How Dubai's Ultimate Golf Challenge found success in its inaugural season

'Everybody took it seriously because they were aware of the efforts that the owners and organizers have gone through to make it happen,' said Darryl Cox, mentor of winning team Petrochem Condors

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

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Team Petrochem Condors celebrate winning the inaugural Ultimate Golf Challenge. - Instagram
Team Petrochem Condors celebrate winning the inaugural Ultimate Golf Challenge. - Instagram

Published: Tue 6 Feb 2024, 10:38 PM

Any competition, any game can potentially be a lot of fun but there is always an underlying element of competitiveness because everyone wants to win.

The inaugural Ultimate Golf Challenge, a unique corporate tournament which brought together ten franchise-owned teams at the Emirates Golf Club delivered on several levels.

While there was no denying the enjoyment that it offered the 140 players, spectators and promoters through its jumble of formats across two days, there was a significant prize at stake – to be crowned the inaugural champions.

And that honour went to Petrochem Condors, a team made of a disparate group of everyday people who came together to test their skills in a tournament atmosphere, have fun and ultimately, win.

Darryl Cox, the team’s mentor, was willing to share what went on behind the scenes enroute to them lifting the trophy after two entertaining days of golf at the world-famous Emirates Golf Club.

“Certainly, this is the first time that I have ever played in an event like this, and I think the same goes for many others as well,” Darryl told Khaleej Times.

“I think I can speak on behalf of all the teams when I say that there was a genuine sense of excitement as well as nervousness amongst the players. Everybody took it seriously because they were aware of the efforts that the owners and organizers have gone through to make this happen.

Discussing the formats which included a Strokeplay on Modified Stableford, and a dynamic handicapping system on Day One and Strokeplay and Matchplay on a modified Stableford scoring pattern on Day Two, Darryl said: “The formats were interesting, and challenging to say the least. Especially the way it was set up on Day Two.

Runners-up Shershaah Eagles. - Instagram
Runners-up Shershaah Eagles. - Instagram

“As the mentor the message I gave the team was quite simple – don’t worry about the format just play the best golf you can, and the rest will take care of itself.

“Day Two was really interesting because regardless how well or how bad you played in Day One, you still had a chance to win. The best thing about the formats that were devised was that they kept the excitement and interest going right through to the end,” he added.

“Obviously as a mentor you also work on different levels, and particularly by helping the team owner pick the best players possible. I have been very fortunate to have been a member of the Emirates Golf Club for the past nine years, so I knew a lot about the players we wanted to select.

“So, bringing in that knowledge of the players ability was the first step towards building our team,” Darryl revealed. “We then had to strategically look at players we wanted to buy at the auction. And finally when you’ve got your team it’s about looking to see how you play your best 10 players on each of the two days.”

UGC Captains. - Instagram
UGC Captains. - Instagram

The Ultimate Golf Challenge is already firmly entrenched in India’s golfing landscape and is a much-anticipated annual event that attracts strong participation from the corporate sector.

“I know it’s going pretty well in India and I think with that template the organisers did a phenomenal job to pull in 140 players for a mid-week tournament,” said Darryl. “It says a lot about the potential and I think there’ll be a lot of interest going forward not only for potential new owners but also more players wanting to be a part of it.”

Darryl, who moved to Dubai from the UK over thirteen years ago, is confident that the Ultimate Golf Challenge has the potential to get bigger as it represents the perfect time to engage with the local business community.

“For an inaugural event it was a huge success,” he said. “The execution was just incredible. The whole UGC team did a phenomenal job to put this one out and I believe they are already looking forward to the next one and many, many more.

“When you look at the Middle East as a region events, like this where you bring 140 golfers from all industries and all corners together, it’s a great opportunity to build on this success and should be the outcome going forward.”

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The top three finishers were Petrochem Condors (192 points), Shershaah Eagles (157) and The A Team (138).

Other participating teams included Three Comma Masters 129., Tristar Gladiators 128, Moore Aces 114.5, Dugasta Titans 113, Alpha Ninjas 107, Sultans of Swing 103, Meteora Magicians 88.5.


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