The transformation of the scrubland between Oman Airport and the Sea of Oman could have been a daunting challenge for Norman, but the two-times Major winner and holder of the World No. 1 position for 331 weeks, took it in his stride and created:
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“One of the finest courses I have ever designed anywhere in the world.”
With the stars of the European Tour set to touchdown in Oman ahead of the tournament, which gets underway on February 27 and will finish on March 1, Norman is always 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 Hajar Mountain range and the Gulf 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 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 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 season-ending DP World Tour Championship, and the Australian believes Al Mouj is the pick of the bunch.
“Each hole should be should have its 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 that my original assessment that Al Mouj is one of the best courses I have ever designed.”
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