Ras Al Khaimah: Fast rising English golfer Jordan Smith tried ‘Paddle Golf’ at Al Hamra Golf Club in Ras Al Khaimah over the weekend.
The sport sees players paddle out on stand-up paddle boards to floating pontoon tees where they fire shots 130 metres onto a green. It’s just one of many activities available at the course besides conventional golf.
Smith won the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge at Al Hamra last season to secure the Challenge Tour Order of Merit, and now a fully carded European Tour pro, he returned last week to help promote the venue and its flagship event ahead of the second staging from October 25-28.
“I was a little cautious at first because I had never tried stand-up paddle boarding before,” said Smith. “After a few quick tips on the beach, it was a relief to get straight on to my feet once we hit the water. It turned out to be really fun and it was comforting knowing the water beneath me was warm. Once we got on the pontoon, it was a little more familiar — well, as familiar as playing golf shots off a floating platform in the middle of a lagoon can be.”
Having secured five top 10s including a win in his rookie year, Smith, 24, has risen to World No. 69 and 17th in the Race to Dubai, guaranteeing him a place at the season-ending DP World Tour Championships at Jumeirah Golf Estates, November 16-19.
Meanwhile, a field of 105 are expected for the second Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge, the penultimate event on the Challenge Tour season, next month.
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) chief executive officer Haitham Mattar said: “It’s fantastic that Jordan has taken some time out from his busy European Tour schedule to return to Ras Al Khaimah and take part in our ‘Paddle Golf’ challenge. It’s great to have him back here with us and on behalf of all his fans in Ras Al Khaimah we wish him a successful end to his rookie season on the European Tour.”
For more information on the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge and the Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman, or the European Tour’s Race to Dubai visit: www.europeantour.com