Chris May, Dubai Golf CEO, with EAGL founder Sudesh Aggarwal.
Dubai Golf CEO Chris May has heaped praise on the Emirates Amateur Golf League (EAGL) for bringing some of the leading decision-makers in the industry together at the Middle East Golf Forum, which is set to take place at the EAGL Mini-Series on June 20 at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
May will join Mark Chapleski, President of TROON International; Simon Corkill, Executive Tournament Director, OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic; Ismail Sharif, Managing Director of Jumeirah Golf Estates; Roger Duthie, Sponsorship Officer, Performance 54 and Nick Tarratt, Tournament Director for the EAGL Mini-Series and a 31-year veteran of the industry, to debate ‘The Health of the Game of Golf in the UAE and the Middle East in 2021’ at the showcase event for the main EAGL series scheduled later this year. The forum will be moderated by Dubai Eye’s Robbie Greenfield and well-known golf journalist Joy Chakravarty.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to bring everyone together as it doesn’t happen enough so something like this has given an opportunity for everyone to get together and discuss some of the issues that we all face,” said May, who oversees Dubai Golf’s three properties – Emirates Golf Club, Dubai Creek & Yacht Club and Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The current state of the game in the Middle East will be addressed along with ideas on how to keep growing the game in the future. Despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs in the region have been thriving and May hopes to capitalise on the increased interest game since the lockdown ended in the country last year.
“Although there were challenges last year, I think that golf in the region is in a very positive place, we have seen a number of golf rounds increase by 20% since the COVID-19 lockdown of 35 days between March and April,” said May.
“That’s a real positive because we have seen an increase in the number of memberships, rounds by members and non-members and number of lessons being taken. So, there is definitely an increase in the interest in golf in the region and we have great opportunities to capitalise on that going forward and really grow the game.”
Before lending his voice to the Forum, May will be looking to get his hands on the inaugural Mini-Series trophy as he leads out the Dubai Tigers in their match against the English Roses over the Fire course.
“The EAGL is quite unique in the amateur game, you have seen something similar in other sports with the team formats but in the amateur game, there are a couple of elements that are really key,” he said.
“The team element is really important. In professional golf, you see how important events like the Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup are and how much interest those events garner, so I think that having something like this for amateur golfers, where they really play in a team format is important and something that will be really interesting.
“It’s a brand-new initiative and I think that having those elements of changing things up a little but in golf is probably a good thing as well, it’s something that is quite exciting to be involved with. It’s going to be an interesting day and I think the event has a very good chance of being very successful going forward.”
The EAGL Mini-Series one-day summer event is a taster for the EAGL Series proper, the world’s first franchise-based tournament for amateurs. It is scheduled to take place throughout the UAE late this year. The 9-hole tournament, held on the Fire course, will provide a taster of what is to come with eight four-man teams going head-to-head followed by the Golf Forum, Gala Dinner and prize presentation against the backdrop of the final round of the US Open.
To register your interest in the EAGL Series proper as a player, sponsor or team owner then visit eagl.ae