Golfing properties in Dubai gain investor demand

Golfing properties in Dubai gain investor demand

Investors are racing to put money in Dubai golfing properties as developers are keen to cash in on demand, writes Muzaffar Rizvi



By Muzaffar Rizvi (business News Editor)

Published: Wed 25 Feb 2015, 10:58 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 11:57 PM

Golfing properties in Dubai gain in investor demand

Real estate in Dubai staged a strong rebound two years back and the premier developers have snce announced a slew of residential and commercial projects with different themes to cash in on the growing interests of global investors and individual buyers in the industry.

The most popular theme, which gained momentum in the past couple of years, is a ‘golf property’ that is considered an instant success in today’s competitive market. The concept is not new for the emirate as it already had prestigious residential golf communities, offering a wide range of world-class facilities.

Today, investments in golfing properties are on the rise as the developers across the world have announced projects whether near existing courses or on new developments, with demand often outstripping the number of available properties.

Golfing properties concept is also shaping up in Dubai due to its growing demand in line with leading international trend setting markets like the United States and Europe, which have about 22,000 golf courses. Out of 16,300 courses in the US, more than 2,000 are around residential properties.

What is golf property?

What is golf property?

The term golf property is used to describe a niche in the property market — residential real estate linked to a golf course. A golf property can be in the ownership of the golf course or in close proximity to the golf course. The idea of combining the design of a golf course with a subdivision housing property originated in the United States and is now found in many parts of the world.

Europe, which currently has approximately 5,600 golf courses, perhaps best demonstrates the opportunity for successful golf project development in the future. About 250 of the 5,600 golf courses are also associated with a resort hotel property that indicates sport and business can go side by side.

Analysts and experts say a quality golf course of an international standard gives approximately 10 per cent boost to golf properties and its neighbouring developments in terms of price value as well as driving sport tourism in Dubai that hosts a number of international tournaments and championships round the year. It is a win-win situation for developers, investors and end-users as they benefit from the novel concept and it also helps generate economic activity in the emirate, which has nine golf clubs and 180 golf holes. 

Most of the recent property developments, led by premier luxury developer Damac Properties, are confident of their success due to state-of-the-art facilities and expertise brought by leading international names and brands. It engaged legendary golf superstar Tiger Woods, American businessman and investor Donald Trump and international fashion brands like Fendi and Versace in its key developments involving investment worth billions of dollars.

The luxury property developer is capitalizing on the growth opportunities in golf communities, a main concept behind its flagship developments, including the $6 billion Akoya by Damac and the 55 million square feet Akoya Oxygen — both of which will be home to a Trump-managed 18-hole, championship-standard golf course. Tiger Woods is designing the golf course in multi-billion dollar Akoya Oxygen development.

“I know Tiger well and both of us have a passion for golf which translates into excellence. We have the same vision when it comes to results — and that’s to be the best. It’s a great combination,” Donald Trump, chairman and president of the Trump Organisation, told Khaleej Times.

Trump paid rich tribute to Woods and said he has played a lot of courses around the world and his experience is invaluable as he knows the nuances that make a difference to players.

To a question regarding developing more golf projects in association with Woods, he said it would depend on his schedule and what developments are in the works.

“Right now we are focused on the two incredible courses under development, Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, and Trump World Golf Club, Dubai. There will be nothing else like them,” he said.

Elaborating on the reason for being engaged in two golf properties in Dubai, Trump said the emirate is a global economic hub that is home to world-class businesses and has quickly become a destination city worldwide.

“The clientele in Dubai is unlike anywhere else in the world and we are incredibly excited to bring the Trump brand to the Middle East.”

Sharing his passion for the game and its alignment with his business, he said golf is a great sport and has become a great business for him.

“We only buy the best courses in the best locations and create the finest clubs. We have done very well and in the last few years have grown our Trump Golf portfolio from four to 18 courses including the iconic Turnberry and world renowned Blue Monster course at Trump National Doral Miami. Dubai will be our next great location,” he said. 

Tiger WoodsTiger focuses on Dubai

Tiger Woods expressed similar views and said Dubai and the UAE already has a very powerful presence in sport infrastructure and facilities.

“I love visiting and playing golf in Dubai. I have always felt designing a golf course here would be a great opportunity. When Damac Properties approached me to discuss creating one of the best courses in the region, I was really excited to be part of the project,” Woods told Khaleej Times.

