Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club Aims to New Heights in Garden City
Gulf News met with Gavin Chappell, Golf Director at Al Ain Riding, Shooting & Golf Club to discuss golf in Al Ain Garden City.
How long have you been in the United Arab Emirates and where has your career taken you so far?
I came to the United Arab Emirates in 2005, first at Tower Links Golf Club, Ras Al Khaimah, before moving to Al Ain in 2008. Prior to that, I started my golfing career at Beeston Fields Golf Club in Nottingham , in England, before working in Mirage City in Cairo before moving to the United Arab Emirates.
What are the plans for the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club this season and beyond?
Like all golf facilities here in the UAE, we have had to deal with the global challenges of Covid-19, and although golf operations from the UAE have not been too affected, thanks to national support from the Emirates Golf Federation, we missed golfers and groups from overseas during the previous winter golf season 2020-2021. For the coming season we hope we have started planning for them again and we are also looking to host our international events again.
We are also in talks with the organizers of the Faldo Series to strike a new deal, which will see both their qualification for the Middle East and their Faldo Series Europe Grand Final return to Al Ain for years to come, after missing the stage. event of last year. due to COVID. The Faldo Series comprises 19 events, played in eight countries on three continents, all of which qualify to come to Al Ain and meet tournament host Nick Faldo.
We are always delighted to be the host venue for the Grand Final and we enjoy exceptional international exposure thanks to this partnership throughout the year. Our on-site hotel is expected to be completed shortly with an expected opening date in the first quarter of 2022. It will be great not only from a golf club perspective for our overseas groups but also for our local visitors, as well as the added benefit it offers. will bring to all the other activities that we have here in our complex.
What do you see as the strengths and challenges for the future of the golf industry in the United Arab Emirates?
One strength that I would suggest of all golf facilities in the UAE is how we all dealt with the COVID situation last season, the golf number streaks that we share among all golf clubs attest to that.
We are moving slowly in this direction, in a collaborative manner, and we are once again opening up to a more normal operation, especially with regard to foreign visitors. Another collective strength has to be the high standard of golf clubs, golf courses and other golf facilities available and accessible throughout the UAE for all golfers. Finally, we are all blessed to be able to attend and support the international professional golf tournaments that we have access to at our doorstep in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and other emirates from time to time.
With the transient nature of many expatriate golfers in Al Ain, one of the challenges we all face as the golf industry is our mandate to develop golf in the country. Along with other UAE golf clubs, we have worked with EGF and, with their support, offer golf introductions and lessons for the local Emirates. Ahead of last season, we are also welcoming local schools to the club which will hopefully restart in the near future. I’m sure that with all the work EGF is doing, with this encouragement and other initiatives like this, we are really going to see a continued increase in the number of the local population who play golf over the years. future.