CLUB LIFE ANNIVERSARY ISSUE March 2013
LETTER FROM HH SHEIKH AHMED BIN SAEED AL MAKTOUM
Note from DUBAI GOLF CEO
wenty five years is a relatively short period in historical terms, but in Dubai terms it is a lifetime! When Emirates Golf Club was opened in 1988 it was located on a two lane highway frequented by camels, surrounded by desert and was a long way out of the city. Today Emirates Golf Club enjoys a stunning location in the centre of the city, surrounded by residential developments and Dubai Marina, is serviced by a seven lane highway and is the only golf club in the world with its own metro station! The changes in Dubai have been impressive indeed. The Club has played a significant part in the growth and development of the city and a huge part in the development of Dubai as a world renowned golfing destination. Dubai now boasts eleven top quality golf courses with several more developed in the region, since Emirates Golf Club opened its doors. A measure of the significance of the Club is the impact it has had on so many people involved. From the many members over the last quarter of a century, to the staff who have worked at the Club, overseas visitors and local residents alike, the Club holds many special memories. The decision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to build Emirates Golf Club back in the late 1980s showed great foresight, courage and absolute conviction in his beliefs. Now, when you see all that has followed, it all makes great sense. The Majlis course is the heart of the Club, it was a pioneering course providing Dubai with a world class sporting facility. The original Karl Litten design has changed very little, with the exception of a few additional yards in places, and of course the maturing of the trees and landscaping of the property. One of the great accolades of the Majlis course is that it can be enjoyed by players of all ability levels and it is always enjoyable to play whether you are playing for the first time or have played it a thousand times, as a few of our members have! Top professionals from around the world have enjoyed the test of the Majlis course over the years as have many thousands of amateurs. In fact we look forward to welcoming the one-millionth round to be played on the Majlis later this year. The Dubai Desert Classic and the Majlis Course combine well together, with all but two of the tournaments in its 24 year history being played at Emirates Golf Club. The tournament has been won by many of the true greats of the game beginning with Seve in 1992, Ernie Els (three times), Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, Tiger Woods (twice) and the current World No.1 Rory McIlroy. The back nine of the Majlis on the final day of the tournament always seems to produce some dramatic and exciting golf! We are already looking forward to next year as the Club will host the 25th Anniversary of the Dubai Desert Classic. As we celebrate this significant anniversary, which I am sure will be one of the best ever, it is essential to recognise the importance of the members and staff of Emirates Golf Club. We are very fortunate to have over twenty founder members of Emirates Golf Club who are still members, and fourteen members of staff who joined the Club in the first year of operation. On behalf of the entire management team, my sincere thanks go to all the members who have supported the Club, as well as the many excellent staff members who have contributed to the success of the Club. Thank you to you all! The future of the Club is as strong now, as it has ever been. The Club has evolved and developed throughout the past 25 years: with the support of wasl over recent years, the reputation of the Club has been further enhanced, ensuring its status as the premier club in the region for many years to come. Hereâ€™s to the next 25 years!
Christopher May Chief Executive Officer
MESSAGE FROM CLUB MANAGER
s we look back over 25 years of Emirates Golf Club, one of the things that stands out for me is our loyal member base and the pride our members have in their Club. Much of this pride stems from the great sense of community that comes with being a member. In the true spirit of golf, while it is the challenge of the game that keeps everyone coming back week after week, the social life that is part of the Emirates experience is also key. Emirates has always been the place where members can come together, to share experiences and stories, make friends, enjoy family time and create a history. It is quite an honour and pleasure that after 25 years we still have a strong number of our founder members playing a key role in the life of the Club. Uniquely, both as a club in this part of the world and mindful of the transient environment in which we live, we now also enjoy the privilege of having second and third generation members: junior golfers from the early days are now introducing their own families to the game here at Emirates Golf Club. Without doubt, we have experienced many innovations and developments at the Club over the years. As one of the key pillars that promotes Dubai on the international stage, innovation is to be expected. Emirates Golf Club has always been at the forefront, leading the way in the quality of the experience, in the range and choice of facilities, in technology and in the development of the game. Our original 18-hole grass course was the catalyst for both developing the game and putting golf in this region on the world stage. As host to the Dubai Desert Classic over the years, the world’s best golfers have graced the Majlis course, giving us the opportunity to see the masters of the game up close and in action first hand. The excitement of Seve holing his putt on the 18th; the battle for the title between Tiger and Thomas Bjorn; Montgomerie’s European Tour shot of the year at the 18th; Rory McIlroy’s first tour win. What a thrill to bear witness and what a wonderful opportunity for our juniors to be inspired by true sportsmen and heroes. It is this kind of inspiration that has led to an estimated 5,000 juniors taking up the game here at our Academy over the last quarter century. We have come a long way since that 18-hole course ‘out’ in the desert. As the city and game of golf has grown in Dubai, so have our facilities, with the addition of The Faldo and our 9-hole, par 3 course. Under the management of our parent company wasl, more recent developments have included the introduction of a state-of-the-art floodlighting system to The Faldo to enable night play; the upgrade of the Majlis course to the most environmentally efficient irrigation system; the use of leading edge teaching software at our Academy in association with Peter Cowen; the most comprehensive health and fitness facility including Fit Lab; and the most modern clubhouse design complete with new F&B offerings. Alongside these high profile developments are the equally important, yet smaller initiatives that are undertaken each day by our team of over 300, who work both behind the scenes and on the front line. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, I would like to commend the 14 team members that have been with us since the doors first opened in 1988. What an achievement! I would also like to thank all of my colleagues across all departments for their continued hard work, dedication, enthusiasm and shared sense of pride in Emirates Golf Club. The future of the Club is extremely bright and we are determined to continue enhancing the quality and experience, both on and off the course, at Emirates Golf Club. Happy 25th Anniversary and happy golfing!
Andrew Whitelaw Club Manager
• Sheikh Mohammed approved the site for the Club which was 700,000 square metres. • Sheikh Mohammed issued instructions that the natural contours of the land were to be altered as little as possible. • 2000 Casurina trees were planted to mark the boundary. • The first earth movers were on the scene in June 1986.
construCTION OF THE Majlis
• Completed in 18 months. • The Hybrid Bermuda grass selected for the course was chosen for the tees and fairways because of its salt tolerance and its ability to replace itself very quickly. • For the greens, a thinner-leafed grass was selected for low cutting and fast putting surfaces. • Both grasses were airfreighted from Tifton Georgia in sealed packets to guard against contamination. • Several thousand trees were brought in - Royal Palms from South America, Washingtonians. Cacti from Arizona and California and palm trees from along the UAE’s west coast. • For a time, shifting sand that threatened to bury the sprouting grass slowed progress. Powerful vacuum cleaners and wooden windbreaks were used to keep the desert behind the Casurinas that bordered the courses. • Originally 4,000 Koi Carp were released into the lakes and within 18 months that number increased five times. • Later, 3,000 Silver Carp and the same number of Grass Carp were added. All of these were under the care of Kevin Hyland, Sheikh Mohammed’s fish farmer. • The Clubhouse was a group of seven glass houses, based on the design of a traditional Bedouin tent occupying 5,500 square metres. • Clubhouse interior décor was the responsibility of Lars Waldenstrom of Swedish Design and most of the original fittings were manufactured at the company’s own joinery workshop. Swedish Design imported carpets from Holland, stair balustrades from Lewes in England and ceramics from Craig Bagdy Design in Wales.
KARL LITTEN designer of the Majlis course
• Considers the Majlis to be his best of all the golf courses he has designed. • Considers it to have been one of the most ambitious projects of all. • Original two sites he saw as potential to build the golf course were refused by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum because he was unwilling to displace Bedouin and their camels and goats from those areas. • This site caught Karl Litten’s eye because of a huge sand dune towering above an otherwise flat desert area. • The eighth green and the Royal Majlis now sit on that dune. • His philosophy was to create a world-class golf course that could be maintained economically.
tâ€™s a true, personal honour for me to represent Emirates Golf Club, as Lady Captain, during this year of celebration. Many congratulations to everyone who has helped make Emirates Golf Club what it is today!
omes cannot be a Golf Club but, this is definitely a Club that is Home! Heartiest congratulations on the Silver Celebrations!
