Harmon keen to produce world-class Arab golfers

They have one of the richest tournaments in the world, they have one of the fastest growing golf industries around … now they want to produce the world’s best players.

United Arab Emirates is home to the Dubai World Championship, a US$20 million tournament that acts as the grand finale for the European Tour.

Dubai is leading the way in terms of golf tourism and course development. The Emirate has also established the Butch Harmon School of Golf, run by the former coach of world number one Tiger Woods.

You would be hard pressed to find a world-class Arab golfer but Harmon believes UAE has the ability to churn out quality players in the future, with his Dubai Sports City school at the forefront.

He said this can be achieved by focusing youth development on physical conditioning and hand-eye coordination along with, of course, working on their swing. He said in a media release:

“Golf is an athletic sport and it requires tremendous flexibility and strength to be played well. We believe young Emiratis will have a natural facility for golf because they have demonstrated similar athletic skills in more traditionally Emirati sports, such as sailing and horsemanship.”

While Butch will have overall control, the day-to-day running of the school is the responsibility of his son, Claude Harmon III, who is the Director of Instruction.

The school is right next to The Els Club golf course, inspired by South Africa’s top player Ernie Els.

Dubai is hoping that golf tourism can help to soften the blow of the global financial downturn, which is hitting the city hard.

Over the past 10 years, they have invested heavily in the greening of the desert with golf courses aimed at American and European tourists, though they face plenty of competition from rival Gulf countries such as Oman and Qatar.

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