Al Hamra Golf Club has seen plenty of development since its opening a decade ago, but nothing quite like the past 24 months.
In that time the Peter Harradine-design has twice played host to the penultimate event of the European Challenge Tour’s season, most recently in October when Swede Jens Dantorp played one of the shots of the year to edge Adrian Meronk (Poland) with an eagle in overtime to claim the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge.
Now that the Oman Classic has been elevated to the main European Tour for 2018, there is anticipation that the RAK Challenge will become the Challenge’s Tour’s season-ender, turning the Race to Oman into the ‘Race to RAK’ and ensuring season-long exposure for the emirate and its leading club. An announcement on the new-look Challenge Tour schedule was pending as we went to print. What was set in stone was another momentous development for Al Hamra with Troon Golf, the leader in upscale golf course management, development and marketing, appointed to provide full management services to Al Hamra.
“Al Hamra is one of the central attractions in Ras Al Khaimah and the Emirates as a whole,” said Mark Chapleski, President, Troon International Division. “The property is the perfect fit for the Troon International portfolio. When you factor in the quality of Peter Harradine’s design and the Al Hamra clubhouse, along with the proximity of thousands of hotel rooms, you have the makings for a very successful and sustainable golf destination.”
No arguments there.
As well as the 7,325-yard par 72 layout, the club is the centerpiece of Al Hamra Village, a master-planned development covering an area of 77 million square feet, which includes 1.5km of pristine beaches, five resort hotels, a 222-berth marina as well as Al Hamra Mall, a two-storey retail centre offering entertainment and shopping experiences that are a lure to golfers and their non-golfing partners from around the globe.
Al Hamra Village is framed by a wide range of accommodation options, with nearly 1,000 hotel rooms. Visitors can choose from the Waldorf Astoria, an ultra-luxurious space of tranquillity and palatial surroundings; The Hilton Al Hamra Beach and Golf Resort, surrounded by landscaped gardens; or Al Hamra Residence and Village, a unique blend of local heritage and modern design nestled between the golf course and white sandy beach. The soon to be opened The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, which will offer 32 private villas each with their own pool and beach access, will cement Al Hamra G.C. as one of the region’s leading stay and play options.
Harradine’s course itself meanders around four interconnected open water lagoons, merging seamlessly with the water of the Arabian Gulf. Designed to be a challenging but playable course for golfers of all abilities, it incorporates both open water lagoons and desert landscapes. As many traditional courses do, the front nine makes its way out and away from the clubhouse and those stunning balcony views, while the homeward nine returns home around the lagoon. With five tee options on each hole, the seasoned professional or fledgeling enthusiast can golf on an equal, fun footing.