Golf - Peter Harradine
Peter Harradine, the creator of Al Hamra Golf Club, is hopeful of a string of good scores again this weekend. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Ras Al Khaimah: It was time to catch up with with the 76 years young Peter Harradine, a UAE resident and designer of Al Hamra Golf Course, for his take on the DP World Tour players playing on his golf course layout at last week’s Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital and the upcoming Ras Al Khaimah Classic, boasting a prize fund of $2 million both weeks.

QUESTION: How were you first approached to design the golf course at Al Hamra in Ras Al Khaimah?

PETER HARRADINE: We were approached, was it perhaps 20 plus years ago, by the leadership of Ras Al Khaimah. We dealt with His Highness Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Ruler directly, who was then the Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah. There was no brief for the project, which has both its advantages and disadvantages.

What design philosophy did you apply to this Al Hamra golf project?

We designed a resort course wrapping around the water features delivering very wide and generous fairways, at times upto 60 yards wide.

We were mindful that the priority for this project was always going to be the real estate surrounding the golf course. We all immediately liked the routing plan and design, it seemed so natural with the pockets of land provided. The real estate is well away from stray golf balls and the golf course corridor is very wide at the landing areas. There was never the desire to maximise the build areas for commercial real estate, as is the case with some of our design briefs around the world.

We have strategically designed the golf course so that the real estate pockets of land compliment the golf course and do not encroach into the playing areas, with the obvious ‘balls in gardens, greenhouses and swimming pools challenges.’

Are you surprised and or perhaps disappointed at the scores around Al Hamra last week and potentially this week?

I am delighted with the good scores by the players last week, as well as when the Challenge Tour came to Al Hamra Golf Club and Ras Al Khaimah a few years ago. It was never designed with professional tournament golf in mind, it was basically a friendly resort course for local members, local golfers and visitors to enjoy their golf, especially if they come and play the golf course once, everything had to be in view, in front of the golfer.

The good scores, such as last week’s 24-under par for 72 holes by champion Nicolai Hojgaard (Den), shows what the big boys can do.

Hopefully, the exposure in the media and TV, locally, regionally and internationally, will encourage local UAE golfers as well as overseas visiting golfers to come to Ras Al Khaimah, play and enjoy their golf.

Ras Al Khaimah, with all its banks of hotels along the coastline and new hospitality offerings coming on line at Al Marjan Island, offers a genuine golfing destination and Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, wants golfers to come and have fun and then tell their friends what a great place Ras Al Khaimah is for golf, hotels and hospitality, and so much more, or even perhaps purchase a home, staycation home or real estate investment. Then encourage repeat business. We never like to see amateur golfers battered by tough golf courses and not enjoy playing golf courses, whether at home or overseas.

Golf is proud of what we have delivered as a team at Al Hamra Golf Club. Good luck to all the players this week!