In recent years, Harradine Golf has assembled an impressive portfolio of golf course projects in the United Arab Emirates. Some of this work has involved the construction of new courses – such as the 9-hole layouts at Jebel Ali, Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club and the 18-holer at Meyden – while other tasks have involved providing in-country logistical support to the likes of Nicklaus Design (at Arabian Ranches) and European Golf Design (at Dubai Creek).
The fairways at Al Hamra Golf Club weave around four inter-connected lagoons on a property where a staggering five million cubic meters of sand and soil was reputedly moved during course construction. Aquatic hazards come into play at several of the holes; most notably on either side of the fairway at the 576-yard 3rd, and at the intimidating par five 18th, where water threatens along the right of the hole, all the way from the tee to the triple-tiered home green.
Thanks to the installation of floodlights, a composite 9-hole layout can be played after dark at Al Hamra so, for the more committed golfer, there’s no need to put the clubs back in the locker room when the sun goes down.
Course architect Peter Harradine kindly provided us with the following comments:
It was an absolutely fascinating experience to build a golf course on a piece of land that was completely flat, salty and entirely flooded during high tide. Definitely not an ideal site to work with!
Our design specified special methods and capillarity breakers to ensure that the landscaping and grass would not be affected by the salty ground water. Although we planted Paspallum we had a tough task in persuading the owner not to use brakish or salt water to irrigate the grass as contrary to certain erroneous claims Paspallum does NOT thrive in salty water!
The only way Paspallum might survive to an acceptable standard is by flushing the grass regularly with sweet water which requires an extensive drainage system. This method is much more expensive in the Middle East as an alternative to irrigating with sewage treated effluent which is what is used at Al Hamra.
Like many other courses in the area, Al Harma runs through a real estate development. While other courses (e.g. as Earth and Fire at JGE or the ELS club) utilize the area perfectly to develop world-class courses, Al Hamra sometimes feels as though it's trying to fill every inch of space. This makes it an overly forgiving track, which is further helped with limited bunkering, few hazards and fairly gentle greens. So while not the challenge of other courses it's still a pleasant enough course.
Best Hole: 18- An excellent finishing par 5 with water running the entire way up the right-hand side and trees on the left. The green is well protected by bunkers so any approach shots have to be precise to stick.