‘Keeping it simple will always be a priority’, is new EGC manager Dean Nelson's mantra

A former Dubai resident, the industry veteran wants to make a difference and continue the drive for growth with quality at the iconic venue

By Nick Tarratt/ Khaleej Times, Guest Golf Writer

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Meet Dean Nelson, the new Club Manager at Dubai's iconic Emirates Golf Club -  Supplied photo
Meet Dean Nelson, the new Club Manager at Dubai's iconic Emirates Golf Club - Supplied photo

Published: Wed 6 Dec 2023, 8:10 AM

Every new leader will bid to make his mark using the skills and experience acquired from previous jobs. Dean Nelson, the Club Manager at Emirates Golf Club is no exception.

Just one month in his new job and the 50-year-old industry veteran already has a clear mindset and is ready to plan for the future of golf in Dubai.

Khaleej Times caught up with Dean, who is no stranger to Dubai having previously worked at Nad Al Shiba Club (now Meydan Golf, Dubai) as a Golf Operations Manager, over two decades ago.

There were just three golf clubs those days - Emirates Golf Club, Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club and NAS. Fast forward to the present day and there are 14 golf clubs in the Emirate.

A lot has changed since Dean left the UAE when he was 32 and took up roles in Kuwait, Portugal the Far East where he was Director of Golf at Hong Kong Golf Club. He then went to St Andrews Bay in Scotland and here he is back in Dubai. Life has come full circle.

“I met my wife here in Dubai in 2001, she is Swedish, and my daughter was born in 2005 in Dubai,” he said. “I cannot believe how many of the golfers are still here in Dubai, many of them EGC Members.

“I met one EGC member last week who said that he started golf with me in group sessions at Nad Al Shiba and he now is a 2 handicapper. I told him that after I left he must have found a great coach.”

Dean said that he has plans that he hopes will help him implement his agenda at the Emirates Golf Club.

“As the Club Manager I am still very much watching the huge operation here at EGC,” he said. “It must be one of the busiest golf clubs anywhere in the world. I am initially prioritizing the front-of-house operations.

“We must continue to strive to manage the expectations of members, local golfers, corporates and international golfers as well as for non-golfers – especially with our enhanced F&B operations, Dean added.

“The balance of all sectors at such a golf club is never easy as 70 per cent of our rounds are by members.’

“I will strive to acknowledge and increase the inclusivity of our membership - especially through events.”

As he gets used to the new Dubai golfing environment, Dean could not help but be impressed by how healthy the game currently is.

“And then there is TOPGOLF. Last month we crossed the 50 millionth golf ball hit at TOPGOLF since operations opened 23 months ago,” he said. “It has to be one of the busiest such facilities in the world, outside of the US.

“On both the Majlis and Faldo Courses we had 127,000 rounds last year. These are huge numbers that stand up to any golf club statistics around the world.’

“The success over the years of Emirates Golf Club has been heavily reliant on our colleagues and I am keen that they are our eyes and ears for the club and to get them interested in improving our operations,” he said.

“We have some exceptional colleagues and it would be great for us to see them develop in their careers - both within Dubai Golf and wider afield. The history of the EGC is so much all about tradition and characters.

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“We have to honour and use that legacy, but also be mindful of how golf and the hospitality industry, especially in Dubai, is constantly changing,” Dean added. “We must be ready for the future of golf in Dubai and plan ahead.

“EGC has come such a long way since 1989. I am very proud to be the Club Manager and look forward to hopefully making a difference and continuing the drive for growth with quality at this iconic venue with the support of Dubai Golf and wasl.”


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