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ISSUE 1 May 2010

Editor: Jacqui Barry


elcome to Emirates Golf Club official members’ newsletter which will be a monthly publication full of news of members and information about what’s happening at your Club. As many of you know, I have been writing the ‘Chipping In’ newsletter for the past 12 years which is a ladies’ section update so my thoughts on a name for the Club newsletter revolved around ‘Chipping OUT’, as well as various others. However, when the Club first opened we had a wonderful monthly magazine that was called ‘Club Life’ and, after giving this a lot of thought and trying to come up with something original, I have decided that this title really encapsulates everything so here we go… CLUB LIFE, 21st Century version. This is your Club and your newsletter so please do send me any comments, suggestions or newsletter contributions to Jacqui Barry - Editor

Emirates Golf Club Captain’s Comments

Mike Tracey Captain Emirates Golf Club


y now most of you will have visited our new temporary home, while our iconic clubhouse and facilities get a well-deserved facelift. The club moved from the old and dated into the new temporary facilities on March 21st and all went smoothly. I commend the Management and Staff of the Emirates Golf Club as all golf operations were business as usual during the move. I realize that this major construction project may cause some inconvenience but the finished product will be fabulous with regard to design and functionality. The new handicap system adopted by the Emirates Golf Federation is now in full swing and hopefully all are adjusting to this major change. At the start of the new handicap scheme, we saw major swings from our old handicaps to the new. As

more rounds are completed and entered, you will see a smaller variance from month to month. The system kicks in fully once 20 rounds have been submitted where only your best 10 will count against the course rating. For the past 20 years I have played off between 8 and 10 handicap and can’t remember the last time I won anything. Since the start of the new system I have been up twice to get a prize. If there is hope for me, there is hope for all, as I believe this gives a better indication of how you are currently playing. Should you have any questions or concerns, please see Barney and any of the golf operations staff, as they will be happy to help. I would ask that all do their best to understand and support the Emirates Golf Federation’s initiative, as it is now official policy within the UAE. There is some great golf being played at our world-class facility in all categories (Men, Women and Juniors), as seen in recent results in the many competitions held at EGC. I congratulate all the winners and participants and look forward to even better play in the months ahead. A great golf course is best enjoyed when it is the object of great care. I urge all to take care of our courses by fixing our pitch marks and those inadvertently overlooked by other members and guests. This includes sand

traps and tee boxes as well. A little effort goes a long way in keeping our facility at the top where it belongs. It has now been 7 months since I took over as Men’s Captain of the club and I can assure you I am enjoying every minute. The support and friendship I have received has been outstanding and I can’t thank you enough. I would also like to thank our Lady Captain, Martha Wong for her strong effort and positive outlook, not to mention her on-going charity drive to assist those in need. Martha has been a pleasure to work with and a great friend. Most of us will travel to climates more bearable during the summer months and the months ahead will pass quickly and before we know it we will have a new clubhouse and an improved Majlis championship golf course. During the next 6 months or so, the Management and Staff here at the club will be hard at work at making sure that all is perfect for the start of the next season where we will enjoy all the positive changes at the EGC. May I take this opportunity to thank all members of staff at the Emirates Golf Club for their efforts throughout the year and for what I know will be a long hot summer ahead. Have Fun.


Mike Sim

Incoming Vice Captain


ike started to play golf at a local 9-hole course in the north east of Scotland at what then was quite


a young age. It had its own flock of sheep that acted as temporary green keeping staff. They were

environmentally friendly, but sometimes a bit messy around the greens. Nobody in the club licked the ball clean in that club! The pro, whose name quite appropriately, was David Shepherd was also the head greenkeeper, owner of the sheep and the barman and seller of the

