Laid out along a four-mile stretch of coastline by the Sea of Oman, The Wave is an ambitious resort project (embracing hotels, retail outlets and housing) to the west of Muscat, developed by Majid Al Futtaim Properties and the Government of the Sultanate of Oman.
A number of leisure facilities, such as the 400-berth marina, have been incorporated into The Wave master plan, which has as its spectacular centrepiece Al Mouj, a wonderful Greg Norman-designed golf complex that features both a championship 18-hole course (opened in September 2012) and a floodlit 9-hole par three layout.
Mubarak Hill, Sales & Marketing Manager for Al Mouj Golf, commented as follows:
"The toughest hole on the card is the 9th, it's a great conclusion to the front nine where only your best tee shot will give you an opportunity to chase the flag with your approach. The fairway itself is generous and banks away from the coastline but the true test of this hole are the greenside bunkers that dominate the last sixty yards and these must be avoided in order to finish your round safely.
The signature hole here is the 11th, a truly stunning par three that’s played against a mesmerizing azure backdrop. From the back tees hole requires a long iron or fairway wood to find the expansive putting surface. Be sure to factor in the wind when selecting your club as both the tee and green are elevated."
Al Mouj Golf hosted the inaugural NBO Open in February 2018 when Al Mouj and the nation made the step up from the Challenge Tour's Road to Oman to the main European Tour. Dutchman Joost Luiten got the better of England's Chris Wood to lift the title. The weather-impacted 2019 Oman Open saw America’s Kurt Kitayama emerge victorious, and Finland’s Sami Valimaki won the 2020 event to claim his maiden European Tour title.
I am perhaps very fortunate to have played here at Al Mouj and then at Yas Links, within a few days of each other. Both courses share so many similarities being routed beside the water; having bold and significant bunkering; being links style, but not natural links; even to being both situated right next to a major international airport. There is also the fact that both appear to have been designed and built with money being no object, so of course both are spectacular results.
Al Mouj however suffered by the comparison and that is probably quite unfair as it is a wonderful design and conditioning is first rate, probably not surprising a few weeks after holding a professional tournament! And the many strengths of the course have been covered well by the previous reviewers, but the thing I think that lets Al Mouj down is that all of the fairways are pretty much flat, because the basic parcel of land is flat sand 1.5m above sea level. There has been plenty of sculpting to the surrounds to create mounding along the sides of many of the holes (something to be congratulated as it lends each hole a sense of isolation from the others), but there is very little rise and fall of the actual playing surfaces. There are no real vantage points to look over the course and see where you have journeyed or what is ahead, or to take in the broad sweep of the prime oceanfront location. Sure many holes run along the water themselves and they are indeed excellent, but it just felt like something bigger was missing. I also look back on the round and feel much of the course blended in with the other parts, creating a sameness. Larger bunkers at the landing point off the tee; smaller bunkers around the green; the same colour and type of vegetation along all the dunes bordering the fairways and even the use of the same rock retaining walls along the oceanside holes.
Even covering all of the above, they are but minor quibbles and I thoroughly enjoyed playing Al Mouj and it genuinely is an excellent course. (For the OMR50 green fee it would want to be!) If in Muscat, don't miss it.
The Middle East rankings place Al Mouj above all Dubai courses and only behind Yas Links in Abu Dhabi, which is some recognition. I recently visited Musket and played at Al Mouj three times using various tees and experiencing different pin positions, so I now have a decent opinion and I have to say that ranked second in the Middle East is not wrong. There is a slightly different feel to the front nine versus the back nine but (since the nines were switched) it is the back nine that is far more dramatic with some really strong holes.
The opening hole gets the course off to a very strong start; 409 yards (blue tees) a little uphill and turning subtly right – the bunker on the right of the fairway at tee shot landing point is likely catch plenty of traffic. The first par-5 comes at the 3rd and by this hole, you realise that quality bunkering is a huge feature at Al Mouj - the six protecting the approach on the 3rd are all placed perfectly. A massive lake is in play on the 4th and 5th holes; the first of these a short par-4 that has its green right on the lake edge and then the course’s first par-3, the island green 5th – no bunkers here just tee and green – wind conditions across the lake affect both holes in a big way. The front nine ends well; the par-3 8th at 169 yards is a good looking hole that just needs the front left bunker to be avoided. The 9th is Al Mouj’s toughest par-4 for me (SI-10 does not tell the full story) – the hole plays down the coastline, with the tee-shot over the bay leaving a decent distance to the green - there will only be a small % of players that hit this 449 yard hole in two shots.
