By Kent Gray
The future of one of Middle East’s most unique golf experiences is in doubt with reports Al Ghazal Golf Club is to close indefinitely.

The club’s Golf Operations Manager, Rory Young, took to social media on Saturday with the surprise news that the UAE’s only 18-hole desert sand golf is to close from August 1 “until further notice”.

Young revealed the “landowners” of the club, which is adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport, were to take up to a month to evaluate interest in the property from developers and that he was “unsure of any further details”.

Here’s the full post:

“Dear Friends,
It is with great sadness that I write this post. As of August 1st, 2017 Al Ghazal GC will be closed until further notice. This decision has been made by the landowners as they evaluate interested parties and appoint a new company. I am informed this may take 3-4 weeks but I am unsure of any further details.
On behalf of the staff and myself I wish to extend a huge thank you to all those who have made my two years at the club very memorable and to those members who have created 20 years of history.If you wish to contact me: [email protected] and I will try and facilitate you with any needs you may have.

Thank you again,
Rory Young.”

The news was greeted with dismay on social media with David Parkinson, Associate Director at De Leeuw Middle East, echoing the early comments with: “It’s a sad day for the club and all those involved”.

Al Ghazal GC opened in 1997 and, according to the club website, measures 6711 yards with a par of 71. Instead of greens, golfers putt on “browns” which are created by compacting rolled and treated sand. “As the players quickly discover, they give an extremely true putting surface,” the website says.

The front nine holes (par 35) are based around an archaeological site which was once an old coast line.

“The golf course has gone through many changes over the years and has turned into one of the best sand courses in the world. It’s an experience that should not be missed by anyone visiting Abu Dhabi or living in this vibrant city,” the website continues.

Al Ghazal prides itself as one of the friendliest golf clubs in the UAE but offers more than a sandy take on the royal and ancient game. The facility also has a sports field, home to the Abu Dhabi Football Academy, and a health club equipped with gym, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. There are also three tennis courts and two multi-courts where basketball, five a side football and volleyball are played.