Sport - Golf - Cian Hurley
Cian Hurley with the famous Dalah Trophy at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Image Credit: Cian Hurley

How does someone growing up 6,000 miles away from Dubai become the Director of Golf at the most prestigious and oldest golf course in the UAE, Emirates Golf Club?

This is the journey of Cian Hurley.

After finishing school just outside Dublin, Irishman Cian Hurley took a year out to sample working in the golf industry and realised it aligned with his genuine passion for the game of golf. As such, he made the decision to pursue that dream of a career in the golf industry. But still unsure how he would get there.

The University of Birmingham in the UK came calling, where alongside his studies Cian even had time to compete on the golf teams and picked up many successes, including league and cup victories along the way! Cian was able to complete his PGA qualification during his studies and so decided to turn assistant pro at that time while sporting a handicap of 1.

Dubai Golf

“It was around then that a friend recommended the UAE and the internship program at Dubai Golf.

“I applied, and was lucky to be given an opportunity at Emirates Golf Club (EGC) in September 2016 in the Golf Operations department.

“I had a successful season and then had the opportunity to return as the Assistant Golf Services Manager. I subsequently progressed to Golf Services Manager and then Director of Golf in September 2021.

Incredibly rewarding

“The journey has been incredibly rewarding and shows how Dubai in particular can be such a fast-paced environment.”

Emirates Golf Club is possibly one of the most incredible office’s to work at in the UAE. A mixture of the timeless Majlis Course born 35 years ago, is now overlooked by the ever-expanding and world renowned Dubai skyline. A setting which Cian never tires of.

“It’s a special place. The views never get old! And that’s the truth!

Emirates Golf Club's Majlis Course
Emirates Golf Club's Majlis Course Image Credit: Supplied

“Spending each day at work at the facility that boasts the Majlis Course, the site of the Dubai Desert Classic (DDC), is certainly unique and a special experience to be a part of.

“The Golf Operations and Golf Course Maintenance teams do a great job at upholding the standards set back in the beginning, and have been rewarded and recognised multiple times as a result, long may that continue!

“We have an incredibly diverse golf offering on-site here at Emirates Golf Club. On a daily basis we are responsible for running the Majlis Course, the Faldo Course during the day time, the Faldo Course at night time - for night golf, and also the 9 hole Par 3 Course here on-site.

500 golfers a day

“In the busy season, during the winter, we often welcome north of 500 golfers to our facility each day. As you can imagine, this keeps the team very busy, delivering a 5-star golf experience to all. Our priority at the club is our membership and so a lot of time is spent dealing with our members for tournaments especially, of which we run very many, and then also on their overall general experience at the club.”

With membership currently very strong at EGC, they are sporting over 1,000 members at present. They however do also welcome non-members in the form of member guests, local visitor golfers and overseas visitors such as tourists etc. Of course, with the club’s history it attracts many an avid golfer to come and tick off a bucket list experience!

“The popularity is mainly backed up because of the DP World Tour, every season at Emirates Golf Club and even Jumeirah Golf Estates and Yas Links (in Abu Dhabi) they all host huge tour events. They are all key DP World Tour events and are part of the Rolex Series and even the Race to Dubai final.

Dubai Desert Classic

“Emirates Golf Club is lucky to be the home of the Dubai Desert Classic and it’s the longest standing tournament in the region, having first being played there in 1989. It has such a rich history, with past champions such as Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to name a few.

2011: Tiger Woods with Esmail Sharif, former UAE golf champion, during the Pro-Am for the 2011 Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Majlis Course. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

“The standard of courses and facilities in the UAE are like nowhere else in the world. Where would you find such a high volume, of high standard golfing facilities, in such a small area geographically?”

“The best thing with golf is that it allows for many people from all walks of life to meet each other. Even I have made many friends throughout my time here at EGC and the diversity of the people I have met and dealt with is still astonishing, I feel very lucky. A vast majority of my colleagues play also, and we compete regularly throughout the season, especially in the Dubai Golf colleague’s golf championship!

“I think it’s also the fact that any person, no matter what age, nationality, race or gender, can enjoy a few hours playing a game, on common ground, and forge sometimes lifelong relationships. It is what truly makes golf so special, in my opinion.”