Blue, green, black, beige. Think of a ribbon with these colours side by side peppered by irregular bright white splotches and you can imagine the view looking down on the Almouj golf course in Muscat Oman, part of the property development – The Wave.
The blue is the sea. Several of the holes on the new Greg Norman designed course will border the coast, out along a man-made headland where the eventual clubhouse will be.
The green, is paspalum grass, bred to flourish in salty, arid conditions. The bright green grass is fed by two large irrigation lakes that uses a combination of recycled and desalinated Water to create the oasis feel.
From the golf course, and temporary club house, it is impossible to see the black strip that is the 4 lane road that separates the golf course from the dusty beige construction site that will one day be the new Muscat airport. Designers have created large rolling dunes that create a foreground to the distant Hajar mountains, blasted with a seed mixture that explodes into bright light green grass.
Of course the bright white splotches are challenging sand-traps or bunkers. The sand has been found in Oman and now other golf courses in the region are looking to use it. Greg Norman has been quite hands on, visiting the site to move the sand traps to create a course that may even challenge PGA players in the future.
Like Oman Sail, the sailing development program located at the other end of The Wave, the golf course will serve as a place for locals to try the game and build a sport that has to sit alongside falconry and camel racing for attention from the locals.
Helping build the academy at Almouj Golf is James Wood, the Head Professional. James is involved in delivering instruction and also setting up of lesson programmes. One of his key objectives is to introduce golf to as many youngsters as possible together with an education programme showcasing golf as enjoyable, accessible and rewarding to the local community.
Having spent five years at The Belfry, in August 2005 James took up the position of Teaching Professional at Nad Al Sheba Golf Club in Dubai and two years later he moved to Emirates Golf Club before joining the team here at Almouj Golf.
Part of the problem with a sport like golf in a place like Oman is the heat of the day, so 9 of the Par three holes are floodlit, to allow night play.
The golf course does not just provide the illusion of an oasis. On a tour around the course, we saw a wide variety of bird-life who call the course home. There is a strange ‘film set’ sensation when you leave the property and get flung back into the hot, dry, dessert landscape of Mustcat that surrounds it though.
The par 72 Almoij golf course in Muscat is 7,342 yards in length, and highlights include a daunting Par 3 island green and a challenging Par 5 that stretches for over 600 yards.
Nine holes of the Almouj Golf Course are now open for play. On the 31st of March, a further five holes will be opened to players.