Glynis Hendry Lady Captain 2012 - 2013
Moshe Kohli Club Captain 2012-2013
ongratulations Emirates Golf Club on your 25th Anniversary; we have enjoyed every year and hope for many more to come! Ed Bain Captain 1990-1991 Margaret Bain Lady Captain 1988-1990
had the privilege of being Club Captain of Emirates Golf Club for two years from 1992-1994 and together with my wife Barbara, who was on the Ladiesâ€™ Committee; we enjoyed some of the best years of our golfing life. The comradeship and friendliness of the members, professionals and staff made it a joy to be a member. On this the 25th Anniversary of the Club I wish it continued success and regret that I cannot be there for the occasion. My good wishes to all concerned. Philip Best Captain 1992-1994
would like to congratulate Emirates Golf Club on its 25th Anniversary. Long may it continue to grow, prosper and act as a peaceful haven from the hectic day-to-day life in Dubai. Bernie Hardie Lady Captain 1998-1999
Brian Johnson and Peter Summersgill of Brewer, Smith and Brewer were the architects in charge of the design of the Clubhouse.
am happy to have been the Captain of Emirates Golf Club in 1995/96. At that time the Club was only seven years old and it was the first building after the Metropolitan Hotel along the Abu Dhabi road (now Sheikh Zayed Road). I watched with interest its continued growth, the introduction of the second golf course and the growth of the Desert Classic. Emirates Golf Club is a tremendous boost to Dubai Tourism and the springboard of golf development in the region.
VIP room on top level of Clubhouse
hope everyone enjoys EGC as much as I did! I met the best people and have the most wonderful memories of Emirates Golf Club, the Desert Classic, Club Nights, the Ladies’ mornings - I wish I could be there to help with the celebrations!
Congratulations on EGC’s 25th Anniversary. I wish EGC and Dubai Golf continued success. Colm McLoughlin Captain 1995-1996
Doris Aycock Lady Captain 1992-1993
The original Spike Bar
The Lounge Bar, now M’s restaurant
According to Rod Bogg’s research on his book, ‘The Desert Miracle’, it was a girl called Vanessa Tanfield who worked at Brewer, Smith and Brewer who came up with the idea of tents as a Clubhouse design.
The mural at the tournament check-in area
Le Classique restaurant
earty Congratulations to Emirates Golf Club and a huge thank you for giving us 25 years of unadulterated joy, fun and camaraderie. Well done and now go for the next 25!
Tournament check-in area
Mickey Bamboat Captain 1988-1989
ongratulations to Emirates Golf Club staff and members on the 25th Anniversary. 25 years of truly wonderful memories that will stay with us forever. Rai Legnar Captain 2007-2008 Joan Legnar Lady Captain 2000-2001
am immensely proud to be the Superintendent at Emirates Golf Club. In 25 years, the course has not changed dramatically and today, it still stands the test of time. Emirates has always prided itself on conditioning and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to achieve these standards on a daily basis with my dedicated team of staff. Congratulations to the Club and may the next 25 years be as successful. Craig Haldane Golf Course Maintenance Director
On opening day the start up team consisted of Rod Bogg
PA to GM
Head Golf Professional
Golf Course Superintendant
Rod Bogg First General Manager at Emirates Golf Club now Managing Director of OnCourse Golf, Dubai
friend of a friend alerted me to a job advertisement in the Daily Telegraph. Being in Malawi at the time, the interview process was complicated to say the least, with a very basic telephone system and only one flight to UK a week from Lilongwe at that time, but I got through it
Judith (Lonsdale) Patterson First PA to GM, Rod Bogg, at Emirates Golf Club now living in Arizona, USA
had been living in Vancouver working as a legal assistant and was hoping to find an exciting new career opportunity in Dubai. When I answered the advertisement in the Gulf News for an Assistant to a GM, I had no idea I was applying for a position at the prestigious new Emirates Golf Club. I was thrilled to be offered the job, and started work after the topping-off ceremony of the
and arrived on 1st June 1987. At that time there were just a few shoots of grass on the golf course and a concrete slab where the clubhouse was going to be, all in the middle of nowhere, so it’s not surprising that there was an element of doubt in the back of my mind. I didn’t know what Dubai was all about then though, and the first couple of years were like a dream - money appeared to be no Clubhouse. Instantly I was plunged into coordinating international staffing, meetings with architects, designers and vendors, managing Club membership applications, and representing the Club at promotional events. I was suddenly interacting with people from all over the world on a daily basis and my wish for an exciting career had far exceeded my dreams. The Club opened to great fanfare. Not only had all of expat-Dubai
s founder members and past Captains at the Club, it has been a ‘second home’ to us and to our son Ross, for 25 years. We will forever cherish our time there, having enjoyed every aspect of club life and having been part of the ‘family’ of staff and members. The progress the Club has made during this quarter of a century has been phenomenal and long may it continue to prosper and attract members and visitors. It will always remain a very special place in our hearts. Tom Barry Captain 2001-2002 Jacqui Barry Lady Captain 1999-2000
mirates Golf Club has to be proud of its achievement, known as it is throughout the golfing world, for the high standard it has continuously maintained, for a first class championship course, presenting as it does a genuine challenge whether one is an amateur, or professional golfer, throughout a remarkable 25 years. There can be no greater testament to its success as a course, than to reflect on the challenges it has faced since the days when it sat alone surrounded by the desert, and now when you see it surrounded by tower blocks. David Gibbons Captain 1997-1998
object, and petty crime was nonexistent - the complete opposite of Africa. We had a great team from the start, and the camaraderie among the construction team, the opening staff and the founder members was probably unique, as was the entire Emirates Golf Club project of course. Since then the Club has matured into one of the best and most respected in the world, thanks to the many wonderful people who have either worked there or been members, but you have to remember that it was the vision of one man, HH Sheikh Mohammed
bin Rashid Al Maktoum - and the leadership of two others, HH Sheikh Butti Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum and HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who have inspired the Club to develop and mature from the ‘Desert Miracle’ of 1988 to the established operation it is today. To have been a part of that development has been a privilege, as has been knowing the people involved in its 25 years of existence. I doubt I’ll be around in 2038 to write the 50th Anniversary book, but I’m certain the Club will that’s how special it is.
turned out, but also I recall someone telling me that it was one of the largest-ever gatherings of VIPS from around the Gulf. The EGC looked stunning with its white Bedouin Clubhouse laid out before the pristine fairways and greens. To see the Club officially open was an incredible moment filled with pride and achievement. I think we all felt it was a privilege to be there as the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was brought to life. From the moment Emirates Golf Club opened, so many things were happening at breakneck speed. GM, Rod Bogg’s leadership in overseeing and directing our team and getting the Club up and running smoothly, all while planning the first Desert Classic was impressive. I think we set a record, being the first (perhaps only) club to host a PGA Tour Event within our first year of operation. Virtually everything we did in those early days was a ‘first’ as we put in place the systems and routines for Club operations.
Judith at the Club opening
We strived to provide first class service and the members were always upbeat and happy to be at the Club. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to play a role in so many of the special events that took place there. The years I spent in Dubai offered me insight into a fascinating culture while living and working in a richly diverse community. Emirates Golf Club provided me with invaluable experience which I draw upon to this day. I have been back several times over the years, most recently in January, and it is amazing to witness Dubai’s transformation into the truly cosmopolitan city it has become.
most people could envision.
First Greens Superintendent
was working in Florida, nearing the end of my contract and looking for something more challenging when I spotted an advertisement for a two-year commitment in the United Arab Emirates which was published in ‘The Florida Green’ (a local golf magazine). I didn’t really know where this was but thought, “Why not? This would certainly be a challenge”. So, I applied and became the first Superintendent for Emirates Golf Club which certainly had more challenges than
Upon arrival the temperature was about 40 C - hot even for me coming from Florida. My first visit to the site was scary. I distinctly remember thinking “What have I gotten myself into?” The course was nearing the completion of full grow-in when the first British Caledonian Lions tournament was held. From that time on I was certain we had
mirates Golf Club is 25 years old - what a milestone! We have fond memories of this green oasis surrounded by desert on the outskirts of Dubai all those years ago. Congratulations on setting a benchmark for golf in this part of the world and for continuing to provide world-class golf in Dubai.
