Peter Thomson Designs Course in the Middle East

Peter Thomson, five-time British Open Champion and principal of Thomson Perrett and Lobb Golf Course Architects, has signed an agreement in St. Andrews with United Arab Emirates-based Al Qudra Real Estate, to design the company's first signature golf course in the Middle East.

Thomson Perrett & Lobb will design a traditional, classic style golf course at Ain Al Emarat, a residential and leisure development being built near Al Ain, the second city of the Abu Dhabi Emirate and known as "The Garden City of the Gulf."

Thomson said: "The growth of golf in the Middle East has been phenomenal and TPL is honored to contribute to the growth of the sport in the region by creating a unique, traditional style course in a groundbreaking city, [one] that will set international benchmarks for sustainability, healthy living and sporting opportunity."

In a ceremony held at the Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews overlooking the world famous "Road Hole," Thomson signed an agreement with Victor E.J. Orth Jr, CEO and General Manager of Al Qudra Real Estate - a subsidiary of Al Qudra Holding - for the course design, which will be a major attraction for residents and visitors at Ain Al Emarat.

Orth said: "TPL has a commitment to excellence in golf course design that mirrors our corporate ethos and we look forward to creating a golf course that will thrill the residents of the UAE and its international golfing visitors."

TPL has joined forces with global architectural practice HOK, creators of the new Wembley and Emirates stadiums in London, to design the course as part of the development.

Plans for the project have already won an award. HOK won the award for "Best Master Plan" at the Building Exchange Awards 2007, held in Valencia, Spain in June. The award recognized HOK's success in creating a sustainable, innovative design in collaboration with key partners, in particular Thomson Perrett & Lobb.

The TPL golf course will be a centerpiece for the development alongside a 40,000-seat indoor sports and entertainment arena, which will be built to the same standard as HOK's Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal Football Club.

The layout will involve natural rolling sand hills and views of the nearby mountains. The use of recycled effluent will reduce water requirements and will be offset by minimal use of excess turf to keep the course in harmony with its desert environment.