Archive | February, 2010

The King of Links

Acclaimed designer Kyle Phillips speaks to Joy Chakravarty as he gets ready to add another jewel to his portfolio with Yas Links

Kyle Phillips, the man behind the soon-to-be-launched Yas Links, is as unique as his creation.

Like the last thing you expect to find in the desert landscape of the UAE is a piece of Scotland – and that’s exactly what the stunning links course at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island looks like – it is equally difficult to link Phillips, an American, as the designer of some of the most acclaimed modern links courses, a domain monopolised by the Scots and the Irish.

But that’s the truth. Kyle Phillips has cemented his place in the history books of the game as the designer of Kingsbarns and Dundonald – two of the finest modern links courses of recent times. That list may soon have a new addition when Yas Links is unveiled. Situated on the west shores of Yas Island, the par-72 golf course will play to 7450 yards with all 18 holes having coastal views. Virtually starting from nothing, Phillips has created a true-blue links course.
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Yas Links is ‘Different’ Class

Mike Galemore walks the course and talks to designer Kyle Phillips who has created something completely different in the Middle East – a traditional-style authentic links course that brings a new experience to the region.

SEEING is believing, they say – and Yas Links is a golf course that has to be seen to be believed. Walking the course last month with designer Kyle Phillips was akin to being transported to the seaside links of St Andrews, Royal Birkdale, or Ballybunion.

I’ve played many of the treasured links of Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales over the past half century and invested in more balls than most in the process but if I could have disregarded the warm sun on my back and the calm aqua-marine ocean I could have been back home battling the elements.

It’s remarkable how Kyle Phillips has created a genuine, traditional links course out of nothing. Where there was once flat desert wasteland there are now rolling wide fairways, deep bunkering, wispy rough and inviting, sloping greens with their traditional heartbreaking run-offs. It’s pure coastal-style links on a par with Kyle’s other links masterpieces, Kingsbarns near St Andrews and Dundonald near Troon in Scotland.
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