• working with Rod Bogg who was the first GM there. • the British Caledonian Lions tournaments - my first exposure to setting-up of Kerry Son at his latest project a course for Pro in Harbin, China tournaments • the grand opening built a very special course that ceremony of Emirates Golf Club would forever increase in notoriety truly a sight to behold for anyone and reputation. After all the slogan and an event which can never be floating around Dubai was “the first repeated. all-grass championship golf course • the first Dubai Classic which between Singapore and Rome”. certainly placed EGC in the annals of golf history. Highlights of my time at EGC were,
course and naturally we all rushed to join.
Philip had been playing golf all his life but I was a complete beginner and it was the most wonderful place to learn to play golf. The teaching Pros were headed up by James Williams (ably assisted by Adrian Flaherty) and I think they taught most of we beginners to play. I remember the excitement of getting It’s amazing when we think back to what it my handicap - 36*! Margaret Bain was our was like when we joined all those years ago. It first Lady Captain and I’m sure we presented was an oasis of green in the middle of nowhere quite a challenge because so few of us had literally surrounded by desert as far as the eye handicaps or knew much about golf at all! could see. There was great excitement in the Golf has been such a big part of my life and expat community about having a grass golf
eing a young and ambitious 20 year old newly-qualified PGA professional, my two job options in 1997 were a teaching job in Iceland or an assistant professional at a place called Dubai, which I had no idea where it was, literally! The thought of indoor winter teaching in Oslo
came a quick second when in January 1998, I received a call from James Williams offering me a job which I accepted without any hesitation. My first impression of Dubai was wet, the great storms of February ‘88 greeted me off the plane to a
has given me so much pleasure and I have those early days at Emirates Golf Club to thank for it all. A great deal has changed since then but the friendliness of the members and the warm welcome of the staff are what make it such a special place. Fay d’Abo Lady Captain 2006-2007 Founder Member and Past Captain
flooded airport and my first visit to the Club was around lakes and flooded areas. Being part of the first grass course in the Middle East and all the commotion that went with opening the Club was undoubtedly one of the greatest experiences I have encountered over the past 25 years of working in golf in and around Dubai. Having played many great courses around the world, the Majlis course is still my favourite and even with all the technology changes over the past 25 years, the course has had very little alteration and still
25 year staff
provides a great test for every golfer. Seeing members and friends who I taught over my years of working at the Club progress to current levels, still enjoying their golf, is very satisfying even though some of those kids do make me feel old now! This is a very special Club for me and congratulations to all on the 25th Anniversary.
An interview with James Williams, First Head Pro at EGC Why did you apply for the job and what were your first impressions of Emirates Golf Club and Dubai? I remember it well - it was mid-winter 1987, minus 3 degrees outside, snow on the ground and the course at Woodlawn Golf Club in Germany where I was Head Professional had been closed for nearly a month. As I thumbed through the latest edition of ‘Golf Illustrated’ I noticed an advert for the position of Head Professional at the first grass golf course in the Middle East - Emirates Golf Course. Depressed with the weather I immediately put pen to paper and applied; in all honesty at that time I hadn’t even heard of the United Arab Emirates or Dubai but the thought of golf and sunshine 365 days a year sounded too good an opportunity to miss! Woodlawn was located at the European Headquarters of the US Air Force and even more surprising was that they had not heard of the United Arab Emirates either other than they thought it was in Saudi Arabia! Having not received any response to my application I decided I would ring the newly appointed General Manager Rod Bogg and after nagging him over several months I was invited along with three other Professionals for an interview that included a four-day visit to see Dubai and the new golf course. Full of excitement and some trepidation I arrived in Dubai and couldn’t believe what I saw. My journey from the airport to the golf club took me past the World Trade Centre, Defence Roundabout, Chicago Beach Hotel on the right side (now the Jumeirah Beach Hotel), Desert Springs Village on the left (where all the management staff
were to live) and then Emirates Golf Club and of course the Clubhouse - in between these landmarks was just desert! The road we travelled on was of course the Sheikh Zayed Highway that consisted of one lane in either direction with a few metres of sand in the middle! And then there it was, this stunning white Bedouin style Clubhouse. The sight of this magnificent and now iconic building was, and is, my most vivid memory of Emirates Golf Club and excuse the pun I was ‘hooked’ with the place immediately. Somehow through my enthusiasm and no doubt non-stop talking I managed to persuade them I was the right man for the job and so my adventure began and hand on heart I can truly say it has been a wonderful journey. An expected three or four-year stint in the UAE, like many others, has now turned into 25 this year. I couldn’t believe the quality of the course and my first visit to the range was a real eye opener and somewhat embarrassing. I had never seen grass in such condition - it looked like a carpet and was as flat as a billiard table (I had played at other courses around the world whose greens were not as good!) I found myself firstly tiptoeing across it so I wouldn’t do any damage and to ensure I didn’t take any divots I promptly thinned every shot for the next half hour. The sight of my first few shots skimming across the ground couldn’t have impressed my potential employers who stood by eagerly watching. Did you expect the course to be so successful? Without being clever yes I did. Emirates Golf Club was the talk of the town and there was an obvious hunger for the game, highlighted by the number of residents who wrote into the club well before the official opening wanting to join their families or companies. Golf, as many know, was being played at the local sand clubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah and although very successful there was an overriding desire to play on grass. After inviting golfers to come and test the facilities it was very
apparent that the Club would grow very quickly. The staging of the first Dubai Desert Classic in 1989, with the support of the Government of Dubai, also played a major role in not only putting Emirates Golf Club and the tournament on the map, but also the city of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. As we know the country and the Club have not looked back since. What are the highlights of your time at Emirates Golf Club? Gosh, I could write a book on the great memories and highlights of my years at Emirates Golf Club. There are of course the many major events that took place during this period that stand out - the official opening of the Club by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the then Ruler of Pakistan General Zia-ul-Haq and the East versus West Challenge which signaled the beginning of the Club. The very first Desert Classic in 1989 when all the golf pros plus many others, including the members, worked tirelessly to prepare for the best players on the European Tour. I played in this first event and this was naturally a very personal highlight. In the lead up to the tournament we would often finish at around 10pm and despite being exhausted I would then put the range lights on and do my own practice in the hope my first tee shot would not embarrass me in front of the members and the worldwide press and media – in the end It wasn’t a particularly great strike but it did end up in the middle of the fairway only to be driven over by an F and B cart and me standing in the fairway for 10 minutes waiting for a PGA Referee’s ruling! Suffice to say I didn’t give up my day job after the Classic but enjoyed immensely the
several times I played in it. Other events that that stick out in my mind were the Toyota Pro-Ams, the first Monthly Medals, the Men’s and Ladies’ Club Championships, The Arab Championships, the Ladies’ Pro-Ams, the many ‘Go with the Pro’ club tours to Malaysia, Perth, South Africa to name but a few. We have all been fortunate to meet many famous celebrities during our time in Dubai and my round with Ryder Cup Captain and Major Winner, Tony Jacklin (my childhood hero) was certainly very special as was my afternoon games with perhaps two of the greatest cricketers the world has seen in Brian Lara and the best of them all Sir Garfield Sobers. Organising and being involved In Captain/Pro Challenges each week and the annual ‘Beat the Pros’ tournaments were also great fun. Club nights and the occasional late night singing sessions with our band ‘Jamie and the Divots’ I will never forget. I could go on and on, however I can honestly say the day-to-day life at the Club was the most enjoyable and rewarding; working with the then Pros Adrian Flaherty, Elliott Gray, Steve Hagland, Matthew Gill and others was a pleasure as their enthusiasm and dedication to the members was without a doubt first class and genuine. Being lucky enough to be involved with the birth and development of a World Class Golf Club has been the highlight of my career and one that I cherish but no more than the friendships with many of the members who supported the Club, many of whom are still members today or come back and visit. My application from Germany to Rod Bogg many years ago was certainly one of, if not the best, spur of the moment decisions I have ever made!