Ahead of talking about my favourite holes on the inward nine – just a few words to describe everything about Al Mouj; plenty of fun, lots of strategic shots, huge undulating greens with quality run-offs that will test even the best short games.
The 10th hole shares a little bit of fairway with the 17th hole but the separation is obvious so no real problem but the second shot to the 385 yard 10th is tough – depending on tee shot length you may or may not see the water hazard short and left. Rather than this being a lake, it has a natural wetland look about it but will catch anything miss-hit and short – a great hole to play. The very next hole is the best par-3 (202 yards) – here we just have the teeing ground and a table-top green with severe run-offs and a huge sand hazard to the right, again another stroke index, 13 this time that feels too high. Holes 12 and 13 (par-5 and par-3) are towards the far end of the property and a pleasure to play, the beautiful Gulf of Oman in play on the left-side of both. Turning for home from the 14th hole brings a tough test – 4 par-4’s and a par-5 at the 16th – all cracking holes with the emphasis on strategy and positioning to score well as there are many ways to be out of position. The 18th hole is similar to the 9th in the way that the drives go across the bay, although this final hole turns left to right but again down the coastline.
I am really happy to have played here and very impressed with the setup, the quality and the scale of the great work from Greg Norman on the design. Later this week the course hosts the European Tour for the Oman Open – as usual, I look forward watching the event and comparing how the better players cope with some of these tricky holes.
Al Mouj Golf is right up at the top when it comes to Middle Eastern golf courses! When you play it, it is easy to see why the professionals who play here every year rate it so highly!
With its narrow fairways calling for accuracy on the majority of holes, to its stunning par 3s along the coast line, it is a course that everybody should add to their list of courses to play at least once.
The course is beautifully maintained, and the greens roll so true and smooth you have no excuse for a bad putt. The dune landscapes on the sides of the fairways look like they belong in the home of golf and will punish you if you veer offline into them.
With some exciting shots to be played, such as the tee shot into the island green on the par 3 5th hole, and driving over the sea to find the fairway on the 9th and 18th holes, you will constantly be on edge playing the course, but in a good way! A lot of holes have different ways to play them and you have a choice of aggressive play or safe play.
Al Mouj Golf is a course of the highest quality and I cannot wait to play it again!
Click the link to read more about Al Mouj Golf at MJ-GolfGuides.
In a way was almost a shame that we played Almouj first because whatever comes after it in Muscat could well be a disappointment as this place is absolutely top drawer. The course stretches along the shoreline and played in a loop in classic links fashion although the lush grass on the fairway helps the ball sit up and, despite potentially strong winds off the sea, is less brutal than British links.
With the Gulf of Oman on one side and the Hajar mountains on the other this Greg Norman designed course is in a superb setting and no expense has been spared on the detail. The greens are fast and true, the bunkers suitably penal and there is some tough rough if you go far off line. This is no place for the novice although for them there is the floodlit nine-hole par three course that one flies over on the way into land at Oman International airport. One of our party found the proximity of jumbo jets somewhat off putting although I thought that they only added to the spectacle and drama of the place.
There are five tee box positions and we played off the most forward of the men's tees which still delivers a highly competitive 6,418 yards. The highlights for me were the second hole, a 181 yard par three off the white tees where one turns left after the par four first and play straight towards the Gulf of Oman and a raised green. The ball soars against a vivid backdrop of blues, with the pale blue sky dropping like a curtain onto a deeper blue ocean and the raised sloping green. Drama and beauty meld happily in one terrific short hole.
There are challenges and delights all the way round although the island green surrounded by water, very similar to that at TPC Sawgrass, on the short par three 14th becomes harder the more forward the tees are. From the back tee the green is deeper, but as one moves sideways to get closer it becomes ever more shallow a target. I was delighted with my three here as all my three companions ended up wet.
The long par four 18th is a fantastic finishing hole and it is only a shame that the clubhouse is not closer so that more people could sit and watch players coming in as they battle with the prevailing wind in an effort to make par. But that is a minor quibble, it is as good and as scenic a golf hole to be found anywhere and a real joy to play.
With a well stocked bar and a fine lunch menu selling international staples such as excellent hamburgers and more varied local cuisine it is a wonderful place to sit and savour the experiences of the round. I just wish the head professional could have been more friendly and welcoming as everyone else most certainly was, but despite his brusque and uninterested manner he certainly did not mar my day as little could detract from this beautiful and excellent golf course and clubhouse. If you want the very best that Muscat golf has to offer then book your round at Almouj.