Robin Evans
Robin Evans retires from TROON after 20 years in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

64 year-old Australian Robin Evans first arrived in Dubai for a job at Montgomerie Golf Club in 2001, and now leaves just two weeks short of 20 years based in this region.

Gulf News caught up with Evans to talk about his career just before leaving Dubai.

Tell us about when you first arrived in Dubai and how your role developed? 
I first arrived to be the Course Superintendent at the Montgomerie Golf Club, Dubai. This was the first sole property for Troon Golf in the UAE and the region under EMAAR development and ownership. I was then involved in the construction of the Arabian Ranches golf course. In 2005 I became the Troon UAE Agronomist as the model of Troon Golf management through economies of scale, especially in agronomy, was introduced. The next project I oversaw was the Ernie Els designed golf course at The Els Club at Dubai Sports City. This was the first turnkey management project for Troon in this region, from construction to management.

How did your role further expand? 
As Troon Golf expanded its footprint in the region, I was asked to join that journey with projects in Egypt and Bahrain. Further responsibilities arose wider afield in Malaysia, India and Vietnam, including a lot of work with Ernie Els. Most recently Saudi Arabia has come onto our patch with their huge plans in golf and I have been involved at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club and their hosting of the three Saudi International tournaments on the European tour as well as their most recent Ladies European Tour initiatives in 2020. It is interesting to see how the business model has changed from full management contracts to the option of breaking down roles into a Troon shopping list. For example, in India now, we have three projects that only involve agronomy.

What have some of your highlights been in your career? 
Obviously, all the tournaments we have hosted at our properties, including the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, held at the same venue for 16 consecutive years and at Royal Greens at King Abdullah Economic City in Jeddah. As well as all the tournaments, whether on the Challenge Tour or for other significant calendar events, both amateur and professional. It is tremendous for staff motivation to host tournaments and for all to realise what is involved more than the normal daily golf course preparation. However, perhaps my proudest achievements have been mentoring and helping all the staff and seeing them develop in their careers within the agronomy space. I will miss this part of the job especially.

What are your future plans? 
I am retiring with my wife Jan to Northern New South Wales in Australia. It is just a five-minute walk from the beach. I want to spend more time with the family and try and relax, seeing more of the family, including our two children Samantha and Ryan, who are both now in their 30’s and were both educated in Dubai for middle school. I have no regrets, I will miss the people in the industry and the travel, but perhaps not being on call 24/7 and those 4 am wake up calls. Looking further forward, agronomy has been my life, especially within the Troon Golf family, having first picked up an interest in grass and everything else related through playing the game in my teens. I hope to keep in touch with all my industry friends, who knows how I will adjust to a quieter life and perhaps I still have a contribution to make, if it suits all parties.