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Competitors in the inaugural Dubai Open, which brought down the curtain on the 2014 Asian Tour, were full of praise for the host venue The Els Club Dubai (pictured above).

Tournament winner Arjun Atwal said, “this is one of the best‑run Asian Tour events I’ve ever been to, ever. Right from organising player transport to player dining to the practise facility, it’s fantastic. The golf course is in great shape, and everybody is so nice in the clubhouse. It absolutely gets my vote for No.1.”

Former Open champion Darren Clarke said, “the course is fabulous and it’s a stern test, even if they do move the tees forward. It [the course] is typical Ernie in that the difficulty is not so much with the tee shots but the shots into the greens and around the greens. His short game has always been good and whoever wins this week their short game will have to be good.”

India’s Jeev Milkha Singh said: “I think the way it’s turned out, it was fantastic, it was really fabulous. The player lounge, the golf course, the staff of the Asian Tour and golf in DUBAi, they’ve put the time and effort to ensure there was a personal touch for every player.”

Korea’s Mo Joong-kyung, who finished top-10, said, “this is one of the best venues which we’ve played this year. It’s a great place for a new tournament on the Asian Tour, no doubt about that.”

Thailand’s Prom Meesawat said, “The set-up here is very nice and it’s an amazing golf course.”

Australian Unho Park said, “the golf course was fantastic, definitely one of the best that we’ve played all year. I’m looking forward to coming back again and I want to thank golf in Dubai for putting up this great event on the Asian Tour.”

Speaking from his home in South Africa, Ernie Els commented, “Last week was a proud moment for our entire team, with The Els Club Dubai hosting its first ever professional tour event, the inaugural Dubai Golf Open. Congratulations to Arjun Atwal who produced a superb final round to take the title. I must also send my congratulations to everyone at The Els Club Dubai, to the promoters golf in DUBAi, Troon Golf, and to my friends at the Asian Tour – you guys staged a fantastic event and the golf course looked amazing. The Els Club Dubai was so ready for this tournament and it was gratifying to hear so many positive comments from the players. Seriously, great job everyone.”

Meanwhile, Els Club Dubai General Manager Chris Brown said, “we are absolutely thrilled to be hosting the inaugural Dubai Open. Ernie is extremely proud of this course and has always said to us that we should have some form of professional tournament here. Day-to-day we prepare the course in championship condition, so it was just a case of fine-tuning the course for this event. The players’ comments have been very positive with regards to the layout, the greens and the conditioning. This is a great platform for us and I like to think this is the first of many tournaments here.”

The Els Club Dubai is the fourth course in the Ernie Els Design portfolio to host a professional tour event, following The Els Club Copperleaf (Tshwane Open), Anahita Four Seasons Golf Resort (Mauritius Golf Masters) and Wentworth West Course (BMW PGA Championship). That number will become five in 2015, after the announcement that Tiger’s Hero World Challenge will be staged at the spectacular Albany in the Bahamas (pictured below).

Albany for Design Portfolio 2014