Work Underway on 'Spectacular' Arab Site

Longtime friends, golf course architect Steve Smyers and legendary teaching pro David Leadbetter, are teaming up to design a golf course in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, that will combine classic link-style golf with a high dunes and desert setting.

Set next to the Persian Gulf 40 miles south of Dubai and anchored by mammoth sand dunes rising 30, 40 and sometimes 50 feet high, Talil Golf Course stands in "a spectacular setting," Smyers said. "The dunes are indicative of the vastness and massive scale of the golf course itself, which is on the order of 350 acres," he added.

Unlike other desert courses where so much golf is of the "target" variety, the heart and soul of Talil will be reminiscent of the birthplace of golf: St. Andrews in Scotland. "In such a powerful landscape the desert is a key feature, but we don't want golfers to feel that they're always hitting the golf ball in and out of the desert," Smyers said from his offices in Lakeland, Fla. "So we set up the course with angles and wide, spacious fairways, some of them dual. Depending on bunker placement, hole locations, ground contours and the wind, there are all sorts of strategies for attacking the golf course."

Construction has begun and Smyers and Leadbetter expect it to be complete in December. A long grow-in period will allow it to open in fall 2009. The course will be the cornerstone of Talil Resort, which will include a five-star hotel and an exclusive housing development.

For more information about Smyers and his design firm, visit