Niall Mcloughlin Senior Vice President, Damac Properties talks about Akoya by Damac

Written by UAE Golf Online Editor Posted in Issue 8 of the UAE Golf Online Magazine

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Niall Mcloughlin Senior Vice President, Damac Properties talks about Akoya by Damac


The announcement came earlier in the year that Damac Properties where going to build a Golf development in Dubai alongside Trump Internationalof course eyebrows were raised.

Months later the sceptics have been silenced and the project is moving along fast, so we thought it was time to obtain some answers on this exciting new Dubai Golf Course from Damac themselves.


Step up Niall Mcloughlin Senior Vice President, Damac Properties who was there to answer some burning UAE Golf Online questions on the AKOYA by DAMAC development and Trump International Golf Club, Dubai.

How long has this exciting project been in the pipeline?
DAMAC Properties is the largest luxury real estate developer in the Middle East and we are always looking for the right opportunity, at the right time, to further expand our luxury offering. Golf is a popular pastime in the UAE and creates a stunning backdrop for exclusive housing projects, offering peaceful views and lush greenery and is therefore a natural extension of our business. A high-end golf course and master development in Dubai has always been at the forefront of our strategy and we believe collaboration with the Trump Organization will create an attractive offering for real estate investors and golf aficionados alike.

Was Trump International Golf Course, Dubai the first Golf management company you selected and how long has the partnership been agreed?
Golf is a premium sport and the ideal centre piece for such a high standard development such as AKOYA by DAMAC. When developing at this end of the market it is critical to work with the best – the Trump organization produce the highest quality courses, as shown by the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland recently receiving the Six Star Diamond Award as the 'best course in the world'.  We are also working with Gil Hanse on the design of the Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, - who is also in charge of the design of the course for the Rio Olympic Games - so we feel we have the very best in class to work with us on this. 

When developing at this end of the market it is critical to work with the best..


What made you choose this particular location? Where there others considered?

The Trump International Golf Course, Dubai is the centerpiece of the AKOYA by DAMAC project, a luxurious master development off Umm Suqeim Road and just 10 minutes from Sheikh Zayed Road.
The location spans 28 million square feet of platinum real estate offering excellent connectivity to prime business and leisure areas of the city. 

akoya property
DAMAC Properties is developing a full-fledged residential complex comprising both, villas and mansions, as well as a clubhouse, boutique hotel, a sports complex, schools, retail, leisure and entertainment units. We are also offering luxurious golf condominiums in addition to luxury serviced villas, designed in collaboration with another premium brand in the form of the DAMAC Villas by Paramount, which will be set on the sides of the Trump International Golf Club, Dubai.
The entire development will stand as an elite, integrated, ultra-luxurious offering made for the discerning home owner.

How are things progressing on the site itself? Has the projected time for the Golf course opening still on track?
The course designer, Gil Hanse already has a definitive idea of the shape of the course, with the routing for all 18 holes being finalized. We expect the course to be ready by the end of next year. Contractors are already on site to begin shaping the course. We are also currently in the process of selecting an architect for the clubhouse.

How do you think the Course will stand up to its Golfing neighbours, the courses close by and in the surrounding area?
The Trump International Golf Course, Dubai, will be one of the most sought-courses in the whole of Asia, not just the Middle East.
Bringing world-renowned golf course architect Gil Hanse on board as the course designer is definitely a key proof point for that.  Hanse is one of the most respected names in the industry and has not only been commissioned to design the course for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil but was also hired last year by Donald J Trump for the renovation of the famed, ‘Blue Monster’ at Trump National Doral, Miami which is currently home to the World Golf Championships - Cadillac Championship, an official PGA TOUR event.

Another key element of differentiation will be the quality of the services and amenities on offer. From high-tech training facilities to perfect your game, to an expansive club shop with the latest equipment through to a high-end restaurant and café area, the Trump International, Dubai will redefine the service offering at courses in the UAE.

The golf course will span just over 150 acres and it will pass through the residential areas of AKOYA by DAMAC. It will play around 7,200 yards, par-71. There will be variety in the holes, like a 150-yard par-3 and drivable par-4. The whole focus of Hanse’s design will be on the flow and pace of the entire course and we think it will be a challenging course to play onand aesthetically stunning to behold.

 

We are also currently in the process of selecting an architect for the clubhouse..


It is an ambitious project with a 30,000 square foot club house, do you think this size of the Club house will be sustainable?

The clubhouse will the an integral part of the golf offering and also a great facility to be enjoyed by residents at AKOYA by DAMAC and indeed, the rest of Dubai. The restaurants, shops and training facilities on offer will make the club house a buzzing centre.


You have appointed Gil Hanse as the designer, can you elaborate on the style and feel of the Golf course planned?

Gil Hanse is known for creating minimalistic designs that work with the natural environment but this will truly be an opportunity for him to inject his creativity and imagination into the landforms as the site is virtually a blank canvas.

During his initial inspection tour, Hanse observed natural land forms in the area such as the Hatta dunes, the kinds of vegetation that can be used, as well as other natural elements such as wadis – which are similar to the “barrancas” (deep ravines or gorges) found in the US that are used as hazards in great golf courses like Riviera and Los Angeles Country Club.

The idea is to create a course that looks like it belongs in Dubai and Hanse’s vision for Trump International Dubai is based on two things – one is the graceful wind-swept dunescape that exists naturally in the UAE desert and the creative use of wadis. The in-play corridor will be shaped to create a wind-swept look that will provide something distinctive from the other golf courses in the city.

The course will also have a few lakes that will become a part of the finishing holes and will add to the beauty of the landscape and help in drainage. The course will have a considerable amount of elevation through the use of wadis and dunes.


In the future, you mentioned it is an aim to attract and hold championship events on the course, is this still a goal?

The Trump International Golf Course, Dubai will be developed as an 18-hole PGA championship standard golf course and will certainly be capable of hosting the most senior tour matches, as has been seen with other Trump International courses around the world.  The design is definitely one that will be challenging and attractive to professional players and to social players alike.


UAE Golf Online would like to thank Niall and Damac for their time and we look forward to seeing how the project develops and bringing you more.

About the Author

UAE Golf Online Editor

UAE Golf Online Editor

The Editor of the UAE Golf Online Magazine Paul has been in Dubai for 4 years and is the creator of the UAE Golf Online concept.