Ian Baker-Finch Brings True ‘Desert’ Golf To Dubai

Former British Open champion and burgeoning course designer will kick off 36-hole Arabian Ranches with first desert-style layout in the United Arab Emirates

NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. – Ian Baker-Finch and his company, IBF Design, have been selected to design the first true “desert style” golf course in the United Arab Emirates. The Arabian Ranches project is under construction and will feature 36 holes, the first 18 being an Ian Baker-Finch Signature Course and the second being a Peter Harradine design.

IBF Design is currently working in association with Nicklaus Design, which provides technical and personnel support to Baker-Finch.

“This site is truly a gem, and provides a golf course designer everything they look for in an ideal piece of property,” said Baker-Finch, the 1991 British Open champion and a golf analyst for ABC Sports and ESPN telecasts. “The property is rich with gently rolling sand dunes that will allow us to almost literally melt the golf holes into the existing terrain with minimal earth being moved in the process. We don’t have to create anything. The golf is right there in front of us.

“Our goal is to maintain the natural characteristics of the desert while creating lush tees, fairways and greens and bunkers. With the golf course framed by the backdrop of the barren desert, the resulting contrast should be both dramatic and memorable.”

The developer of the Arabian Ranches project is Emaar Properties, headquartered in Dubai. Emaar officials said they entered into this design agreement with Baker-Finch in an effort to elevate Dubai’s global reputation, with hopes that the region will one day be included among the world’s most sought-after golf destinations. Officials are also trying to lure the Dubai Desert Classic to Arabian Ranches, and as early as 2004.

“As a touring professional and now an analyst, I am fortunate to have seen and played hundreds of golf courses around the world,” Baker-Finch added. “It is one thing to create a golf experience that will hopefully one day test a tournament field, but the real challenge is creating an experience that can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels.”

Baker-Finch has been involved in the design of three courses open for play in different corners of the world – Australia, Japan, and Indonesia. The Golf Club at Kennedy Bay, located 40 minutes south of Perth, is considered one of Australia’s top 10 courses and one of the country’s most authentic links layouts. Bintan Lagoon Resort & Country Club in Indonesia features designs by both Jack Nicklaus and Ian Baker-Finch.

Troon Golf will oversee construction, pre-planning development and will eventually manage the facility once opened. Troon Golf, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., manages operations at more than 115 golf courses located in 24 states and 10 countries. This is Troon’s second facility in the United Arab Emirates, joining The Montgomerie in Dubai.

See Also: Hole-by-Hole

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