Club Life crisps and Mars Bars that were the only F & B available at the time. His daughter actually held the record, winning the Club Championship something like 24 years consecutively and was in the Guinness Book of World Records. David was a customer of Mike’s father who was the local barber and started to encourage the barber to start playing golf. It was all part of a barter system. Free haircuts in exchange for free tee times. Mike described his Dad’s swing as something similar to an octopus falling out of a tree and new clubs and all the best gear was never on the agenda. He did, however, encourage Mike to start playing and, thankfully, did not try to give him lessons. Being a true Scot, his father was reluctant to pay the annual junior fee, which by the way was ten shillings or fifty pence in today’s money. Mike was assured that nobody cared about the junior members and that all he had to do was walk onto the course some distance away from the clubhouse. That would have been okay but Mike did not have any clubs. Not a problem was the answer, “Go into the members’ locker room and open up the wooden benches and there you’ll find everything you need, Niblicks, mashie niblicks, brassies and all sorts of other wonderful weapons. Take whatever you want. It is old trash that the members leave for somebody

else to clean up.” It was like a graveyard for wooden clubs because around this time, the real members had just started to progress to steel shafts, so there he was with an old leather bag that weighed in at about 20lbs and was probably left by Tom Morris himself, filled with an assortment of wooden clubs. The only thing that was needed then was a ball. Mike remembers watching with envy as the posh members would stand on the first tee and take out a Dunlop 65 or Penfold. They would unwrap the black cellophane paper to reveal this beautiful gleaming white ball. (The first new ball Mike played with was many years later.) He was told to take a walk round the perimeter of the course until he

found something suitable to play with. Usually this meant an old potato with more cuts and smiles on it than cover. Maybe not the start of a budding champion but it was where Mike got the passion for this wonderful game. Strangely, even though he started to play in Scotland at the age of 12, he never held an official handicap until he joined EGC in September 1988. He has had a reasonably successful time winning a number of events and had a sizable trophy cabinet at one time. He states, however, that two of the highlights were coming second to a young Ross Bain in the Engineers’ Cup and then actually beating Ross in match play. Ross, of course, was only about 12 years old at the time. Mike has passed some of his love of golf to his son Richie, who, thanks to lessons from many different EGC pros since he started to play the game, has a swing that Mike would die for. In the early days, there was not the same choice of golfing attire and Mike and a couple of other members were guilty of wearing shorts that were not exactly meant for golf. Over the 22 years Mike has made many friends. some who have left and some who sadly are no longer with us. He states that without Emirates Golf Club he would never have stayed so long. He has wonderful memories about the club and can even tell you who the first Lady member he played with in a competition was. Yes, Mrs. Barry - it was you.

NEXT MONTH Here are three clues to next month’s ‘personality’ - for some years I used to be an amateur jockey - I drove in international car rallies - my family comes from Co Cork, Ireland




Craig Haldane Golf Course Superintendent

• Greens transitioned well and playing very well • Fairways being lightly aerified in places and transitioned well • Rough is noticeably weak in places. Bermuda is slow to come through. Aggressive fertility program in place to encourage Bermuda • Increased temperatures are encouraging weeds; big push to stay on top and keep things tidy



• Greens transitioned very well. Playing surfaces will be aggressively worked to improve surfaces and help with the additional traffic we will experience with the floodlighting • Fairways and roughs have come on great through the spring and dormancy a thing of the past. Paspalum will begin to grow aggressively in the months ahead • Landscaping works will continue along the left of 11, 13 and right of 15 to tie in the Villa areas to the course • Floodlights are completed and final tidy up to finish by beginning of May

• Irrigation works will begin later this month in terms of mobilisation and off site preparations. Main line installations may begin through May in out of play areas prior to June 1 closure • Works on the new pump station to the left of the 4th on the Faldo will begin in May. Delivery of pumps scheduled for May 15th • Final concept design for bunker renovations on the Majlis has been agreed (see below montage examples) • Floodlights up and running • Flume pipes from lake 5 on the Faldo to supply the new pump station complete. Final tie in at 4th tees to be completed by beginning of May


Hole 2 Current

Hole 2 Proposed

Hole 13 Current

Hole 13 Proposed



Spotlight On Daniel Hendry

his season has been one of great success for me; my progress this year is down to a new mental attitude to my game as I have endeavoured to eliminate any on-course angry outbursts. I started this season as a 4 handicap player and have progressed at a rapid rate to reach +1 at this current moment, to exceed all my expectations for the year. I am sitting my GCSE’S in June so this year has been very busy in terms of school work with my golf taking very much a backseat. In a strange way, this off-thecourse distraction has done only good for my golf game as my practice has become more focused and I credit my performances this year to my coach Mark Gregson-Walters, my trainer Andy and of course my parents for helping me progress to being the player I am today. In the near future, I am participating in two Scottish international tournaments - the

U16 and U18 championships and sandwiched in between these events is the English U16 championship. I will also be playing for the Gloucestershire county U18 team throughout the summer where I’m hoping I can pull off some surprise wins and make a significant breakthrough. I am very excited about my future in golf. I am staying here in Dubai for the next two years to sit my A-levels at Dubai College and to continue my golf at Emirates Golf Club. During this period I hope to win many tournaments and secure two order of merit titles on the men’s circuit. After this important period I also look to keep improving every aspect of my game in order to reach the next level and follow in the footsteps of a role model, Matthew Turner who is attending Ohio State University on a golf scholarship.

