Ghala Golf Club ranked among top 100 courses in the world
Oman is certainly gaining its stature as an upcoming golf destination. Be it the successful hosting of the European Tour at the Al Mouj Golf for the second successive year recently or hosting of the MENA Tour at the Ghala Golf Club last month, the courses in Muscat have managed to woo the golfers from across the world.
And the growing popularity of the courses is now attested by golfscape, which has recently ranked Ghala Golf Club among the top 100 golf courses in the world for 2019. Ghala made the cut and has been ranked 81st.
Golfscape is an online reservation service founded in UK, which provides platform to book golf tee times worldwide with instant access to courses in 50 countries. It helps golfers discover, plan, and book golf experiences in the world's most sought-after destinations.
In the latest ranking, golfscape has selected those which offer unique, memorable and luxury experiences and it includes courses from South Africa to Portugal to Oman.
The oldest club in Oman is among the four courses picked from the region. The other three are Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai (13th), Yas Links Golf Club in Abu Dhabi (15th) and Dubai Hills Golf Club (36th). Scotland's The Old Course at St Andrews was ranked No 1.
The latest feather in the cap for Ghala Golf Club comes as no surprise for Tim Neil, the club's general manager. In his remarks to Muscat Daily, Neil said, “It tells the Ghala history. From being the best conditioned golf course to having a unique setup in the wadi with world-class facilities.
“It is what we have positioned for and it underlines our credentials. What has been striking about our course is that the conditions have been consistent for a long time.”
Neil said that despite Muscat offering four golf courses, there is a 'uniqueness' to each of it. “The unique thing about Muscat is that all the courses give different experiences for golfers. Every course has its own identity,” he said.
Neil said that 'the USP of Ghala Golf Club has been the course layout and its clubhouse, which serves as a friendly and family club.'
The club official said, “We have a sizeable percentage of Omani golfers as members, in fact, it is 27 per cent. Moreover, we work closely with the Oman Golf Committee in running programmes for women and junior golfers. No Omani junior golfer pays a fee while playing at our club.”
Talking about golfscape rankings, Neil said, “Internally for us, to be ranked among the top 100 courses is a massive motivator. It is also going to serve us externally as it will boost golf tourism in Oman. Being ranked among the top courses, we can also showcase Oman to the world.”
“With the tour operators around the world looking for new golfing destinations, the rankings will shed spotlight on golf tourism in the sultanate,” he added.
Earlier in October last year, Europe's 59club, a leading customer service company that works within the golfing industry to recognise improved customer service, had ranked Ghala Golf Club third in course conditioning.
59club works with some of the worlds best facilities including Wentworth, The Belfry, Emirates, Has Links, Celtic Manor, Black Mountain to name a few.
The criteria was based on a 59club mystery shopper coming to the club and experiencing the course and overall service.
Neil credited the club's course manager, Russel Wilson, for playing a leading role in getting the laurels.
Wilson said, ''Over the past four years the course at Ghala has transformed into manicured and landscaped course which is now experienced by guests and members.
“The journey began back in 2015 when Dellanzo Group in collaboration with Beatrice Franceschi (golf course architect) were brought in to enhance the course and make the most of its idyllic setting.”
He added, “In recent times, the maintenance team have been working on achieving definition, uniformity and contrast , three key attributes that a golf course needs to stand out above the rest. While achieving these goals we firmly believe that we now maintain one of the best kept course not only in Oman but in the region.''