One of the major objectives of the Emirates Amateur Golf League (EAGL) is to give amateur golfers a taste of what playing in a professional tournament feels like. Judging by the experience I had yesterday, they nailed it.
I have been fortunate to play in many Pro-Am events over the years and while they have been a unique experience, particularly when playing with major champions and world No. 1 ranked players, the EAGL set up on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates yesterday was amazing.
Advertising boards on the tees, multiple TV cameras on every hole, live broadcast on television, streaming across the web and social platforms, pre and post-round interviews and family and friends watching around the world.
This is the future of corporate golf. The launch of EAGL and this inaugural Mini-Series competition was hugely appreciated by all 32 players and all who were involved in staging and supporting the event.
Being announced on to the first tee and playing your opening shot surrounded by spectators and live on camera is a daunting experience. Was I nervous? Absolutely. How do you block that out and trust your swing? The ‘golf demons’ are literally screaming at you to ‘duff’ your shot or miss the ball completely. However, if you survive that, the rest of the round is very special as you can relax and enjoy the trappings of professional golf.
I captained the Gulf News-sponsored English Roses team and our fourth-placed finish was very respectable. The competition on the course was fierce and yet most importantly, after the golf concluded, all participants were able to network and make new connections and friendships, while catching up with more familiar faces.
Dubai has set a new standard in amateur golf and for that, congratulations to the EAGL golf team.