x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Tiger's golf course is out of the bunker

Tiger Woods may get to tee off from his new course in Dubai sooner than expected after one of the main construction contracts is awarded.

Tiger Woods may get to tee off from his new course in Dubai sooner than expected after one of the main construction contracts for the delayed project was awarded this week. Dutco Balfour Beatty, a joint venture between Dubai's Dutco Construction and Balfour Beatty from the UK, will resume work at the Tiger Woods Dubai golf development after being awarded a US$40.8 million (Dh150m) contract to complete construction of the Al Ruwaya Golf Club.

Initial work on the commercial buildings that make up the golf club began early last year, but progress was stalled because of the financial crisis, according to a source familiar with the project. Dutco Balfour Beatty, which has been involved in the development since 2007 after winning the bulk works contract, will now complete works including the 145,000 square foot clubhouse, the golf academy and a golf maintenance building.

The contract covers all external construction as well as major interior fit-out work on the project, which incorporates an 18-hole championship golf course and is located in the vast Dubailand development. Abdulla al Gurg, the executive director of Tiger Woods Dubai, a subsidiary of the Dubai Holding-owned firm Tatweer, said: "Our agreement with Dutco Balfour Beatty marks an important step forward in realising our commitment to completing the Al Ruwaya Golf Club." Golfers including Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Greg Norman have designed courses in Dubai, which is investing heavily in expanding its leisure appeal and boosting tourist numbers. The emirate is also preparing to host the Dubai World Championship in November, the climax of the European Tour that will be played at the Jumeirah Golf Estates development. Questions on the progress of the Tiger Woods course were raised in June, when the world's number one golfer told Associated Press that the development had been delayed by at least six months and that work had been suspended because of the economic downturn.

At the time, Tatweer issued a statement saying that progress was being made at the site, but declined to provide a completion date. Dubai Holding, one of three main conglomerates controlled by the emirate, announced last month that it had consolidated its three property firms - Dubai Properties, Sama Dubai and the property units of Tatweer - into one division. That is expected to pave the way for the three firms' eventual merger with Emaar Properties, which is expected to be finalised next month.

agiuffrida@the national.ae