appy 25th Birthday Emirates Golf Club. You have given me so many wonderful memories and allowed me to make great friends, members and staff alike. I miss you and wish I were there to celebrate with you. Good luck for the next 25 Mike Sim Captain 2011-2012
25 year staff Babar Iqbal - Human Resources - Liaison Officer Mohamed Shabdeen Sameem - F & B Kitchen - Senior Chef Parti John Thomas - Engineering - Assistant A/C Mechanic Gurcharan Singh - Engineering - Senior Mason
Eravathra Parappurath Ummer - Golf Operations - Golf Operation Supervisor Aboobacker Hamza - Golf Operations - Locker Room Attendant Thomas Chacko - Administration - Head Driver Charlemagne R Cortez - Golf Maintenance - Irrigation Technician
Neri Viador Battung - Golf Operations - Chief Marshal
Ranjith Ranapurarachchi - Golf Operations - Locker Room Attendant
Samir Sharad Gokhale - F & B Kitchen - Junior Sous Chef
Udayan Kuttilayil - F & B Kitchen - Asst Chef Steward
Beppil K. Damodaran - Engineering - Senior Carpenter
Anselmo Suarez Candelario - Recreation - Recreation Supervisor
first six months
• This took place on 7th & 8th December 1987, before the Club officially opened. • The British Caledonian Lions were all current or ex-European Tour players who had, for several years, been coming to Dubai to play Pro-Ams at Dubai Country Club on the sand course. • They were invited to add on a few days to their trip to play the Pro-Ams on the Majlis. • Players included Carl Mason, Norman Wood, John Morgan, Tommy Horton, Ewan Murray, Bill Longmuir, David Ingram and Martin Poxon.
first six months
ongratulations to all staff, past and present, for their efforts in making Emirates Golf Club the best Club in the world to play and visit over the past 25 years. As a founder member who joined the Club on its first day I cherish the many memories I have of playing or watching golf on the fantastic Majlis golf course. Best wishes for the future. Paul Thornberry Captain 1996-1997
GC has become a central part of my life. The courses are splendid, the facilities remarkable, and the membership both friendly and welcoming. That EGC has managed to create that climate is testament to those who make it all happen, at whatever level within the Club. Thank you for making that the case, and congratulations on a very special anniversary. Dick Purchase Vice-Captain 2012-2013
first six months
Arrival of Flamingoes
ne by one each year flew by, since we saw the first mirage of greens. 25 years of memories, shared by all of us. From big events and holidays, to simple daily pleasures. Some tearful times along the way (especially some of those missed putts!) and some joys that canâ€™t be measured. One by one each year now gone, but still they are ours forever each and every memory, of a quarter of a century together! Happy Silver Anniversary Emirates Golf Club Surender Singh Kandhari Captain 2008-2009
First Club Life Magazine
...and Now Current Champions Amarjeet Radia and Rohit Gupta with Sponsor, Surender Kandhari
The very first Mixed Amateur Open took place in December 1993 when, at that time it was sponsored by Sanyo. It later became the General Tire Mixed Amateur Open and is now the Infinity Al Dobowi Mixed Amateur Open. Joan and Rai Legnar were the first winners of this event which used to be a Foursomes format but was later changed to Greensomes which it still is today.
...and Now Farhad Irani, Moshe Kohli, Connor Keegan and Caetano Fernandes
Margaret Bain, presenting winner, Paula Johnstone with her prize on Lady Captain’s Day 1990
The Mashreq Medal Championship 15 March 2013
onnor Keegan recorded the best gross and net score of the day in the second event of the ‘The Mashreq Medal Championship in association with BMW’. The 5-handicapper carded an excellent round over the Majlis course to clinch Division A (handicap 0-10) with a gross 73, net 68. The youngster started his round on the par three 7th hole with a par but followed it with a double bogey six on the tough 8th hole. However his remaining 16 holes produced 15 pars and a birdie four on the long 13th to result in one over par 73, a fantastic effort. Mathys Oberholster continued his excellent run
of form with a 3-under par 69 to take runners up position in Division A, followed by Nawaf Fawaz in third after his 71. Kish Bandopadhyay returned his best effort in a monthly medal to triumph in Division B (handicap 1120) with a 2-under par tally of 70. Haris Michaelidis was one shot adrift and settled for second place with Iain Everingham in third after a level par 72. Amr Salem won Division C (handicap 21-34) with a 2-under par 70.
Curtisy Cup Teams
Clubhouse Trophy 2012
ongratulations Emirates Golf Club on your 25th Anniversary. During my 21 years of being a member, the Club has provided me with wonderful friendships and masses of fun. Many thanks EGC.
Brenda Cornwell Lady Captain 1997-1998
First Ladiesâ€™ and Menâ€™s Club Champions Tricia Lewis and Charlie Grant
ongratulations on 25 years at the forefront of golf in Dubai. Lang may yer lum reek! Barbara Head Lady Vice-Captain 2012-2013
Current Club Champions Cathrine Clarke and Pontus Fredriksson
Turlik and Aldridge
triumph in Professionals Day 2012
iven the enormous changes that have taken place at EGC over the years it’s hard to believe that the Club is only 25 years old. It has undergone a number of major upgrades to courses, facilities and Clubhouse and it continues to invest in improvements that ensure its position as the premier club in the Middle East. A fantastic first 25 years for the Club that pioneered top class golf in the Middle East. Congratulations to management and staff for a job well done. Jim Carrigy Captain 2006-2007
Ladies Medal 2013
golf awards for 1992
golf awards 2012 MEN’S SINGLES
Champion Dilip Tripathi
Champion Rosemary Turlik
Runner-Up Haris Michaelides
Runner-Up Noemy Bertuol
Score 1 Up
Champions Scott Doak & Ewan Cameron
Champions Nina Larm & Elise Hanson
Runners-Up Mark Donovan & Paul Donovan
Runners-Up Soumaya Argui & Carmel King
emembering the excitement in 1988 of joining the first grass course in the Emirates. 25 years on and world-renowned, congratulations EGC you’re still the best! Sue Connor Lady Captain 1993-1994
MIXED FOURSOMES Champions Trevor Varri & Jenny Ayres Runners-Up Moshe Kohli & Naima Maya Score 5/4
e want to congratulate the management of Emirates Golf Club and all the current and past membership on this 25th Anniversary. Who would have thought at the origination that it would create such a ground swell of popularity and growth of this wonderful game of golf, not only in Dubai but also throughout the region? Emirates Golf Club can always proudly claim they were the ‘First’. It was a sincere honour and unique pleasure to have been EGC Captain during my time in Dubai and our family will always cherish the fond memories shared there, both on the course and socially. It is truly a special place in our hearts! Wishing everyone the best to you and yours and again a well-deserved congratulations! Butch Kamps, Judy, Natalie and Charlie Captain 2003-2004
ongratulations EGC.! Sorry I can’t be there for the celebrations but will be thinking of you all. Have a wonderful time.
Angela Connor Lady Captain 2005-2006
Started by US Consul General, Richard Chiarantona Annual all-day golf competition between Europe and North America.
f all the assignments we had during my career we remember our three years in Dubai from 1986-89 as our “halcyon days”. We made a great number of friends who have remained close throughout the years, and most of those friendships came about as a result of our association with Emirates Golf Club. I remember I couldn’t wait to walk my initial membership fee over to the temporary club office. We called it the best kept secret in the Middle East, and of course that didn’t last long. As an avid golfer I’ve played many a famous golf course in my lifetime, and have many fond memories. My golfing memories at Emirates are the best, by far. I cherish the memories of establishing the first ‘Talker Cup’ competitions, and am very proud of the fact the competition has not only lasted but, as I’m told, the tradition flourishes. Of course I’m also proud of having had the opportunity to speak opposite Tony Jacklin at the first Dubai Desert Classic dinner, and the following year in front of Seve Ballesteros. Partnering with Nick Faldo in the Pro-Am in 1990 in the period between his two Augusta Masters victories was special. I look back and recall the outstanding management of the Club and the ‘vision’ those people had which has been realised. I have been back to Dubai several times since 1989 and each time included a visit to Emirates Golf Club and a trip down memory lane. My one hope is that someday maybe most of us who were the charter members and who bonded so well might be able to organise a reunion. My wife (of 40 years!) Dottie and I continue to live in Northern Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C. My Emirates bag tag has remained affixed to my bag all these years, and is a proud affiliation.
t was a pleasure to have been a Lady Captain at Emirates Golf Club as it began to grow into one of the leading Clubs of the world and the most widely recognised in the Middle East.
