MEGA night for the greatest of Middle East golf
The achievements of the golf industry in the region were recognised in the most fantastic manner on Wednesday night in a sparkling function at the One & Only Royal Mirage Amphitheatre, where the inaugural Middle East Golf Awards (MEGAs) were handed out in 18 categories.
In front of a sold-out function, more than 300 guests were part of the MEGAs, which recognised the people behind some of the biggest tournaments in the world, and those who work in the background to ensure that golf courses and allied facilities in the region set the standards for others.
Three men who have been part of UAE’s incredible journey since the first green golf club was inaugurated way back in 1988, were honoured with the individual awards.
Mohammed Juma Buamaim, CEO and vice-chairman of ‘golf in DUBAi’, organisers and promoters of Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Dubai Ladies Masters and the MENA Tour, was honoured for Outstanding Contribution to Golf.
The Dubai Desert Classic will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in six weeks, but as significant the impact of that event has been on the UAE golfing scene, Buamaim is also known for his tireless efforts to promote golf among the UAE nationals and Arabs.
Nick Tarratt, Director of the European Tour, Middle East, and Peter Harradine, one of the region’s foremost golf course architects, were jointly named Golf Business Personality of the Year.
Tarratt has played a key role in managing sponsorship and other operational aspects of the DP World Tour Championship, the season-ending tournament of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
He is also instrumental in getting the region’s first Challenge Tour event to Muscat earlier this year, and in the Challenge Tour Grand Finale moving to Dubai Festival City’s Al Badia Golf Club.
Just how important Harradine’s contribution to the game in the region is, can be gauged by the fact that all four short-listed golf courses in the ‘Best Golf Course Under Dh400 Green Fee’ award were designed by him.
Even though he is well known as the designer of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Doha Golf Club – permanent host venues of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and Qatar Masters – he is a firm believer in making the game cheaper for players through building nine-hole courses.
The golf course awards were won by Yas Links (Best Golf Course of the Year – Over Dh400 Green Fee) and Al Hamra (Best Golf Course of the Year – Under Dh400 Green Fee). The par-4 18th hole of Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club was named the ‘Hole of the Year’.
Chris White, GM of Yas Links, said: “This is just amazing for us. In the space of one week, we have been voted the No1 golf course in the region by Golf Digest and now Sport360°. This is a result of the hard work put in by the brilliant team that we have at Yas Links.”
Simon Mees of Al Hamra was delighted with the honour and said: “This is the first award that we have won and hence this is extremely special.”
Dubai Creek’s Alan McKenzie said: “I remember once I was six-under par through 16 holes when the course record was 66 and the course was a par-72. I needed to par the last two holes to match it, but I made a bogey on the 17th and a double on the 18th.
“But it is that kind of a hole. Anything can happen there. It’s a tough closing stretch we have at Creek.”
There will be a double celebration this week in Las Vegas with the Butch Harmon School of Golf at The Els Club winning the Best Academy of the Year. Claude Harmon, Butch’s son and the man responsible for setting up the academy, is getting married this week.
The Address Montgomerie was adjudged the golf course with the Best Practice Facilities, while Mark Gregson-Walter’s much acclaimed Kellogg’s Grass Roots programme, where he has reached out to 14 schools and initiated more than 200 children to the game, was named ‘Youth Initiative of the Year’.
The DP World Tour Championship was named the ‘Best Professional Tournament’.
THE WINNERS IN FULL
BEST PRACTIVE FACILITY OF THE YEAR
The Address Montgomerie
BEST ACADEMY OF THE YEAR
Butch Harmon School of Golf at The Els Club
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR
Kellogg’s Grass Roots by MGW Golf
APPAREL OF THE YEAR
FootJoy (Pro Sports International)
EQUIPMENT OF THE YEAR
Titleist (Pro Sports International)
RETAILER OF THE YEAR
Golf House (Pro Golf)
BEST F&B OUTLET OF THE YEAR
Qube Sports Bar, Meydan Golf
BEST GOLF SPONSORSHIP OF THE YEAR
Emirates NBD for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic
BEST GOLF MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
Yas Links Summer Passport 2013
GOLF SOCIETY OF THE YEAR
The Dubai Divots
CORPORATE TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR
Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge by Xerox Emirates
AMATEUR TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR
Conares Golf Society League by Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club
PROFESSIONAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
DP World Tour Championship, Dubai
HOLE OF THE YEAR
Dubai Creek & Yatch Club – Par-4 18th hole
GOLF COURSE OF THE YEAR UNDER 400 AED GREEN FEES
Al Hamra Golf Club
GOLF COURSE OF THE YEAR ABOVE 400 AED GREEN FEES
Yas Links Abu Dhabi
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO GOLF
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, CEO, golf in DUBAi
GOLF BUSINESS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Nick Tarratt, Director of the European Tour,
Middle East Peter Harradine of Harradine Golf