Thomson Perrett & Lobb, the golf course architecture practice founded by five-times Open champion Peter Thomson, has been appointed by Emirates Golf Club to modernise its flagship Majlis Course, home of the Dubai Desert Classic.
TPL will carry out an audit of the course's bunkering as part of a wider modernisation programme, overseeing the repositioning and reconstruction of bunkers to upgrade the course for professional events, including the Dubai Desert Classic and Dubai Ladies Masters, and day-to-day club and visitor play.
The 7,301-yard, par-72 layout, which opened in 1988 and was the first grass golf course in the Middle East, was ranked among the Top 100 golf course outside America by Golf Digest magazine in May 2009.
Rod Bogg, Special Advisor to Dubai Golf, and who oversaw construction of Emirates Golf Club 22 years ago, said: "We selected TPL to oversee the modernisation of the Majlis Course because of its experience in designing prestige golf courses in the Middle East and its expertise in bunkering.
"Our bunkers are out of date and, due to modern equipment, out of play. Some of the players are hitting the ball 60 or 70 yards past the fairway bunkers during the Dubai Desert Classic. While that is only one week of the year, we need to ensure that the course remains the enjoyable challenge that it is for professionals and amateurs all year round."
Mr Bogg added: "We are not redesigning the course and not adding additional bunkers to the course, but we are looking at relocating, reshaping and reconstructing the bunkers we do have to bring the course up to the highest modern standards, as well as making some improvements to the aesthetics of the course." The new look course will be in play for the Dubai Desert Classic in 2011.
TPL is already busy in the region, with its multi-course design for Dubai Golf City under construction, as well as a golf course for the landmark New Giza development in Egypt.
Tim Lobb, TPL Principal, said: "As with all of the bunker work we do at important, established courses, we are taking a subtle approach to Emirates Golf Club, treading softly and respecting the much loved design that is already in play.
"What we are doing is reviewing the bunker positioning to ensure that professionals and amateurs alike will require a clear golfing strategy to plot their way around the course. The course needs to stand up to the challenge of the world's best players, while also remaining an enjoyable challenge for the club's members and visitors. This is an exciting project and we are delighted to be working with the team at Emirates Golf Club."
Pictured (from left): Andrew Goosen (TPL), Rod Bogg (Dubai Golf), Tim Lobb (TPL), Craig Haldane (Golf Course Superintendent), Chris May (General Manager, Dubai Golf)