Juniors: Where are they now?


ean Thornberry left EGC last summer to study and play golf in the USA; below is an update from him… I have now spent almost two full semesters here at Odessa College in Texas. It is a two-year college offering associative degrees and the possibility of transferring to a 4-year school once I am finished. I play for their prestigious golf program, which has won more National Championship titles than any other 2-year school in the country. As of now, I have yet to break into the top 5 team but have played 5 tournaments this year and experienced what college golf is all about. I love my new life here and look to complete my education and hopefully turn professional or gain a degree that gives me the capability of working in the golfing industry later in life. I will come back next year to Odessa and look to finish my education by transferring to a 4-year school after that.

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR RULES? Q Whilst playing the 14th hole of the Faldo course, Darren’s ball finished adjacent to a floodlight pole. What is the ruling? A The floodlight poles and concrete bases are to be treated as immovable obstructions. If a player’s ball lies on or touches the immovable obstruction or if the immovable obstruction interferes with the player’s stance or area of intended swing, the player is entitled to free relief. In taking relief, the player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty,

within one club length of and A NO, relief is not granted for a not nearer the hole than the line of sight. The ball MUST be nearest point of relief. The played from where it lies. nearest point of relief must not Q During play of the 11th hole, be in a hazard or on the putting Surender hooked his second green. shot towards the lake. To his Q Whilst playing the 5th hole of amazement, the ball struck the the Faldo course, Drummond floodlight pole and finished hit a fantastic drive down the one foot from the pin. Mike, right of the hole and due to Surender’s opponent, insisted the flag position on the right he had to play the shot again. of the green, a floodlight Was Mike correct? was in between the flag and A NO, the ball is in play. If a ball Drummond’s ball in play. Surely strikes the floodlight then it is Drummond gets to drop the the ‘rub of the green’ and the ball away? ball MUST be played as it lies.


Emirates Golf Club SPECIAL CLUB EVENTS In March we had two special members’ events - Mike Tracey’s Captain’s Day and the Kohlman Nations’ Cup, both of which were great fun and very memorable.

Captain’s Day What a great day this was! The afternoon started with Mike Tracey’s drive and his second.. and his third! Fortunately the first ball was found so we did not need to look for the other two. The format for the day was a 5 man team Shamble (all drive, select the best drive and everyone plays their own ball for the rest of the hole), each team comprising four men and one lady. Mike, being

Canadian, had the Canadian Mounties around the course, (staff members Joy and Nancy) making sure everybody behaved themselves and, as for previous Captain’s Days, there were the usual ‘refreshment’ stops every few holes. This was followed by ‘party time’ on the terrace of the Clubhouse and everyone did just that – partied. Mike, it was a fantastic day so well done and thank you from us all.

FAMOUS FACES AT THE CLUB In the past few weeks a few famous faces have been here to play the courses including Ronan Keating, an Irish singer-songwriter who has had many record breaking hits as a solo artist, and with Boyzone; Vernon Kay, an English television presenter, radio DJ and former model; Tony Mowbray, English former professional football player (Mowbray played for Middlesbrough, Celtic and Ipswich Town); and Zane Scotland, youngest Open Qualifier at Carnoustie.


Kohlman Cup Following on from Captain’s Day was more of the same.. the highlight of the year, the Kohlman Nations Cup. The man to thank for all of this is Moshe Kohli who goes to great lengths and expense each year to make this happen and it is

a tournament that gets bigger and better each year too. We were all treated to dinner in the temporary clubhouse afterwards where the partying continued. Thanks Moshe and congratulations on a wonderful day.

