Saturday, January 30, 2010

ABU DHABI Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is "very different"

Gary Player spent some time in Abu Dhabi this week, talking up his new golf course on Saadiyat Island.

The extra-long (7,800-yard) track, called Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, is the centerpiece of a huge master-planned community that's being developed by Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company, a government-run entity.

Player told the National that the course is "something special" and "undoubtedly one of my best," comments that were sure to please TDIC, which aims to sell enough houses to accommodate 160,000 people.

The track, which spreads over nearly 400 acres, was designed to conserve water and minimize maintenance costs. It's got lots of sand and plenty of easily quenched native vegetation, and it's been outfitted with four desalination plants to keep its grass green.

"I’ve never designed anything like this and I’ve never seen anything like it," Player said. "It’s very different."

Also very different will be the course's 194,000-square-foot, Frank Gehry-designed clubhouse, a futuristic-looking structure that's already generating a lot of media attention. The building, which is scheduled to open in 2013, will include a26-room hotel and a spa.

Saadiyat Island occupies more than 10 square miles. At build-out, it'll be filled with thousands of houses, a village center, 29 hotels (the first three, including a Park Hyatt and a St. Regis, are scheduled to open next year), Guggenheim and Louvre museums, three marinas, and many other attractions, including a second golf course.