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 that’s under development 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 and a floodlit 9-hole par three layout.
Mubarak Hill, Sales & Marketing Manager for Al Mouj Golf, commented as follows:
"The signature hole here is the 2nd, 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.
The toughest hole on the card is the 18th, a great finishing hole 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 closing hole are the greenside bunkers that dominate the last sixty yards and these must be avoided in order to finish your round safely."
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.
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.