In 2016, Marhaba ran a feature on the Education City Golf Club (ECGC), a new golf facility that was under construction. Fast forward to the present day where we wait excitedly as the incredible facility is about to open its doors. The club is set to start accepting members in 2019 – mark the date in your diaries!
ECGC is under the umbrella of Qatar Foundation (QF) and has been built in line with QF’s vision, which holds education at its heart while being mindful of local values, sustainability, and research and development.
The club is also participating in the OnCourse® programme under the Golf Environmental Organisation, which looks at how golf courses can be a showcase for sustainability and be a responsible, resource-efficient enterprise.
The golf club will have a holistic approach to growing the game of golf through the exceptional facilities that have been engineered to keep established golfers and new golfers engaged at every stage of their development. The vision is to get people active, trying golf for the first time, enjoying it, feeling safe and welcome, and then taking up the sport of golf for life.
Interestingly enough, at the busiest golf facility at the ‘Home of Golf’ – St Andrews in Scotland – is a large putting green called the Himalayas. Every day you see hundreds of tourists, students and families playing ‘putting’ together, having fun out in the fresh air in a non-pretentious environment. Some may never venture any further with their golf, putting will be enough, but that’s OK, they are engaged with the sport and they have developed some understanding of it, enough to encourage family members who may wish to play more.
This is the concept that will be adopted at Education City Golf Club, where the extensive and exquisitely landscaped clubhouse gardens
will feature a large putting green in which all are welcome to play. Other golfing pursuits will be available – foot golf, soft golf and frisbee golf – as well as lawn games such as croquet and French boules. The innovative approach provides a gateway to new golfers or people who just want to ‘give it a go’!
Once the step is taken to try golf for real, ECGC will have a splendid array of facilities, including the amazing Centre of Excellence, a state-of-the- art learning and practice school with exceptional instructors who have the knowledge and passion to develop new golfers.
At the helm of the centre is Head Golf Professional Anthony Caira from Fife in Scotland, who has over 30 years of experience in the golf industry and who boasts the Club Managers Association of Europe’s Club Management Diploma and the Certified Club Manager exam among his credentials, as well as being PGA qualified.
Also part of the multi-national team is Helena Martins from Portugal (Memberships Manager), Nico-James Visser from South Africa
(Golf Operations Manager), and David White from the UK (Sales and Marketing Director). All four have recently joined the existing pre-opening management team of Michael Braidwood (General Manager), Mohammed Al Naimi (Deputy GM), Rhys Beecher (Director of Golf) and Darren Smith (Golf Course Superintendent).
The centre will have the first private training green that will allow ladies the opportunity to try golf in a private environment. Female participation in golf is a key area that Education City Golf Club is looking to support, with the aim of growing the game of golf among the female community in Doha. This will be done through appropriate programming, female instructors and team members, and specific events.
Increasing student and youth participation in golf is another key drive for the golf club and its facilities. In fact, all the facilities are millennial friendly! With an innovative driving range that can connect with smartphones, students and golfers can play interactive games, as the radar technology will track all shots played, ensuring games and stats can be gathered on the TrackMan driving range. With nine universities within the Education City campus there is a massive opportunity to really engage with the student population.
For the golf purist the facility features three golf courses including an 18-hole championship course, a floodlit 6-hole championship course with seven teeing ground options per hole for quick and multi-generational golf, and a floodlit 9-hole par 3 course – all spread across 120 hectares and designed by two-time US Masters winner and 2012 Ryder Cup winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
The grounds staff will be using 93 John Deere machines to maintain the greens in pristine condition, with tractors and mowers as well as ancillary equipment such as sprayers and aerators. John Deere fits in with the club’s sustainability vision as they use hybrid electric technology on more than 90% of the mowing fleet. The mowers use E-Cut Quick Adjust (QA) cutting units driven by electric reel motors allowing for energy efficiency, reduced fuel consumption and lower sound levels.
In addition to driving, putting and walking the greens, members and guests can fuel up with all day dining in the clubhouse and academy building. As the club continues to expand its services, members and guests will be able to enjoy more than just a round of golf, with corporate and personal events on offer, as well as purchase official merchandise.
For more information, visit ecgolf.com.
Author: Sarah Palmer
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