Peter Thomson Designing Course in UAE Desert

Peter Thomson, five-time British Open champion and principal of London-based Thomson Perrett and Lobb Golf Course Architects, has described the desert site at Ain Al Emarat - location of his first signature golf course in the Middle East - as one of the best he's seen in his 40-year design career.

Thomson visited the site with partners Ross Perrett and Tim Lobb while in the UAE to attend the launch of the residential project and golf course by developer Al Qudra Real Estate. Thomson and team were at Cityscape Dubai, the world's largest business-to-business real estate and property exhibition, October 16-18, 2007.

Thomson said: "The land at Ain Al Emarat is magical, pure linksland with no vegetation. We could instantly see marvelous golf holes in these undulating dunes, and there was great excitement, as this site has the potential to become a truly great golf course."

The Australian design team drove through rolling sand dunes to inspect the course layout and confirm the location of green complexes, which Thomson says will benefit from bold natural contours and stunning landforms.

"The land is so natural and you can see potential for holes from all the classic British links courses. It truly is a golf course designer's dream, and hopefully we won't need to move very much earth, and will leave it all up to nature to design the course," he said.

The course is situated in sight of mountains and close to the oasis city of Al Ain, the second city of the Abu Dhabi emirate and known as "The Garden City of the Gulf." The architects fine-tuned their original layout and confirmed routing plans ready for construction to begin in early 2008.

The golf course is the centerpiece of a massive residential and leisure development for 120,000 people. The master plan is being handled by HOK, creators of the Wembley and Emirates stadiums.