Greetings from Scottsdale Finally settled in Desert Highlands, a gated Jack Nicklaus golf community in Scottsdale Az. Although I’m playing like Barbara, we are enjoying retirement and the Sonoran deserts of this part of Arizona. DH is the site of the original Skins game when Jack, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player & Tom Watson opened the community about 25 years ago! Visitors so far - Dale & Terry Chervinski, Anja Monke & Kai Winklevoss. Your room is ready!!

Francie and Mike Gerbich


Club Life FAREWELL J os ie y Trace at Ho le 12 Faldo

ajlis e4M

From Parry Kismet and I arrived with our two children from Cairo in October 1985 and we have been here for the longest period we have spent in one country during my working life. After a 10-year stint with what is now Emirates NBD, I set up a pharma packaging unit in Jebel Ali from where I retired on March 31st. Kismet and I leave for a place called Aamaby Valley where our house is being built but in the meantime, we will be housed in temporary accommodation. The website, in case anyone wants to check it out, is Everyone is welcome to come and stay and play golf at an excellent course though a tough one. My contact numbers are available from EGC membership services department should anyone wish to contact me. Regards to all and thank you for all the wonderful times we have had at the Club.

t Hol rani a ay Is Sanj

This month we say good-bye/adieu to two long time members of the Club - Parry Bahri who is going back to India after a 30 year stay in Dubai and past Captain and founder member, Paul Thornberry who is also leaving after 30 years here.

HOLE – IN - ONE FLOODLIT FALDO The Faldo floodlights were officially launched exclusively to the members on Friday 9th April with a 9 hole Scramble event. The lights were turned on and the ribbon was cut by Mr. Hesham Al Qassim, CEO of Wasl, accompanied by Joyshil Mitter, COO of Wasl and members of Dubai Golf’s executive team. To start the golf for the evening our Vice Captain Doug Dowie, Lady Captain - Martha Wong and UAE National Team member - Khaled Yousuf were each asked to drive off the first hole.

Paul Thornberry

We are saying farewell to another long-term member of the club, past Captain Paul Thornberry 1996 – 97. Paul is a founder member of the club and he and his family have always been great supporters of EGC, both on and off the golf course. Paul and Bernadette actually got married at the Club (had their wedding ceremony here) on April 26th 1990 and both their children, Sean and Zara were born in Dubai. Everyone, of course, knows Sean, as he was one of our top juniors before leaving for the USA last August. Our best wishes go the Thornberry’s and good luck with your new position of General Manager at Southern Valley Golf Club in Kent. Visit Also leaving the Club at the end of this month are two of our very valuable members of staff, Diago and Glory, both of whom work in reservations. Both of them are superb at their jobs, so patient when dealing with the numerous questions from members and they also have the knack of remembering faces and names of us all and even of past members who return on vacation. Diago and his family are moving to Canada and Glory is returning to the Philippines with her young daughter while her husband stays on here in Dubai. Good luck to you both. You will be sorely missed.




Take a look at this photo and e-mail me an appropriate, funny caption. The best one will be featured in next month’s newsletter.



For members of Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club Food & Beverage 20% discount on Food and Beverage - excludes Friday Brunches as well as Minibar, tobacco and all retail items - excludes Banquet events, Conferences and Meetings - discount is valid for parties up to 8 persons only Reservations: 04 317 2222 Amara 20% discount on Amara spa treatments - valid Sundays through Thursdays - excludes all retail items - offer subject to prior booking and availability Reservations: 04 602 1660 Rooms Complimentary weekend upgrade to Park Terrace Suite - valid only Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights - offer based on booking of Park Hyatt Dubai’s Rate of the Day - booking reference code DXB222 Reservations: 04 602 1000 Valid until 30 September 2010

Mina Seyahi Offers

For members of Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club Members are now entitled to a selection of discounts at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina and The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina: 15% off food and beverage (excluding Barasti and Bussola on Thursday & Friday, Brunch at The Westin on Friday and Ciro’s every day of the week)

15% off spa treatments (excluding Friday & Saturday) Reduced beach access rates of Dhs.200 (Friday & Saturday) and Dhs.150 (weekday) at Mina Seyahi 10% off best available room rate (subject to availability) For reservations, contact: Le Meridien T: 04 399 3333 E: Westin T: 04 399 4141 E: Valid until 31 December 2010 (excluding public holidays, Christmas etc)

Club Life ~ May 2010  

Monthly Members Newsletter of Emirates Golf Club

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