Martin Dempster: Pleasing to be proved right about Oman course

Al Mouj Golf in Muscat is in an idyllic setting. Picture: Getty.
Al Mouj Golf in Muscat is in an idyllic setting. Picture: Getty.
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Oh man! Apologies if that’s a bit cheesy but it really does sum up what the majority of players felt about the European Tour’s newest venue – Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, where Dutchman Joost Luiten won the inaugural NBO Oman Open on Sunday.

Having been lucky enough to play the Greg Norman-designed course myself in the Challenge Tour Grand Final pro-am in 2015, I’d given it a big build-up to some of the Scottish guys heading there last week and was worried I might have got it wrong.

After all, these guys see and play courses differently to a humble hacker like myself, but I had indeed been correct in thinking it was a very good test of golf that just happens to be in an idyllic setting on the Gulf of Oman.

“One of the best-designed golf courses I’ve ever seen for tournament golf,” was one player’s verdict, while many agreed it was the best they’d played in the Middle East, where the European Tour hosts some of its biggest events.

First and foremost, it was refreshing to hear praise in an era when everyone seems to prefer moaning and, equally noteworthy, isn’t it fantastic to see how a new venue can be put on the golfing map.