Opened for play in 2019, Education City Golf Club comprises thirty-three holes in total: an 18-hole championship course, a 9-hole floodlit par-three layout and another full-length 6-hole floodlit track with seven tee boxes on every hole. There’s also a driving range and a state-of-the-art learning and practice facility located in the club’s Centre of Excellence.
The IMG Prestige member venue was designed by former Ryder Cup player and captain José María Olazábal and the team at Olazabal Design. When work was finished on the layout, the two-time Masters Champion was asked to comment on his first project in the Middle East:
“We are right in the middle of several universities and next door to a thriving city. We are surrounded by campuses, an amazing equestrian centre, and now even a football stadium, all merely a pitch away.
We made sure teaching receives a prominent role at the club, and we deliberately designed not only very generous practice facilities with a nine-hole par three course wrapped around them, but we placed them right in the heart of the club.”
Highlight holes on the main 18-hole course include the par three 4th, featuring a large waste area behind the green; the tough par four 8th (rated stroke index 3), where a long, narrow pond lies in wait along the right side of the fairway all the way to the green; and the 230-yard 9th, the longest par three on the card, which plays to the other side of the pond that potentially hampers progress on the previous hole.
On the back nine, the aquatic challenge continues at many of the holes. Water runs along the right of the par four 10th (with a green that’s protected by a beach bunker and a sand trap) and there’s more water to contend with at each of the next three holes, especially the par five 13th, where the split fairway permits a shorter, more dangerous approach to the green or a safer, longer route round the water hazard.
Education City became the new host of the European Tour’s Qatar Masters in 2020, following twenty-two editions of the event being staged at Doha Golf Club. The conclusion of the 2020 tournament saw Jorge Campillo and David Drysdale post identical 72-hole totals of 271, so they took part in an epic playoff which took some time to identify the winner, with the Spaniard eventually edging out the Scotsman at the fifth extra hole.