(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Visionary plans for a new world-class golfing destination in the heart of Qatar's Education City, Doha, have been unveiled yesterday in Shanghai at the Golf Business Forum, world's premier golf business event.
The unrivalled combination of a premium golfing, leisure and sports education facility in one location, Qatar International Golf Club, a member of Qatar Foundation, is truly unique to the region and the world.
Offering a revolutionary and holistic approach to golf. The cutting edge facility has been designed to guide every member of society regardless of age or ability - from complete beginners to the world's leading professionals - on an exciting golfing journey that maximises enjoyment and supports progress with every single step. It will provide golfing enthusiasts and those new to the sport alike with an entirely new way to learn, enjoy and share the game in beautiful surroundings. Qatar International Golf Club will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
The project comprises an 18-hole championship golf course, an innovative 6-hole championship course, a 9-hole par-3 course all designed by two-time major winner Jose Maria Olazabal as well as high-tech driving range and practice facilities, a centre of excellence and a public park featuring a host of indoor and outdoor activities for all the family. Created with respect for the local culture and traditions, Qatar International Golf Club also features female-centric practice facilities in an effort to open up the game to more Muslim women.
Developed to offer a welcoming and friendly atmosphere the facility ensures the whole family can enjoy a day at Qatar International Golf Club. As well as the world-leading golfing facilities, a stunning clubhouse with hotel rooms, spa, extensive banqueting facilities and dining experiences make for the perfect setting for family and friends to relax and enjoy quality time together, as well as an attractive destination for international travellers.
The project proudly embodies the Qatar 2030 vision for human, social, environmental and economic development by providing a framework to grow the game of golf in Qatar with a focus on making the sport fun and accessible for all. With demand for additional golf facilities in Doha soaring, the destination is also expected to make a valuable economic contribution to Qatar's luxury leisure and hospitality industry as a major draw for residents as well as inbound golf travel, and will offer an exciting addition to Qatar's blossoming tourist attractions.
The operation of the project is being overseen by AMLAK and will become one of the most technologically advanced, innovative and sustainable golf courses in the world.
Speaking about the project, Ed Edwards, Qatar International Golf Club General Manager said: "Qatar International Golf Club is a landmark project for Qatar and the world of golf. The facility has the opportunity to revolutionise the way golf is taught and enjoyed, we hope to encourage greater participation in the sport amongst the local community and our hope is that this system will provide a blue-print for growing levels of golf participation globally.
"The course itself is based on solid foundations of science and research and will see it become truly world-leading in terms of both social and environmental sustainability. I've no doubt Qatar International Golf Club will be at the forefront of developing every aspect of the sport and inspire future generations, especially in Qatar.
"Our vision is simple 'to create a place where everyone can be a 'golfer'. We believe that can be achieved by offering new formats of the game which are fun and exciting regardless of ability. We've carefully studied the game, listened to the experts in the industry and development relationships with like-minded partners to ensure this facility responds to the challenges golf faces and grasps the opportunities that exist now and in the future. With golf returning to the Olympics in 2016, growing interest in Qatar and other emerging markets the game has so much to look forward to especially with this project. It really will be a game changer."
As well as developing new fun and shorter formats and integrating technology in every aspect, Qatar International Golf Club is committed to becoming one of the most sustainable golf courses in the world from both an environmental and social perspective. Since inception the facility has been working with guidance from the Golf Environment Organization, GEO, the international non-profit organisation dedicated entirely to providing a credible and accessible system of sustainability standards for the golf industry.
The process for becoming GEO certified begins at the design and construction phase right through to the golf club's ongoing operation, and stringent criteria consider everything from how water and landscapes are managed, to the social and economic benefits of the facility.
Speaking on his first golf course project in the Middle East region, Jose Maria Olazabal said:
"I believe long term growth in golf can only happen if we make the game easily accessible and fun for the kids and that lies at the heart of Qatar International Golf Club. The location of the club will impress even the most sophisticated golf traveller, being set within Education City, Doha's spectacular university and science community. In the design we wanted to pay respect to this unique Centre of Excellence and therefore we give prominence to teaching and training right in the centre of the golf club.
"The 18-hole championship course is designed to embrace the natural landscape and strategically blends in a dry riverbed (wadi) and ancient rock walls to offer a unique Qatari experience.
"The layout of the 6-hole championship course was designed to reach out to people, especially the young, to try the game 'proper' after they are ready to progress from the range and the par-3 course but perhaps aren't quite yet prepared to graduate to the championship course. And we hope it will encourage inactive golfers to start playing regularly again. All six holes are of tournament standard and they can be played in less than 90 minutes. So they offer time-pressed golfers a tremendous alternative to the 18-hole course. Families in particular will be delighted as we included not just one but two kids´ tees on these holes, giving a total of seven different tee boxes.
Edwards added: "If anyone visited Qatar International Golf Club today you would see our vision is already becoming a reality. Already a number of holes are grassed and our desire to grow the golf is also being seen with a schools programme about to be launched in local schools. We want to build interest within the community and strong 'grassroots' for golf side by side as the facility builds over time.
"Launching the project globally at the Golf Business Forum in Shanghai really is the perfect platform for such a revolutionary facility especially when we've listened to and are working with so many industry leaders present today.
"Talking through our unique golfing journey to an audience that understands and includes everyone from Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson to PGA TOUR Commissioner, Tim Finchem; European Tour Chief Executive, Keith Pelley; LPGA Commissioner, Mike Whan; new Chief Executive of the R&A, Martin Slumbers and Dr Arab Hoballah from the United Nations is a signal of our global intent for the project."
In the months ahead further exciting details and project updates will be releases regarding Qatar International Golf Club across all of aspects of construction, guest facilities, memberships, partnerships, as well as advances in golf education, sustainability, innovation, research and development.
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