Archive | February, 2011

Yas Links Abu Dhabi named “Best Course in the Middle East”

Yas Links Abu Dhabi, the new Kyle Phillips designed golf course which debuts at IGTM this week, is the “best course in the Middle East,” according to the latest issue of Golf Course Architecture magazine.

The world-class development on Yas Island, home to the Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit, venue of the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the spectacular Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, has received widespread critical acclaim.

It is the first Middle East design for leading course architect Kyle Phillips, creator of World Top 100 Course Kingsbarns, Scotland, as well as the highly rated Verdura Golf & Spa Resort (Sicily), Dundonald (Scotland), and The Grove (London), who has created an extraordinary links overlooking the Arabian Gulf that rides rolling sand hills along three kilometers of coastline, and features nine seashore greens.

Following a recent visit to the site, Golf Course Architecture editor Adam Lawrence, wrote Yas Links is the, “first pure golf course in the Gulf,” and, “it is a golf experience like no other in the region.”

He added: “I am very confident in asserting that Yas Links is the best course in the Middle East by a distance, and that it has taken golf in the region to a whole new level.”
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That’s Amore

With the creation of Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily, Italy is starting to come into its own as a golf destination.

Golf never really made the cut in Italy until recently. Known as the land of excellent cuisine, rich history, beautiful and diverse cities and passionate people, Italy didn’t quite have a golf experience to match. Sure, there was the effervescent Italian golfer Costantino Rocca, who left his mark on golf history with his improbable putt from the Old Course’s Valley of Sin that forced a playoff with John Daly at the 1995 British Open. But in one of the most traveled tourist destinations in the world, pickings were slim for avid golfers. A great day on an Italian course was all about the food and wine, and not necessarily the golf.

Times have changed. Just as the Molinari brothers, Edorado and Francesco, have elevated Italian golf in the pro ranks to neverbefore-seen levels with their Ryder Cup and European Tour heroics, now there is also a full-service resort whose quality and amenities place it in the game’s upper echelon. Verdura Golf & Spa Resort on the Sicilian coast, an 80-minute drive from Palermo, has changed the game’s image in Italy. The food and wine are exquisite, and so is the golf.

Architect Kyle Phillips, of Kingsbarns Golf Links fame (near St. Andrews), designed two 18-hole courses at Verdura that take maximum advantage of the land and views boasted by this five-star luxury resort, part of the Rocco Forte Collection of luxury hotel properties. Now even the Molinari brothers can be proud of a top quality golf experience in their homeland. These two championship layouts are joined by a fun par-three course, which serves as the perfect venue for a relaxed, late-day nine holes. And the magnificence of the links are rivaled by the excellence of the resort’s cuisine and treatments at the spa—be sure to try the Sicilian aroma massage and enjoy the heated indoor infinity lap pool, three outdoor saltwater pools of varying temperatures, and a fullyequipped gym.
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GOING OUT: UAE’s best amateurs all set to become part of golf’s history

For many the much-anticipated Men’s Open 2011 being held at Yas Links this weekend represents a dream come true as it affords the opporunity to become a part of local history.

And that’s the reason the first two-day event at the spectacular Kyle Phillips designed course, named among the top 10 new international golf courses in the world, has a full field of 108 players and a lengthy waiting list.

Sponsored by Sport360°, who will also be providing the Player of the Tournament trophy, the 36-hole gross strokeplay event has “one of the strongest amateur lines-ups in the region with half the entrants between a +4 and 4 handicap,” said Jamie Goodenough, Sales and Marketing Manager at Yas Links.

Day one will see competitors tee-off according to their handicap with the tee positions the same as those used for the recent invitational, while day two’s play will start in accordance to the scores from the previous day with championship tees in use.

Set against the backdrop of dramatic views of the Arabian Gulf, Yas Links Abu Dhabi combines stunning scenery with the thrill of links golf’s ultimate test: uneven fairways, pot bunkers and unpredictable wind conditions.

And here’s what some of the stars of world golf had to say about the course with its rolling hills and nine seaside greens:

World No.1 Lee Westwood: “The course is very good. It’s very similar to the other ones Kyle Phillips has designed, it’s got a feel like Kingsbarns to it.”
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