Thursday, November 03, 2005

“Dubai, It’s Not Just A Desolate Sand Ridden Spot On A Map Anymore!”

For the past few years, a small oasis in the Middle East called Dubai has been growing at a remarkable pace. Only twenty-five years ago, a good amount of its inhabitants were nothing more than nomadic Bedouin Shepard’s who wandered the sandy dunes from one day to the next tending to their flocks. That all quickly changed once the reserves of Black Gold or Texas Tea (whichever you prefer) were discovered and taped into like a full keg at a frat party.

Now, Dubai is blossoming into an economic juggernaut whose main ambition as of late is tourism amongst other things. The small oasis in the desert has become quite the playground for those who can afford it. Currently, Dubai has either completed or is in the midst of completing a number of massive construction projects estimated to be in the $30 billion dollar neighborhood.

What’s so wonderful about Dubai you may ask? Well, just ask Donald Trump. For the first time in his robust career, he’s lending his name and resources to at least three of Dubai’s building projects in the soon to come future. Now that Trump has his name written in the sands of Dubai, what’s next on his itinerary? Perhaps Trump Middle Eastern Golf Course? Who knows? Nevertheless, if Trump does decide to make a foray into the golf course business in Dubai, he’ll have some vigorous competition.

This desert oasis is home to several world class golf courses such as the Emirates Golf Club, the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club designed by Thomas Bjorn, the Arabian Ranches Golf Course designed by Jack Nicklaus and Ian Baker Finch and the Dubai Festival City Al Bandi Golf Resort which was designed by Robert Trent Jones II. Also, the Nad Al Sheba Club, which is my pick because the entire course is lit up under flood lights until midnight. The Sheba also hosts the Dubai World Cup which is the worlds’ richest horse race. Next year it will take place on March 6, offering a purse of $6 million.

Perhaps the one course that gets the most ink as of late is The Mongomerie Dubai which opened in 2003. I’ll give you one guess who aided in the design of this beauty……Awwwww, what gave it away? In fact, the course is quite the jewel. Co-designed with Desmond Muirhead, this course can brag that it is the “Full Monty”, boasting 14 lakes, 72 bunkers and the worlds’ largest green. The contoured par three 13th plays host to a massive 58,000 square-feet of undulating dance floor. Not too shabby if you ask me.

Traditional? Maybe not as much as some would hope, but Dubai is striving to create courses similar to those of the United States in hopes to draw in more tourist dollars.

For the past 16 years, Dubai has been the home of the Dubai Desert Classic. Recently, this contest of balls, sticks and wits has been the topic of many news outlets mainly because two of its announced competitors are the best golfers in their own right. Tiger Woods, the worlds’ number one player and also Colin Montgomerie, number one on the order of Merit overseas. Monty sure has been making waves on both tours this past year as has Tiger. No word on Ernie Els making an appearance as he is rehabbing his knee but the Big Easy has won the tournament three times thus far and he has until February 2nd when the tournament starts at Emirates Golf Club.

The total prize money this year has soared to $2.4 million, with $400K going to the victor. Since 2000, the prize money for this tournament has risen sharply by $733K. I know what you may be thinking, $400K for a “W” is a mere pittance to us domestics but it’s a pretty decent size compared to other tournament totals on the European schedule.

Dubai. Say it with me. Duuuuuubaiiiiiii. It just rolls off your tongue doesn’t it? I’ll be watching in early February to see how it all plays out.

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