The legendary golfer said his focus in the UAE right now is purely on the Trump World Golf Club, Dubai, and creating a spectacular golf course in collaboration with Damac Properties and the Trump Organisation.

“I was already aware of the Akoya by Damac course, which Damac Properties is developing and the Trump Organisation will manage. When the opportunity came about to work with them on the Trump World Golf Club, I knew it would be a great fit,” he said.

About the key features in the golf course, Woods said: “As with every golf course that I design, I try to create a distinct and memorable course that utilises the natural environment whenever possible. My design philosophy is shaped by how I play the game. I design courses that create the opportunity for various shot options and challenge players to think and make strategic decisions during their rounds.”

“Dubai is a great place with many great courses. I look forward to adding my course to that group,” he added. 

Projects on track

Niall McLoughlin, senior vice-president, Damac Properties, shared the latest progress on The Trump World Golf Club, Dubai, which is due to open by the end of 2017. He said work is already well under way at the project in the heart of Akoya Oxygen master development.

“Since taking the land, our teams are conducting maintenance on the current holes and a comprehensive hydrology study is in progress. Our teams are also working closely with Tiger Woods Design on preliminary designs for the course,” McLoughlin told Khaleej Times.

He said the course is to be a completely new layout and design that will test the very best golfers, while providing a fun, enjoyable round for the average players. The development will continue across the course of the next two years and open by the end of 2017, he added.

“Dubai is blessed with a number of great golf courses and we know we will need to raise the bar even further with the Trump World Golf Club, Dubai. It will be a very different style course to any around it, and will utilise the natural environment already available at Akoya Oxygen. The two courses will complement each other perfectly and create a great opportunity for players to experience the two different courses across a weekend.” 

Why golf courses?

Justifying the presence of golf courses in both of Damac Properties’ green master community developments, McLoughlin said these courses provide a lush green and serene environment which many of Damac savvy buyers are looking for when purchasing a home in Dubai. The added benefit of a golf course is that it is self-funding, so owners of the properties surrounding it will not face service charges or other costs to maintain and manage the land.

“Owners in many other villa communities around Dubai face very high service charges because of the open land that requires constant care and attention, especially in Dubai’s hot and dry environment. We will be able to keep these annual costs to a minimum by having a golf course.

“Secondly, a course of the stature that we are creating at Akoya by Damac and Akoya Oxygen will raise the standard of luxury and value in the properties surrounding it. There is a huge desirability factor of being an owner so close to a golf course managed by the Trump Organisation that has been designed by one of the world’s best architects such as Gil Hanse and Tiger Woods,” McLoughlin said. 

Celebrity touchDonald Trump

To a question, he said Damac is proud of associating with leading names in developing the golfing properties in Dubai.

“We did not chose Tiger Woods purely due to his celebrity status as the most famous sports person in the modern era. Tiger brings a unique offering to the design of the Trump World Golf Club, Dubai. He is respected in the world of golf for his knowledge and understanding of the game and he has won on most of the great courses around the world. That experience is invaluable and will translate into one of the most memorable golf courses in the region.

“Both of our golf courses are being designed by the very best. Gil Hanse is designing the Trump International Golf Club, Dubai. He is a studious architect and designer who was recently named the 13th most powerful person in golf and who is currently finalising the design for the golf course at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“At Damac Properties we work with only the very best in their respective fields and we believe with Gil Hanse and Tiger Woods designing our two courses and the Trump Organisation managing them, we have some of the best golfing expertise on hand to deliver a world-class experience. 

Akoya Oxygen progress

McLoughlin said Akoya Oxygen is on track and its first phase will be delivered in 2017 after the completion of infrastructure and development work.

“We purchased the land for Akoya Oxygen in July 2014 and launched the first phase of the luxury property in August, which sold out in record time,” he said.

Work is now under way on the site, with contracts for the first 1,000 homes already in place, he said, adding that road access and the sales centres are already complete and residents will be living in the first homes in 2017.

Fact File

* Emaar on Monday launched Acacia at Park Heights apartments in Dubai. The project will feature 479 one, two and three-bedroom apartments and a championship-standard golf course.

* Damac Properties is developing two Akoya developments, both of which will be home to a Trump managed 18-hole international golf course.

* Superstar Tiger Woods is designing the course in Akoya Oxygen

* A golf course is also part of mega development planned near Al Maktoum International Airport

* Jumeriah Golf Estates is one of the Middle East’s most prestigious residential golf communities. It features 1,000 individually designed homes [constructed and under construction]

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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