushed me way back in the field and I had hopes to start a lot better but it was unrealistic for me. 

“I have never played in windy conditions like that before in Oman and playing off the back tees, it made it even tougher. But it’s a good experience and it was enjoyable. 

“Maybe I put high expectations on myself and people expected me to do better than I did but when I come back next year I will have better knowledge of everything.

“It was really nice to play with the pros. I learned I need to hit the ball much longer off the tee to even get close to where they hit it.

“It’s a struggle getting anywhere with my distances off the back tees. They play much faster than I do too but these are all things for me to work on. The greens are much faster and this is something we are not used to.

“It is a great week for Omani golf, definitely. It’s the first time we have hosted a professional tour event and we hope to host a European Tour event soon too. It’s great to see the best players in the world coming to Oman.

“Four years ago we didn’t even have a grass course and now we have three, with a fourth coming next year so it’s great for the country.”

Al Ruhmy believes that the Challenge Tour’s presence on Omani soil will inspire young kids in the country to take up the game and raise the standards for those already hooked. With free golf lessons and many golf activities for kids in the busy tented village this week as well as the entertainment of a trick show expert Dave Edwards, the profile of the game in Oman will no doubt increase hugely.

“I played a lot of my golf on sand courses so it’s not good for our game,” said Al Ruhmy. “But I hope the juniors will take advantage of the grass courses and get more attention than what I had when I started the game.

“I hope many others begin to play the game of golf now. We are working on our Oman junior national golf team so that they can get to compete at this level some day and begin playing in the professional tours.”