Talker Cup 1991
Lynne Hood Lady Captain 1994-1995
Talker Cup 2010
Junior Club Championship 1995
roud to be part of Emirates Golf Club on it’s 25th birthday! Congratulations Emirates Golf Club and we look forward to many more fantastic years! Caroline Jones Lady Captain 2011-2012 Starting young! 1995 Ross Barry and Robbie Williams
• First prominent juniors were Ross Bain, Andrew and Simon Nesbitt • Following on from them were Colin Roope, Sarah Kidd, Zubin Bamboat, Dash Dhawan, Ed Hesson, Simon Dunne, Joel Neale, Sean Thornberry, Matthew Turner, Daniel Hendry, Nanna Nielsen, Eric Hesson and Kavita Sehmi
eartiest congratulations on the Silver Anniversary of one of the best known Golf Clubs in the world.
Thank you for being ‘a life changer’ for the past 25 years - giving us an opportunity to play this wonderful game and make countless new friends from all over the world. It has been a pleasure and an honour to have been a part of the Desert Miracle. Congratulations once again and wishing you continued success. Ashok Bakshi Captain 2002-2003
Inaan Budhiraja and Alison Muirhead Junior Champions 2012 - 2013 season
mirates Golf Club has arguably the best instruction and practice facilities in the Emirates. It is the perfect destination for touring professionals to practice during the cold winter months in Europe, as well as being a great destination for any keen golfer wanting to play the beautiful courses. The Emirates Golf Club is where it all started, it’s the original and still the best and I’m delighted to have a long standing relationship with the team there and wish them even more success for the next 25 years. Peter Cowen the world’s leading golf coach
dubai desert classic
Recollections from a Tournament Director
first year. It included the likes successful Challenge Match which opened the Club and featured high of Colin Montgomerie, Torrance, profile players, including European Tony Jacklin, Ian Woosnam, Jesper Parnevik, Ronan Rafferty and Vijay Tour members, Howard Clark and Singh, but ultimately it was Mark Sam Torrance, probably helped James who prevailed and became to alleviate some concerns and the first player to lay his hands quieten the dissenters. It was a bold step to take for The European on the iconic Arabic coffee pot. Recalling all the other competitors Tour but one which probably became the springboard for further that year, it is interesting to note ventures to destinations across the that many have gone on to become successful in other aspects of globe. Interestingly, in 2013 more than 50% of European Tour events the game. Howard Clark, Ross McFarlane, Richard Boxall, David will be held outside Europe which Parkin and David Feherty have Up until this point in its history, The was probably inconceivable when carved distinguished TV careers European Tour had rarely ventured the first Karl Litten Desert Classic behind the microphone, and Pete kicked off in 1989. outside its natural European Cowen, well known to everyone boundaries. Yes, there had been brief excursions to Morocco and Tunisia, but the It has been my pleasure to meet and get to Middle East was a different know many of the staff and members of the kettle of fish altogether. The Executive Director of the Club over the years. Regardless of who I have European Tour, Ken Schofield, come into contact with, there has always been realised that in order to expand and develop the Tour consistent desire to do everything possible to in the early and latter part of support the Desert Classic and to showcase each year it was important to explore territories where the the venue to the world. climate was more favourable during these months. It is fair at EGC, has become one of the to say that many of the committee Being a relatively ‘green’ world’s finest coaches. I am also Tournament Director in 1988, and members of the Tour were very proud to refer to Keith Waters, and certainly the youngest and sceptical about playing in a Andy Stubbs, David Williams, most junior in the company at location about which they knew Neal Briggs and Paul Carrigill as the time, I was well down the very little. However, there is little pecking order when it came to the colleagues, as all have become doubt respected administrators and allocation of events. My senior that officials with the European Tour. colleagues didn’t fancy a visit the to the Middle East, preferring to The first tournament had an stick with tournaments closer to immediate impact on The European home, so the responsibility for Tour and its members, and any the event landed in my lap. Their remaining doubters about the loss turned out to be my gain. concept of tournament golf in Little did they realise what they the Middle East, were quickly were turning down, and little did silenced. The Majlis course was I realise what sort of adventure incredibly well received and I was about to embark upon. I was incredibly provided conditions rarely seen on The European Tour, or indeed lucky to be given anywhere else around the world. the opportunity In addition, great practice facilities, to be involved in a magnificent clubhouse and a the creation of a tournament which perfect climate for golf made it a winning package. And of course was to become there was also the end of the so significant, tournament party on Sunday night. and I still have to pinch myself After establishing itself so impressively in its first two years, when I realise Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991 that we are and the subsequent Gulf War, approaching resulted in the cancellation the 25th the Desert Classic that year. edition. However, what better way for the tournament to announce its return Given that in 1992 than to have the legendary it was a new Seve Ballesteros pip Rafferty in a event in a new dramatic play-off for the title. territory, the field was remarkably The majestic Emirates Golf Club strong in that erry Duffy was the very first person that I came into contact with in Dubai. Terry worked for the Tournament Promoter, Karl Litten Overseas, and met me off the daily LondonGatwick flight on a November evening in 1988. This was the start of a very long and memorable association which I have enjoyed with Emirates Golf Club and the Desert Classic. But it nearly didn’t happen.
has been the venue to all bar two of the Desert Classics – in 1999 and 2000 when The Creek played host. But it is an event which has become as synonymous with the Club as the Club has with the tournament. Whilst the clubhouse has gone through a couple of internal renovations, its outward appearance remains largely unchanged and its inspired design and stunning appearance make it one of the most recognisable clubhouses in the world of golf. There is just nothing else like it. Likewise the course has been renovated more than once over the years. Some of the changes were cosmetic and some a reaction to the dramatic changes to the distance the ball now travels at the elite level of the professional game. The course is now nearly 250 yards longer than when the tournament was first played, with holes 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, 16, 17 and 18 all being lengthened at some stage. For the tournament, perhaps the most significant change came in 2001. On returning to the Majlis Course from The Creek, the Club followed the lead taken by The Creek and for the first time overseeded the fairways and rough with Rye grass for the tournament. This transformed the presentation of the course and enabled precision definition of all playing surfaces. This permitted the degree of penalty from the rough and semi-rough to be controlled like never before. However, despite all the tweaking, the layout of the course remains largely the same as it did when it first opened and it really has stood the test of time. The tournament is traditionally regarded as the Jewel in the Crown of the early part of The Race to Dubai on The European Tour’s International schedule. Despite the dramatic changes to the Tour calendar in recent years, particularly with the emergence of other events in the Middle East, this title remains essentially true today. This is due largely to a venue which has continued to move with the times and remain as relevant today as it was in the 1980s. It has been my pleasure to meet and get to know many of the staff and members of the Club over the years. Regardless of who I have come into contact with, there has always been consistent desire
dubai desert classic
First Dubai Desert Classic winner, Mark James
2013 Desert Classic Winner, Stephen Gallacher
to do everything possible to support the Desert Classic and to showcase the venue to the world. I have been fortunate to work closely with some incredibly talented Superintendents, from Barry Carter in the early days to Brent Holmes, Ken Glover, Jeff Julich and now the current incumbent, Craig Haldane. It is quite clear that each and every one has taken huge pride in hosting such a prestigious event. On this, the 25th Anniversary, my congratulations go to the respective Captains, Glynis Hendry and Moshe Kholi and all the members of the Club, along with Chris May, Andrew Whitelaw and all the management and staff for reaching a significant milestone in the history of the Club. I wish you well with all your celebrations and the hope that the next quarter of a century can bring even greater success and recognition for a very special place. Mike Stewart Senior Tournament Director European Tour
BITS & PIECES
The New Nine Holes
BITS & PIECES
February 13th 1992 announcement!
ongratulations to Emirates Golf Club who have shared this vision of golf in the desert. Great staff, great members and the best Ladiesâ€™ Section in the world! Jenny Ayres Lady Captain 2010-2011
ongratulations on the 25th Anniversary of the Club. The management, staff, events and members throughout the years have made the Club a great success. We all have great memories of playing the courses, the events and functions and the people we have met through the years.
