Norman lauds strides made by Al Mouj Golf
Two-time Major winner Greg Norman, who designed the Al Mouj Golf course, has reaffirmed his belief that his creation in the sultanate is one of the best in the world. The former world No 1 and renowned golf course designer, popularly known as ‘The Shark’ expressed his views ahead of the third Oman Open, which will be held at the picturesque course.
The prestigious US$1.75mn European Tour event will be held from February 27-March 1. The transformation of the scrubland between Muscat airport and the Sea of Oman could have been a daunting challenge for Norman, but ‘The Shark’ took it in his stride and created.
“One of the finest courses I have ever designed anywhere in the world,” he said as Golf Oman continues its preparations for the event. With the stars of the European Tour set to touchdown later this month, Norman is pleased to hear positive feedback from those involved in the event.
“When designing a course, I always strive to create a layout that is both challenging yet playable for all levels of golfers and it is especially rewarding when a course is then selected to host a Championship event,” he said.
“The huge bonus for me was that I was able to create a vast natural habitat which quickly became a haven for birdlife and various flora and fauna. “The original site was devoid of plant life so we brought in as many indigenous plants, bushes trees, cacti and shrubs we could find and introduced lakes and streams to the layout, which soon became home for all manner of creatures.
Combine this newly created habitat with the incredible views of the Al Hajar mountain range and the Sea of Oman in the backdrop, and you end up with a visually stunning golf course. “It’s important to me to make our golf courses as eco-friendly as we possibly can and it’s extremely rewarding to see the positive effect this project has had on the growth of golf in the sultanate.
“I was pleased that the ‘mountain-shaped’ grassed sand dunes that run the length of the course on the inland side, achieved exactly what we planned, in masking the views towards the airport, which enhanced the views towards the Al Hajar mountain range, and silencing the noise from the nearby highway.”
Other courses in the region that Norman has designed include Jordan’s first championship course at Ayla Golf Club and the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, which plays host to the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship, but the Australian believes Al Mouj is the pick of the bunch.
“Each hole should have its own unique characteristics and the course should have as wide a variety of holes as is possible and I reckon we achieved that. I can reaffirm my original assessment that Al Mouj is one of the best courses I have ever designed.”
The 2018 Oman Open winner Joost Luiten and a host of the European Tour’s top stars are set to compete in the Oman Open looking to collect valuable World Ranking and Ryder Cup qualification points in addition to seeking out the silverware on offer for the winner. Muscat Daily is the media partner for the Oman Open 2020.