Tiger's course in Dubai officially dead

Dubai Holding has officially pulled the plug on its Tiger Woods-designed golf course.

Not a grain of sand has been moved for Al-Ruwaya Golf Club since 2009, and construction was officially halted in 2010. For his trouble, though, Woods pocketed a staggering $55.4 million, and Arabian Business reports that he was to receive an additional $14.6 million when the course opened.

These days, six mostly completed holes are out there somewhere in the desert, gathering dust.

Pete Harradine, a course designer with an office in Dubai, thinks the prospects for golf development in the Middle East “have definitely improved” but won’t likely ever match what they were before the Great Recession.

“Much of it was commercially unsustainable,” he said in an interview with KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice. “The fees were crazy. The construction was crazy. The returns, even in the good days, would never have warranted that type of expenditure.”

If the Middle East expects to thrive as a golf market, he believes, it needs to divorce itself from residential development and start building affordable tracks that can generate indigenous growth.

“For the overall good of the game and business,” he says, “we need more people to be playing golf in the developing golf countries.”

No doubt, building a sustainable golf industry isn’t as easy as Harradine suggests it is. But as the Middle East has discovered, there’s a limit to how far wealthy home buyers, fickle tourists and fly-by corporate executives can take us.

Comments

As successful as Tiger has been and as much of a personal connection he has to Dubai, I am shocked to see this project end like this. 6 holes... crazy they couldn't finish it. I still want to visit Dubai!

With water costs as they are and appear to be within this region, a golf facility experiencing 35 < 40,000 rounds of golf per year, is having to swallow water costs that equate to approx more than 2000USD per round of golf played per person, if not more, fancy grasses cost fancy watering cost, C3, C4 and Cam plant species can be sustained with up to 40<50% less water, with increased photosynthesis-more oxxygen being generated/exausted into the immediate vicinity along with CO² sequestration of many thousands of tons, which can be stored and converted. And by the way, what I am referring to is 100% organic. Is this something you feel is of interest to explore, if so contact me for further information, I am seeking a middle east cooperation partner to pursue this commercial opportunity. I look forward to receiving your response. Regards gary Birch Vienna Austria

With water costs as they are and appear to be within this region, a golf facility experiencing 35 < 40,000 rounds of golf per year, is having to swallow water costs that equate to approx more than 2000USD per round of golf played per person, if not more, fancy grasses cost fancy watering cost, C3, C4 and Cam plant species can be sustained with up to 40<50% less water, with increased photosynthesis-more oxxygen being generated/exausted into the immediate vicinity along with CO² sequestration of many thousands of tons, which can be stored and converted. And by the way, what I am referring to is 100% organic. Is this something you feel is of interest to explore, if so contact me for further information, I am seeking a middle east cooperation partner to pursue this commercial opportunity. I look forward to receiving your response. Regards gary Birch Vienna Austria

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