EGCâ€™s own band, Jamie & the Divots
Truly a great Club and many more years to come. Sophie Longstreet Lady Captain 2002-2003
y very best wishes to the Management and Staff, past and present, on this special occasion. I feel so fortunate to have met so many great people over the years, friendships that will last a lifetime, all because I have had the privilege of being a member at Emirates Golf Club. Josie and I would especially like to recognise the effort of all our close friends on the staff who have spoiled us throughout the past 25 years.
Mike Tracey Captain 2009-2010
mirates Golf Club has been a large part of my life since 2000-2007 as an employee and thereafter as a member. As a Club, Emirates Golf Club is incomparable and to have played even a small part in its history is a huge honourâ€? - Chris Turlik Former staff member and current member
hen I first flew into Dubai in 1982 I had just played golf at Gleneagles and was almost immediately asked to play at the sand course at the Country Club. The contrast was amazing. However, having played for so many years on grass, as the years went by, we all yearned for the green fairways, so easy on the eye, and our wish came true thanks to the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Emirates Golf Club was born in 1988! My wife was invited to become the first and second Lady Captain which was a huge challenge as the majority of
n the day Scott Simpson captured the 1987 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club, he took one look at the silver trophy and exclaimed, “There sure are some great names on here. It’s kind of hard to believe my name is going to be on there, too.” Twenty-five years later, Simpson’s outlook on that magic day, when he became the incarnation of Jack Fleck or Billy Casper, hasn’t much changed. “Whenever I get the chance to watch the U.S. Open on television” says Simpson, “I think to myself, ‘Wow, how did I ever win one of those?’ It’s still hard to believe sometimes.” In 1987 this is how I felt about the new golf club that opened in Dubai. It was kind of hard to believe that after playing on brown sand courses that we would have a fully green course in Dubai. This is still how I feel 25 years later about Emirates Golf Club! It is just hard to believe!! First what EGC has achieved under the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and secondly, that it has already been 25 years! Today we have one of the top clubs in the world and one that I am proud to be a founder member of and former Captain of. I feel particularly proud when I go to such Meccas of Golf as Pebble Beach and
the new lady members had no golf experience but plenty of enthusiasm and most went on to become very competent golfers. Highlights of this time was the inauguration of the Desert Classic and a mini Ladies European Tour event. I was pleased to accept the position of being the third Men’s Captain; with the position came some responsibility but also a great deal of pleasure. The highlights being the Captain-Pro challenge each week, the Talker Cup, and a weekly four-ball with friends. Unfortunately my Captain’s year had no Desert Classic due to the Gulf War; however the
disappointment was short-lived as the next year I was partnered with the late great Seve Ballesteros in the Pro -Am. The Club is almost unrecognisable now from its beginning 25 years ago. The addition of The Faldo, the continued improvements on the course, the maturity and
enhancements of the landscaping, the addition of floodlighting, the Clubhouse upgrades and development, all collectively continue to enhance the experience of being a member of Emirates Golf Club. But for the creation of the Club, my family would almost certainly be elsewhere. Ross, our son would almost certainly not have been able to turn Professional and my wife would have found time heavy in her hands. We owe the Club a great deal. – Ed & Margaret Bain
the K Club and the honour that is bestowed on the Club there. The best thing that the Club has done in the last many years is that it really has built up a sense of community with the members. We really feel at home and love going to a place where everybody knows your name and were really glad that you came and this can only happen with a dedicated staff and management that put their heart and soul into the Club. The staff of the Club look after us so well and this has been one of the hallmarks of the place for the last 25 years...and it only seems to get better every year. I have been particularly lucky to support tournaments in the Club like our Hankook Greensomes, the Infinity Al Dobowi Mixed Amateur Open and the Indian Invitational. I believe that these tournaments have lasted for the many years they have only because of the dedicated support of the members and the staff. It has been a really fun ride for me over the last 25 years. I have had the opportunity to meet with and play with some of the top professionals in golf; I have negotiated some big deals on the course or in Le Classique, but most importantly, I have gained many invaluable friendships along the way that I will cherish for life. Congratulations to Emirates Golf Club for 25 years and more importantly, congratulations to the heart and soul of the Club all of the members! Thank you for allowing me such wonderful experiences. - Surender Kandhari
t’s difficult to believe that it is the 25th Anniversary of the Club on March 8th, 1988 and I remember that day watching the then president of Pakistan teeing off from the first tee! It was 25 years ago when I was sitting at the Hilton Beach Club after a game of tennis when it was mentioned that Emirates Golf Club was to be opened for membership but restricted to 500 members, so we were invited to join which we did quick smart! Since then it has grown into an internationally renowned club
joined Emirates Golf Club as soon as the registration forms were circulated, mainly because it was going to be the first and only grass course in Dubai and I was impressed with the plans of the course and the Club itself. It would have been difficult to imagine then how much things would have developed over the years with the addition of a second course, a Par 3 course, the annual Dubai Desert Classic and the huge growth of membership. My sons, Michael and Lawrence and my daughter, Natasha, all played tennis there and I enjoyed many games of golf and great quality time with my two sons.
Unfortunately, Natasha gave up the game after a few months.
any, many congratulations to Emirates Golf Club for the milestone of 25 incredible years. Having the honour of being a long standing member, Captain and Club Champion has ensured both myself and my family have had a wonderful experience at the Club and I would like to say a special thank you to Mohamed Juma Buamim (Mo) for his support during my captaincy. I would also like to thank all the management and staff for many fond memories, especially with my late wife Lynne who experienced so many treasured times and made such good friends as part of Jacqui Barry’s ‘TOTS’ tours to various destinations around the world.
I am extremely proud of Michael who was invited to play in the Dubai Desert Classic this year – a great achievement for an amateur. The Club has great potential and a great future if the present management is allowed to run the Club without too much emphasis on profits and if they manage to enhance the benefits and services for members.
Congratulations to one and all and hope to see you all soon. Mick Brett Captain 2005-2006
- Peter Harradine
e joined Emirates Golf Club because the old Hilton Beach Club was closing down to make way for a new fancier club. I think they are now re-building on that site for the second time in 25 years! I was an avid tennis player so I thought I would continue this at Emirates Golf Club and play league tennis. We were also enticed to join by the offer of a special membership fee and an Omega watch! I vividly remember driving all the way down the Abu Dhabi highway (as Sheikh Zayed Road was called then) and thinking “Where is this? It’s miles away! How am I going to be in time to drive back and do all the school runs?” I had no idea how to play golf and I remember Maureen Bogg saying to me, “Put a glove on your left hand, keep one eye on that small white ball and just hit!” Hit where? And how? Bernadette Bibby arrived, like a fashion icon, with absolutely no idea how to play but she definitely looked the part. She gave me my first bright pink glove!
and I am very proud to have been a member and to witness its success. Being a founder member I have known all of the Lady Captains though we are now saying farewell to two Past Captains Angela Connor and Brenda Cornwall who are leaving the UAE after twenty years or more. Emirates Golf Club has given me many years of enjoyment and I wish the Club every success for the future. - Afifa Clark
I knew immediately I needed lessons and James Williams has been my mentor ever since! My golf is no reflection of his teaching, just my brain! I played my best golf when I was pregnant with my son Jonny who is now 24! Emirates Golf Club
was great socially. We were a very small group and Management were always around to help us and they were just as eager as we were to make the social side work. We used to play night golf with a fluorescent ball. We never hesitated to walk into the lake and retrieve our balls! We drove the carts like maniacs. In those days I mostly played with Margaret Bain who still today has the best sense of humour of all times! I have never had a Hole-in-One but I witnessed Jacqui Barry’s on the Majlis 11th. We really celebrated that day! James Williams and his band ‘Jamie & The Divots’ used to play at every event. Achy Breaky Heart was everyone’s favourite song! When The Faldo was built, the 3rd hole, which today is the 12th hole, was a dramatic disaster. A par 3 on an island surrounded by huge pebbles, water and flamingoes! The wind never stopped! It was always a topic of conversation in the Clubhouse. The staff have always been brilliant, especially in the Spike Bar, Locker Room, and Bag Storage! I have never lost a club and I still own my second hand Ping putter bought in 1988! Countless memories..a book in itself.....I wish the Club many congratulations for the past 25 years, and I hope I will still be around for the Club’s 50th Anniversary! - Maggie Neil
had fallen in love with the game ongratulations of golf in the early seventies to a wonderful living in South Africa, so when the Club on its ‘Desert Miracle’ became a reality I 25th anniversary. just had to join – whatever the cost. The course and facilities were by far Nancy Wingate the best I had ever seen and back in Lady Captain -88 Dubai was not awash with top 2003-2004 class recreational facilities of this kind – the only negative at the time was “ why so far away from town “. In the early days much of my free time was spent at the club, evenings on the Driving range and weekends playing, Le Classique was the obvious choice whenever we had visitors from overseas and also for our annual Christmas party and any other major celebration.
