Bahrain burst onto the Middle East golf scene in 1999 when the Riffa golf course was inaugurated and over the next eight years, it held a number of important regional competitions like the Pan Arab Golf Championships in 2000 and 2004.
Investors had bigger and better plans for the property however, and in 2007 the course closed, undergoing a radical makeover by Colin Montgomerie and European Golf Design that saw it emerge in 2009 as the Royal Golf Club.
Now part of the luxury Riffa Views residential complex, the new Montgomerie layout at the Royal Golf Club lies within three housing estates – Park, Lagoon and Oasis – and it will, in time, be serviced by a country club, complete with swimming pools, racquet courts and gardens.
The Montgomerie course is certainly a green oasis within a natural desert landscape where good use of the terrain has been made to fashion the layout around deep wadis and sandy waste bunkers. The closing four holes feature significant water hazards with man made lakes coming into play on the left side at 15 and 16 and the right side at the penultimate and closing holes.
To round off the whole set up at the Royal Club – and, some might contend, quite in keeping with the total artificiality of playing golf in such a non conducive environment – golfers, if they so desire, can play the back nine under state of the art floodlighting, teeing off as late as 8.30pm in the evening!
This is a great golfers course. No two holes are alike, one of the toughest courses I have played. Not for high handicappers as if you stray from the fairway you will struggle. Greens were being cared for, but still in good nick, fairways cut to around 18ml, staff friendly, practise facilities brilliant. Make sure you try the lamb rogan in the links bar...