A fantastic test of golf awaits players at Sahara Golf and Country Club
KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait will provide a snapshot of its growing reputation as a fast-emerging golf destination when Sahara Golf and Country Club makes its debut on the MENA Golf Tour on Monday.
There is a definite buzz surrounding the Sahara Kuwait Championship that coincides with the 10th anniversary of the club as most of players will get their first look at the course, a stunning Peter Harradine-designed layout that requires precision and nerve to pass the test.
Having faced similar situations on the tour in the past, players, however, remain unfazed by the lack of local knowledge and believe it will hardly be the deciding factor as they jockey for positions of the Order of Merit.
“One practice round and you have a fair idea of what to expect. Trust your swing and have fun playing each shot as tension kills your game,” said Morocco’s Younes El Hassani, one of the regulars on the tour.
Headlined by 11 winners on the MENA Golf Tour, the field is certain to provide a grueling challenge on Kuwait’s first 18-hole grass course in addition to driving Kuwait into the global golfing spotlight.
Included in the starting line-up are five Kuwaiti amateurs who will be competing in a MENA Golf Tour event for the first time. Qatami Al Qatami, Ali Al Ansari, Abdulaziz Al Sarawi, Ali Alhajeri and Ahmed Al Sarawi will be hoping the experience of playing alongside professionals will stand them in good stead for future engagements.
“We are delighted to be part of the Mena Golf Tour as we feel the championship will be a great catalyst for the overall growth and development of the sport in our country,” said Yousef Abdulaziz Al Qatami, member of Sahara Kuwait’s golf advisory committee.
“It will not only be a great opportunity for us to showcase our championship course and other tourist attractions as well,” he said, adding: “Ours is the only grass course in the country it makes perfect sense to bring international tournaments there if we are to promote golf here.
“Also, being an Arab state, we also feel a sense of obligation to support all initiatives which target overall development of the game in the region,” he said, adding: “We have recently introduced a junior development programme aimed at promoting the game at the grassroots level.
“The (MENA) tour has done a great job in providing a springboard for the region’s players to grow and excel on the international stage. We look forward to welcoming MENA Golf Tour members and I am confident they will return home with fond memories of playing in our country.”
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour, said: “We feel proud and privileged to join hands with Sahara Golf and Country Club for the event which, I believe, will motivate local talent to take their game seriously and strive for excellence.”
“Their support has further strengthened our resolve to stimulate growth of golf in the region and beyond.
“We appreciate all the hard work in presenting the course in top condition. With the field comprising a great mix of experience and youth, we are headed for an entertaining week. I wish all the players the very best,” he added.
Built to PGA standards, Sahara Kuwait is a challenging a challenging par 70, 6,730 -yard layout, featuring three lakes and nearly 5,000 trees. Adding to the course’s distinctive character are its 12 holes bounded by the racetrack of the Hunting and Equestrian Club.
An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Golf Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.
Multiple European Tour starts, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Hassan II Trophy and the Maybank Championship Malaysia in addition to full playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour and exemptions into the Final Stage of the Asian Tour Q-School for the leading three professionals are some of the added incentives for the MENA Golf Tour members.