The golfing facilities were and are still second to none, great courses and good training facilities, the Majlis being my favourite lay out. From the start we realised that it was not really a ‘Golf Club’ in the traditional way, it was and will always be a facility to promote Dubai as a tourist destination and an important facility to help attract many top companies to the region. However, between the management and the members a close bond has developed which really makes this a club as good as they come with lots of good and well organised competitions and recreational activities. The MCC is a good tool to communicate and should be used. Emirates Golf Club brought something to Dubai which is very welcome but has nothing to do with golf and that is an abundance of birds; before the Club opened you would rarely ever see a bird of any kind in Dubai, some migratory birds would make their annual ‘fly by Dubai’ visit, but otherwise none. In the beginning we used to have some eccentric Brits dressed like Sherlock Holmes with binoculars wandering around the course checking for new species and the results would be in the Gulf News the following day; today we have birds everywhere and it is great to see but we could do without the crows though. - Steinar Bratland
dream come true – but we never realised that in the early days of April 1988 when Emirates Golf Club opened! In fact many of us thought that this unexpected development and construction of a grass golf course so far out of Dubai City was going to be a ‘White Elephant’ and completely fail! HOW WRONG WE WERE!! Emirates Golf Club is now 25 years old and has flourished since the day it opened! Never mind how far it was out of the city – we avid golfers who had no other choice up to that time but to play golf on sand and browns (great though that was!) at the Dubai Country Club, now had real grass to play on and the design and layout of the course was fantastic from the very beginning. To this day
Founder Members, Past and Present Captains and Vice-Captains celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Emirates Golf Club
the contours of the course remain the same but the trees, shrubs and vegetation have all matured over the many years, making it one of the premier golf courses in the world. We are very fortunate to have had such a great course designed for us in Dubai and this sentiment is echoed by all of the world-renowned Pros who visit here to play in the annual Dubai Desert Classic. To us who witnessed the creation of the Club and its subsequent continued development, we consider that Emirates Golf Club became the stepping-stone for further golf club developments in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and, indeed, the region. Our own golf club helped Dubai achieve world renown, become a major tourist destination and a favourite with the European Tour Pros. Accolades indeed!
Emirates Golf Club created a whole new life for most of us who joined in April 1988 and indeed we would probably not have stayed in Dubai but for it opening. That is just unthinkable now! It became the focal point of our social life as well as being a place to play proper golf. The facilities were great with a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts and even a bowling green at one time. The restaurant from then to this day has been Le Classique and its reputation for fine dining was guaranteed from the start with the appointment of Chef Francois in 1990 (whom we knew from the Country Club). It remains a favourite place to dine even though, sadly, Chef Francois has chosen to retire. He still comes back from time to time for ‘special occasions’ and, believe me, we all
look forward to those times! Anyway, our social lives revolved to a large extent (and still do) around Emirates Golf Club. After golf competitions on Fridays we would all retire to the pool for cocktails around the pool bar and great fun was had by all. When we were ‘just’ in the Spike Bar we would all stay on, eating there and availing of the liquid refreshments! Singing inevitably started and we remember fantastic Irish nights there with Breeda McLoughlin giving great renditions of popular Irish songs. Even Frank Johnstone used to try! An abiding memory was when we Irish played the Koreans in a match and they, too, joined in the singing! One of them even sang a favourite of theirs – “Danny Boy”!! Incredible. In days of not so good weather,
hen we arrived in Dubai, one of our first destinations was the famous Emirates Golf Club and during our 22 years of living in Dubai it was as if our whole world wonderfully revolved around it. If you were to ask either of our children what Emirates Golf Club in the early years meant to them, they would answer quite simply, “it was our second home.” We joined on the 17th April 1988, a day we see clearly in our minds eye until this very day; Rod Bogg was excited about all the family activities he had in mind and all the young pros, Elliott Gray and Adrian Flaherty to name a few, headed up by James Williams; they were all very keen on trying to persuade me, (Joan), to take up the intrepid game of golf! Ha ha if only they hadn’t been quite so keen. I have great memories of super Fridays by the pool side, our men having played a Friday competition, then all meeting together for the prize presentations. Ah, great days and great sun downers. We have been a part of history, watched the camels move out and the Sheikh Zayed highway move in: the Hard Rock Cafe has come and sadly gone but the iconic Emirates Golf Club continues to flourish and improve. We are both very proud to say that we have been Captains of EGC a special honour indeed, we thoroughly enjoyed our years as Vice-Captains and Captains, the time flew by all too quickly, but the magnificent memories still linger on. It goes without saying that the Desert Classic, Ladies’ Masters and Pro Am’s over the years were just amazing as were the New Year’s Eve and Anniversary parties, fantastically prepared as always by Chef Francois and his team, and most importantly all the wonderful staff of EGC who made it all possible, Chris, Andrew, Craig and all your colleagues, be proud as they are truly a credit to you and the Club. Most importantly what does make a club are its members and there are some very special people who have made our time at Emirates Golf Club so wonderfully memorable over the years. These dear friends are forever embellished in our hearts and we treasure the unforgettable golf experiences and après evenings around the Club that we shared with them. We thank Emirates Golf Club for making our world a truly better place. We wish you a very happy and prosperous 25th Anniversary, with even greater success in its future. - Rai, Joan, Vicky and Robert Legnar
or even when the mood struck, we would resort to crazy putting competitions, off and around the bar, and even down the stairs through the fountain that used to be at the base of the stairs. Crazy but fun times!
Major functions of the year, then and now, were the New Year’s Eve Gala dinner and the Anniversary Party when the entertainment and food were always first class and, of course, great ‘craic’, as we say in Ireland!
Parties for one reason or another were pretty frequent and we were often honoured by a performance from Jamie and the Divots, which was our resident band comprising James Williams (Head Pro), Barry Carter (Course Superintendent), Pedro Pido (Food and Beverage Manager), Charlie Fennigbaur (a very forthright member!) and Drigo who used to entertain guests with his partner Sandra in Le Classique. .Very entertaining and huge fun! Incidentally, they also played at our wedding which was held at the Golf Club. A big party!
A great enjoyment for us has also been the Dubai Desert Classic and being able to see all these wonderful World Class Golfers so close up AND play with many of
them over the years in the Pro-Ams. Tom has been privileged to play with Greg Norman, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, David Howell, Robert Karlsson, Anders Hansen and many more stars! Jacqui has also played in many Pro-Ams with the likes of Thomas Bjorn, Jimenez, Mark McNulty, Jose Manuel Lara etc Where else would we have had that opportunity?
The management and staff have contributed to a huge extent in making the Club the success it has been. They have always been helpful and courteous and go out of their way to look after the members who frequently use the Club. Without them our enjoyment would not have been the same.
