Harrington leads praise for RAK Championship host Al Hamra course

Fatiha Betscher
|
|
Harrington leads praise for RAK Championship host Al Hamra course

Padraig Harrington likes what he sees at Al Hamra Golf Club (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

By Fatiha Betscher, Al Hamra GC, RAK.

There has been strong praise for this week’s inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Championship host course at Al Hamra.

The Al Hamra course, laid out very close to the Arabian Sea shoreline, is no stranger to top golf having hosted some years back the final event of the secondary Challenge Tour.

A large number of players who competed here in 2018 have returned including the Scottish duo of Robert MacIntyre and Grant Forrest who earned their European Tour cards by finishing top-10 in the season-ender.

This week the field boasts some of the legends on the now renamed DP World Tour and none better than triple Major winning and 2021 Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington, with the Irishman leading the praise for the course.

“This is a very pleasant golf course, you can see it set up really nicely for the tourists down here and we’re going to have a pleasant week on it,” he said.

“You’ve got to shoot some low scores for sure and make some birdies out there, so it’s definitely a different test to last week but in its own right you’ve got to play really well and put some numbers on the board this week.

“It reminds me of the early days up in Dubai, you’ve got all these beautiful hotels and they’re waiting for people to come. You have that feeling of how it’s going to change as it has in Dubai itself, it’s nice to come here at the start of that

“It’s certainly beautiful, it’s a great facility and you’d certainly recommend it to anybody to come down here for a holiday. You can see how it’s at the start of its life here and it’s going to build over time.”

Joining Harrington in similar praise is Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who made his Ryder Cup debut last year in Harrington’s side at Whistling Straits.

“Normally I’m pretty good at adapting to new courses and there’s not too much about this course – a couple of lines that you need to be careful of off the tees. But not very penalising off the tee, the rough is not too thick and not much rough around the greens. It’s smaller targets on the greens than the last two weeks but still quite short irons in.

“I enjoy coming to new courses I haven’t seen before. Some of the guys who were on the Challenge Tour were here before but I enjoy seeing new places and this is definitely one where I can see a low scoring week out there.”

Then there is Masters champion Danny Willett, also very complimentary of the Al Hamra course.

“It’s nice here. First look yesterday, scoring’s going to be low. It’s generous in places, tightens up a little bit around the greens on a few holes,” said Willett.

“A lot of it will depend on the weather, if we get weather like this for the four days I think you’re going to see some pretty low scores out there.

“But it’s a new addition, an hour down the road from Dubai which makes for easy travel for the lads and it should be a good week.”

And one last comment from the Hojgaard twins and firstly, Nicolai – the reigning Italian Open champion

“The course is good, it’s in good shape as well. I hope it’s going to get a little bit windy so the course becomes a bit more tricky, I think it’s going to be a good week with some good scores but there are also some tricky holes,” he said.

“It’s pretty much exactly how you want it here. A good finishing par-five down to the water, lovely clubhouse, the hotels are nearby and it’s everything you can ask for when you’re playing golf.

“I haven’t had time to explore yet, just focussing on golf mostly. It’s a lovely place here, the weather is good, that’s the most important if you’re from Denmark, but the course is in good shape. I really like Ras Al Khaimah so far.”

And his 2021 European Masters winning brother, Ramus remarked: “The facilities are good. It’s a nice quiet place, the course is in good shape. It seems like a course where you can shoot decent scores, but it all depends on the wind and it seems like it can blow out here but I think it’s a fun course to play.”

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.

Latest Stories

Feature Interviews