When Spanish expat Dani Alonso first stepped foot in Dubai in 2009, the UAE was quite a different place, especially in the golfing scene.
Dani was born in Galicia Spain, however it was growing up in Essex in the UK that he was introduced to the game of golf and immediately knew it was for him.
“I fell in love with the game from the age of 11 and got my first and only hole-in-one when I was 12. Let's just say I was 'hooked' after that. I even focused on the game of golf at the University of Lincoln where I got a degree in Bsc Recreation Management Golf.
“When I was 21 I was looking for my next adventure and Dubai seemed to be a perfect fit for me. I love my golf and Dubai was already on my radar with hosting the Dubai Desert Classic and Abu Dhabi with the then Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
“There are so many world class golf courses in the whole of the UAE, and I couldn't wait to come and raise the level of my game here.”
An open anorak to all things golf, it didn’t take Dani long for his golf game to improve once he reached the sunny shores of the United Arab Emirates. Currently playing off a handicap of 3.5, Dani reached his career best of 2.2 when he was 24 years old. Mainly due to his best ever round of 71 at the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. But surprisingly still doesn’t class it as his favourite course in the UAE!
“Now that is a tough question! We are spoilt for choice in the UAE. But if you are to push me, I'd say Al Zorah, Yas Links, the Earth Course and Dubai Creek.
Best golf destination in the world
“The fact you can play on so many courses which have hosted the best players in the world as well. You have so many courses within an hour’s drive of each other makes the country probably one of the best golf destinations in the world. The fact you can play on so many courses that have hosted the best players in the world.
“I'm lucky that over the years I have witnessed some amazing golfing moments. Also, there isn't many places apart from the UAE where we can watch live in person tournaments from DP World Tour, Challenge Tour, Ladies European Tour, Legends Tour, Asian Tour and Mena Tour.”
Being an airline purser and constantly travelling all four corners of the globe for his job, Dani is still able to find the time either when home or away to pack up the sticks and have a round, whether it’s with friends, family, colleagues or complete strangers.
“I consider myself very lucky to have experienced different cultures growing up and with my job I've been lucky to have visited 80+ countries worldwide. Each country has their own charm and with that, unique golf courses which make the game so great. To name some of my favourite countries to play golf I would say Spain, USA, Indonesia and South Africa. I’ll soon be traveling to Mauritius, and can imagine the golf courses will be world class.
Isn't a better sport to get to know new people
“I'd say there isn't a better sport to get to know new people. The sport allows you to play with people of all abilities, backgrounds and generations. Many of my colleagues play and there is always someone showing interest in participating. I think we would all agree that the benefits include, making new friends, improving relationships, reducing stress, creating memories and most importantly having fun.
“When you love something you will always find a way to achieve what makes you happy. It is important to ensure you achieve a work life balance for health of mind and body.”