The members too…so many have come and gone but common to all Being asked to be Captain was a very was a great community spirit on proud moment for me and I really which the club has thrived. Without enjoyed my year culminating this our enjoyment would never in being presented to Ernie Els when he won the Desert have been the same! Classic. Likewise, Jacqui was Long live Emirates Golf Club! If Lady Captain in 1999-200 ever we leave it will remain in our and thoroughly enjoyed it, thoughts always and we will strive to even though it was like visit regularly. a full-time job in those days in the ladies’ - Tom and Jacqui Barry section.
ongratulations to Emirates Golf Club on your Anniversary, I well remember the beginnings of the Club, grass on the desert and lots of water hazards, how amazing. My late husband John became the first Captain and Margaret Bain the first Lady Captain. They both worked incredibly hard with the help of their committees to get the Club started, and this beautiful course is now world famous and most golfers would wish to play on it at least once in their lives. When the Club opened, very few people in Dubai were interested in golf and those who wanted to have a go knew nothing about the rules or etiquette of the game, so Margaret got the few of us who did have handicaps and had the rule book to hand, to put our names on the notice board so that we could be contacted to play with any beginner who needed help, and in twenty years of golf I don’t think I have ever seen so many odd situations happening, such as golf carts going for a swim in the lakes, and on one occasion a guest golfer who joined John and me on the first tee, and left us on the seventh because he fell into the water trying to retrieve his ball. A case of forgetfulness, when the new nine holes was first opened... John and I arranged a game with another couple to see how good it was. We got to the second tee when one of the couple wanted to go to the bathroom, so to be as fast as they could they took the cart with them, while we waited at the tee allowing people to play through us; after the third game had played through we decided to carry on as we felt that perhaps they were not feeling well enough to continue but when we got back to the clubhouse, we noticed the couple coming up the 9th hole playing with some one else. In the bar a little later they brought us a drink and explained that they couldn’t remember where they had left us.
appy 25th Anniversary to Emirates Golf Club..a home away from home for most of us.. life friendships made with numerous nationalities and cultures, providing all of us expatriates an opportunityto mature while enjoying a unique lifestyle! We’ve seen friends marry then borne children, watched all our children raised and educated both domestically & abroad, married and have children of their own. The circle of life continues for all of us! These memories are times we all cherish, the memories define who we are as individuals and families. Thank you EGC...let the good times roll on for another 25 years and hopefully we’re all here to celebrate again! Mike Gerbich Captain 1994-1995
Dress code was another problem and where could one wear spikes, all these little details that go into making the character of the club, and how it will be perceived by the rest of the golfing world but this fine tuning has helped to make it a world class venue for the top competitions. Club competitions were set for the year, and taken seriously by most.
any congratulations to Emirates Golf Club on your 25th birthday! In the early 80s not many people would have given credence to the idea of a super Golf Club... how wrong they were! So many happy memories for so many people and it certainly put Dubai on the golfing map. Wishing you many more successful years.
During one of the mixed foursomes, John and I were playing together and we were half way down the first hole when a golfer came running over shouting “Captain, Captain there is a problem, someone is playing without a collar on his shirt” John’s reaction was unprintable, and he carried on to play the worst golf he had played for years, and for those who remember him, that was difficult. These and other interruptions plagued him during that first year, but he thoroughly enjoyed the honour of being the first Captain and then being invited onto the Board of Directors. The European Tour organisers came to have a look at the course and made the decision to include our Club on the Asian circuit, and in the first Pro-Am to be played John drew Nick Faldo, a daunting prospect. He was warned that Nick was a man of few words. They teed off and John’s ball hooked over to the left not far from the tee, Nick looked at him and said, “you released early” and from that moment on John swears he didn’t say another word to him. In fairness to Nick, he does have the longest legs and even walking slowly he out-paced us all. He joined us for lunch afterwards and was charming, but John always remembers that he only spoke three words to him throughout the game. I have so many happy memories, and hope one day to revisit Emirates Golf Club again. I still have some shirts with the logo on and golf hats, all reminding me of the Club and the girls with whom I played, so good luck for many years to come. - Tricia Lewis
Helen Hawa Lady Captain 1990-1991
e decided to join EGC as a family on our very first visit to the Club, where the lush green fairways were like nothing else in Dubai. The only other golf course in Dubai at that time was at Dubai Country Club where we carried around a small square of astroturf in our efforts to get on the ‘browns’. If I remember correctly, we all took lessons with Adrian Flaherty, and it’s been nice to see him involved since the beginning. Another club staple has been Chef François, whom we had
known since the Country Club days. It will be a shame to see him go after all these years. The Club had such a warm feel, where one knew all the members, and everyone made an effort to play the Monthly Medal and where we enjoyed the Club Accumulator nights together. The old Spike Bar definitely had an ‘old school’ feel where we all spent a lot of time. All said, the Club has been an integral part of our life in Dubai and it is nice to see that our son and grandchildren are active members there today. - Pramod Arora
he opening of Emirates Golf Club 25 years ago was a high profile event with the official first ball being struck by the then Pakistan President Zia Ul-Huq. I was present on this occasion and although the Majlis has continued to harass me ever since there is no doubt of the enjoyment it has given me over these many years. My son had his first hole-in-one on the 11th thus beating his father who has yet to achieve this anywhere! It is now difficult to imagine life in Dubai without Emirates Golf Club and I offer my warmest congratulations on its 25th Anniversary.
Doug Dowie Captain 2010-2011
recall with massive warmth and affection the glorious founding years of the Emirates Golf Club with which I am so proud to have played my small part as Lady Captain 1995-1996. When I say that my tenure as Lady Captain was probably the wettest on record I refer primarily to the unusual rainfall we endured that year, although there will be some members reading this who will recall that it was also fairly wet in other ways! Bar sales up, umbrella sales up – what more could I have done? The highlights of my year are too numerous to mention but one outstanding memory I shall always cherish is to have received the victorious Ryder Cup team, and to have shared an evening with the wonderful late Seve Ballesteros and his team as the trophy was presented by Seve at the Desert Classic Celebration Dinner. What an evening! I am also proud to have served for several years as Chief Marshal for the Desert Classic, a role I shared with my male counterpart Charlie Ryder. We had many anxious moments during that period but above all are the wonderful memories of being hands-on at one of the world’s finest tournaments, and of being close up to the world’s finest golfers. Wonderful years! Wonderful club! I offer my congratulations to all at EGC who have so successfully kept the flag flying, and I extend my very best wishes to the Club and all members for the 25th Anniversary
ver since we moved to Dubai all those years ago, Emirates Golf Club has been our second home and where we have made wonderful friends. Congratulations and best wishes for the next 25 years!
Trudi Green Lady Captain 1995-1996
Rekha Bandopadhyay Lady Captain 2007-2008
hen we had first joined the Emirates Golf Club as a family we had no idea about golf as a game or how beautifully addicting it could be. As a family, it got us all to spend more time with each other in learning about something that we all eventually began to love even more. Emirates Golf Club in its beginning was a small family bound together with a variety of different personalities but even the staff made you feel like you always had personal attention and care. We
all, as a family, used to participate in helping marshal for the initial Desert Classics where back in the day you got to rub shoulders with some of your stars. There is no question that the club has expanded in its different facilities, membership as well as branding for events that has brought even more exposure. For us as a family it will still always be a place where, whenever we enter, brings a sense of even greater nostalgia to some precious memories we will always cherish. The only suggestion that I may give is that with the expansion
of Dubai and the other clubs also being available to all, it is important to always have that personal attention that people want to come back to a warm and friendly environment. Facilities will grow, events will increase in number, and people will get distracted by the numerous fun activities that Dubai now offers. The only difference is that people will keep coming back as EGC
makes them feel like they are not just a membership number but part of something more personal. I again would like to thank all at Emirates Golf Club for making the last 25 years in Dubai memorable and we look forward being part of it for many more decades to come. Kind Regards, - Manu Soni and Karan Soni
25TH Annivers Friday 22nd March2013
s a r y G o l f D ay
2 5 th A n n i v e r s a r y M e m
mbersâ€™ Part y
Monday 18th March 2013
Rod Bogg who was the first General Manager at Emirates Golf Club and since then has worked with Dubai Golf and wasl, has spent two years collating material for his book, â€˜The Desert Miracleâ€™ which is every bit a masterpiece as the Club itself. Congratulations Rod on a fantastic souvenir book. This souvenir issue of Club Life could not possibly compare with what Rod has written, nor is it supposed to and this has taken two weeks, rather than two years to put together. However, it is just a collection of messages, photos and some of my favourite excerpts from early Club Life magazines. Many thanks to Ganesan Mangathil at In-House Publishing and especially to Graphic Designer, Eugene Inso, who is an absolute wizard at designing Club Life each month; without his help my job would be much more difficult. Enjoy our Silver Anniversary year and congratulations to all present and past staff and members who have contributed to making this Club the success it is today.