Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club is 25 years old. As the iconic venue celebrates its 25th anniversary, here are the top 25 facts over its eventful history.
Christopher May, Chief Executive of Dubai Golf: "The Creek is very, very special because it's like a haven in the middle of the city. The Club has always been very welcoming to members and guests alike and the friendly welcome you receive is something that really makes it stand out from other places around the world. The team have worked hard to develop market-leading facilities, including award-winning restaurants and the Championship course is a must-play for any golf fan. I'm really proud to be part of the Creek team and to be here as part of this 25th Anniversary celebration."
Abdulla Al Noon, Club Manager at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club: "It is thanks to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's incredible vision over 25 years ago that Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club has become the world-class destination that it is today. We strive to create an environment that the UAE can be proud of and I think 25 years of exceptional service is worth celebrating. I hope that my children will come and enjoy golf here and celebrate the 50th anniversary one day."
- In 1989, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, devised the idea to created a spectacular development on the banks of the creek waterway.
- Marina berths were also in short supply in 1990, so Sheikh Mohammed decided to add a 199-berth marina to the project.
- On 2nd September 1990, the first earthmovers of Al Naboodah Contracting began the first part of the construction phase.
- Brian Johnson, who had also designed Emirates Golf Club, envisioned the incredible clubhouse. The design is based on the shape of the lateen sail of the traditional racing dhows. To win the contract, Johnson asked a model maker to produce an eight inch model for one hundred English pounds – which helped him beat the competition. His business partner then suggested the idea of a reflection pool round the outside that helped the building appear as though it was floating. The Yacht Club design was created to resemble the prow of a luxury cruise liner.
- Karl Litten designed the original golf course. He had complete freedom to design the 18 hole course, the Par-3 course and practice facilities.
- The interiors were designed by Lars Waldenstrom (father-in-law to European Tour star Thomas Bjorn) and company Swedish Design (now LW Design)
- On Tuesday 26th January 1993, four of the world’s leading golfers took part in the Dubai Creek Challenge; Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els and Isao Aoki, to mark the first professional tournament held on the course. Each was rewarded with a beautiful Persian rug, appointed by Chairman, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum
- The prestigious club was unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on 28th January 1993
- Its design is historic, with the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club clubhouse featured on the 20 Dirham banknote!
- The club has hosted some iconic concerts in its history. From the very first opening evening performance from Shirley Bassey, to Tom Jones, Shaggy, Bollywood stars Aamir Khan and Preity Zinta, the Russian State Ballet, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Roger Waters. However, the most famous concert in its history was in October 2002, when Elton John wowed a crowd of 14,000 – even His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan flew in from Abu Dhabi to meet one of his favourite singers.
- Charitable efforts have always been a part of Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. The Big 5-0 Golf Tournament in Aid of Children was held for 13 years and raised over AED 8 million for SPARKS (Sport Aiding Research for Kids)
- Fishing tournaments have remained popular in the Dubai Creek Marina – in one tournament a participant claimed to have hooked a barracuda. Halfway through weighing, it broke from the scale and broke in half – it was frozen and had been picked up from the fish market on the way in from a fruitless day of fishing!
- Boardwalk’s iconic deck is made of handcut Australian Jarra wood, cut on site and fitted to perfection
- QD’s was originally a swimming pool – its wooden deck was installed over the top of it
- The Dubai Desert Classic was held at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club in 1999 and 2000 – the former won by David Howell and the latter by Jose Coceres. The tournament returned back to Emirates Golf Club in 2001 where it has remained ever since
- Between 2003 and 2007, the course saw significant redevelopment – notably the building of the Park Hyatt Hotel which opened in 2005, construction of residential villas and a course redesign led by European Golf Design and advised by Tour player Thomas Bjorn. Fellow professional Darren Clarke suggests, “The course has improved massively, and is a much better test of golf. It has matured superbly and is now a really great course for events such as the MENA Golf Tour.”
- Since 2007, Seawings has operated a regular service from the Creek serving 35,000 people a year.
- The Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Golf is Christopher May – previously he was General Manager at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.
- Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club has been a proud supporter of Emiratization, with many colleagues progressing through the ranks at the club including Mona Ahmed Khamis and notably Abdulla Al Noon who is the current Club Manager.
- Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club has always put a priority on junior development. Indeed when the UAE’s Junior Development programme was introduced in the mid-90’s, the Creek was the first Club to sign up for it. Now, with initiatives such as Tee It Up, which operates an outreach of free lessons for schools, the sport of golf is reaching more Emirati and expat Dubai residents than ever before
- Rayhan Thomas is perhaps the most notable player to graduate from the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club Academy system, going on to play in the MENA Tour and winning the Dubai Creek Open at just 17 years old. In 2017, he equalled MG Keyser’s course record of 61. During that historic round, he also equalled the world record for number of consecutive birdies in a professional tournament (nine)
- Dubai Duty Free CEO Colm McLoughlin is the only golfer to have been honoured as Captain of both Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
- The original Yacht Club had a restaurant called Aquarium, but as tastes changed there was a desire to vary up the offering, so Casa de Tapas replaced it. The floor-to-ceiling aquarium was removed and the fish were all rehoused at Atlantis - The Palm.
- In 2010 the Dubai Creek Marina welcomed the first annual Dubai Pre-Owned Boat Show which brings thousands of visitors – some looking for a boat to buy and others enjoying the variety of attractions on offer to the Dubai Creek Marina.
- Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club still has 21 founder members and 15 founder colleagues who joined the Club in the first year of opening.