Dubai: Paul Booth, the general manager of Al Hamra Golf Club in Ras Al Khaimah, has a lot to do. The magnificent course on the coast of the United Arab Emirates will host two consecutive events on the DP World Tour, the first from February 3-6 and then from February 10-13.
He took the time to talk to Gulf News on the preparations. Here are the excerpts:
GULF NEWS: How are your preparations going as General Manager of Al Hamra Golf Club to host both the Ras Al Khaimah Championship, presented by Phoenix Capital, and the Ras Al Khaimah Classic the following week?
STAND PAUL: First of all we have to thank all our partners, without their support these events would simply not take place, especially presenting partner Phoenix Capital and DP World Tour, as well as Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), Marjan, as well as Troon, have all been fantastic to work with. Then our team on site, all worked exceptionally hard behind the scenes to make these events a reality.
The course looks fantastic, Dindy Macatlang our Golf Course Superintendent and his team have done an amazing job preparing not just one event but now consecutive weeks at RAK. The owning group, Al Hamra, have been very supportive of the events and with Troon’s support network at a corporate level, alongside the DP World Tour team, we now have the course in the best possible condition before the final Countdown.
Do you encounter any unique challenges with running back-to-back DP World Tour events?
As soon as the DP World Tour approached us, we had two immediate concerns. First, our team of associates will have their work cut out with tournament preparation to exceed DP World Tour golf course standards, as well as catering operations. That will pretty much mean around-the-clock working hours for not just a week, but now two. As you know from your own Championship experience, the teams are pumped up and the excitement comes to a head on Sunday evening with the usual presentation and celebrations. But we will have to put that on hold and be ready to go again for the second week.
The second obvious concern was the golf course. Maintaining a golf course in peak tournament conditions for 14 days will have an impact on the playing surfaces, but we are confident that we have a solid plan in place that will enable us to exceed the expectations of all stakeholders at the course. of the second week.
What does the golf course and layout look like in about a week?
The course is really taking shape. Recent high winds have left some debris lying around, but nothing too serious. Signage and hoarding will be placed early next week once the weather has calmed down a bit. The event will not require huge grandstands, although the DP World Tour, its staging team and its championship committee, including ourselves at Al Hamra Golf Club, have collectively improved the facilities of infrastructure for VIPs and tournament sponsors on the 18th hole. In my time at the club this is definitely the best condition I have seen the course.
What can we expect to see at these two events for local golfers, as well as non-golfers over the two weeks?
We are incredibly lucky to have multiple DP World Tour events in this region. It is very important that we use them not only as an opportunity to watch the best golfers in the world, but also to ensure that we develop the game and the interest. There will be a few different fun themed days at both events including: Nations Day, Women’s Day and a Family Day.
There will be prizes for the best-dressed and fun-for-all activities. Every evening there will be entertainment at the Bay, our Golf Club Bar and its famous Terrace, with the clubhouse open to all from 5.30 p.m. We also offer a range of tournament brunch packages, which include access to the clubhouse to mingle with DP World Tour players.
Al Hamra Golf Club and RAK already have a strong offering of golf destinations, how will the two events at Al Hamra Golf Club and RAK help this golf tourism initiative?
Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra and RAKTDA have done a fantastic job of putting RAK on the map as a golf tourist destination. Hopefully these two DP World Tour events will elevate us to new levels. We are spoiled throughout the UAE with world-class facilities and many tourists want to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and rightly so.
RAK offers something a little different from other emirates with a greater emphasis on outdoor activities and the Hajar Mountains that surround Ras Al Khaimah. We also have great hotels on the waterfront such as the Waldorf Astoria, the Ritz Carlton and the Hilton group of hotels, as well as many new hotels opening on the neighboring island of Marjan.