Date: Mon 07 Nov 2016

Dave Sampson's design of Royal Greens Golf & Country Club wins two Best Leisure Development accolades

In a first for a Saudi Arabian leisure development, the Royal Greens Golf Course and Country Club at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) has won two Best Leisure Development accolades from the International Property Awards.

Royal Greens Golf & Country Club
Royal Greens Golf & Country Club
Royal Greens Golf & Country Club
Royal Greens Golf & Country Club

The 2016 Awards recognized Royal Greens as the Best Leisure Development in Saudi Arabia and named the Club as the sole nominee as Best Leisure Development in Arabia in the global competition, which will be announced in London later this year. “This is an unprecedented achievement for a Saudi leisure facility and shows that this country can compete and win at the very highest levels of the leisure and tourism industry,” said Fahd Al-Rasheed, Managing Director and CEO of King Abdullah Economic city. “The Royal Greens Golf Club is a stunning development and a key component of the city’s rapidly growing leisure offering.”

Designed by Dave Sampson of London based European Golf Design, the course will be capable of satisfying a wide range of golfing abilities, and will embrace the classic strategic elements of the world's most famous and enduring golf courses.

Set alongside the Red Sea coastline, the existing desert site was a uniquely beautiful platform for golf. ‘’The design intention was to create a golf course rich with variety and choice, and ultimately, a course which the golfer will never tire of. With the prevailing wind blowing off the Red Sea, the course has been routed in such a way that holes play in multiple directions, creating a layout is that is brimming with risk-and-reward choices, and opportunities for creative and varied shot making.’’

Construction works commenced way back in 2008, and sixteen of the holes were actually shaped up. Unfortunately, the 2009 recession saw works come to a halt, but construction re-commenced in late 2014.

Playing to a par of 72 and a maximum length of just over 6900 yards, the Course is characterized by beautifully manicured playing surfaces, enhanced by the creation of wadi & lake features and colourful and maintained native landscaped areas. Regular shaped bunkers, set within the manicured grassed areas, contrasts with freeform desert waste bunker edges. The creation of bold contouring, contrasting with the odd subtlety and ‘imperfection’, not only creates intrigue, but also ties all golf course features seamlessly into the neighbouring leisure facilities.

Inspired by the surrounding Saudi Arabian desert landscape, numerous wadi features, which meander through the golf site, play a significant strategic & functional role on numerous holes. These features help to alleviate storm drainage from both the golf course and adjacent residential neighbourhoods and each wadi terminates in one of the four salt water lakes, all of which have been created for strategic challenge, aesthetic enhancement and habitat creation. As well as enhancing the course’s visual appeal and challenge, these ‘drainage’ features, along with the spectacular views of the Red Sea, will further characterise the course setting and compliment the perfectly manicured green, tee & fairway edges.

Due to the potentially harsh climatic conditions, especially in the summer, and the potential high levels of salt in the existing soils, extensive design precautions have been taken in the selection of both the grass and the irrigation system.
As the first seeded paspalum blend, Platinum Pure Dynasty, bred to produce faster establishment, tighter density, better disease resistance, and improved spring green-up, has been used for all the playing surfaces. With Platinum TE as one of the genetic parents, Pure Dynasty shares the benefits of salt tolerance when mature, quick recovery, dark green colour, and an upright growth habit for excellent playability.

The irrigation system, designed by UK based company Irritech, provides uniform and efficient application of water, minimises wastage, and has been designed to provide for the sustainable use and management of water.
Complimenting the golf course is a premium golf academy featuring a state-of-the-art teaching facility with extensive practice areas including a full length driving range with swing studios, as well as extensive putting, chipping and bunkers greens complexes. The Academy will open in December 2016, offering instruction and practice facilities including special facilities for women and children to learn the game.

Grassing was completed in late September this year, and all landscape plantings will be complete in the next few weeks. A soft opening is planned for April 2017, with the official course opening scheduled for later in the summer. The facility will be managed by Troon Golf, the world’s largest operator of competition grade courses.

About King Abdullah Economic City

King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is the largest privately-funded new city in the world. Situated on the west coast of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, KAEC covers an area of 181 square kilometres of land, approximately the size of Washington DC. KAEC comprises King Abdullah Port, the Coastal Communities residential districts, the Haramain Railway district and the Industrial Valley. The city is under development by Emaar, The Economic City, a publicly listed Saudi joint-stock company established in 2006.

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