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Greg Norman hails Ayla as eco-friendly golf course
Published on : 21/08/2014

Greg Norman hails Ayla as eco-friendly golf course

After an extensive site visit to Ayla in Aqaba on Thursday, golfing great Greg Norman, one of the world's leading golf course designers, declared to a packed press conference overlooking the course: "Ayla is among the top-three most eco-friendly golf courses in the world if not the first." Norman continued: "When I came to Aqaba two years ago I was pleased to say that the scale and quality of the Ayla project was phenomenal and that I believed that the entire setting and unique design puts it among the best in the world, from my 40 years experience in golf.

"I am now pleased to say that I will be a proud ambassador for Ayla, to promote the project, Aqaba and the Kingdom of Jordan and its people.

"Norman added, "Ayla thought they were lucky to have chosen me to design their golf course, but it's me who is the lucky one to be given the opportunity of creating this outstanding golf course in such a spectacular setting, with the majestic mountains looking down on the Bay of Aqaba".

"The work that Ayla have put into the project in terms of water conservancy and creating power through solar panels on the golf course is considerable, and goes hand in hand with what we are doing in our design." Sahl Dudin, Managing Director of Ayla Oasis Development Company the master developer of Ayla explained: "A dedicated 2.5 MW Photo Voltaic Plant will power everything within the Golf Course starting with the water wells, water treatment/desalination plant, water features circulation and flood events, Golf Course irrigation pumping along with the Par-3 course, driving range lighting and the Clubhouse and Academy buildings. All trees and shrubs have been carefully selected from local indigenous species to reduce the irrigation requirements and a sub-surface irrigation system has been installed to reduce evaporation and water loss." Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, CEO, Jordan Tourism Board, addressed the press conference saying: "To have such a magnificent golf course designed by one of the finest 'Green' designers in the world as Greg Norman, means a lot to Jordan's tourism sector. We are, indeed, fortunate to have Greg create a world-class golf course, attracting regional and international golfers of all standards and all nationalities, which will greatly enhance our position on the global golf tourism map." Norman, who is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Environmental Institute for Golf, added: "Whether we or Ayla had all the money in the world to irrigate the golf course as we pleased we would both still adopt the same methods in conserving every drop of water we can - we both have the same environmentally sensitive mentality." Asked by the media at the press conference whether Norman thought that golf was a rich man's sport, the Australian replied: "Golf is a rich man's sport but it's also a poor man's sport. Anyone can play golf. I've played with blind people and with disabled people - with anyone who enjoys the game. It's also a game for all standards of players, which is why our golf course designs always have a variety of tee boxes at different distances from the green - to accommodate all levels of players from the best in the world to beginners.

"I've always campaigned for golf to be an all-inclusive sport. I got into the game as a youngster in Australia through the junior golf academy at my local golf club. That's what we want to do at Ayla - to make it all-inclusive for everyone. Golf is a great connector - bringing people together from all nationalities and from all walks of life.

"Building a sustainable golf course as spectacular as this gives us the opportunity to introduce local flora and fauna, which attracts birdlife and creates a haven for wildlife. The wadis and lagoons are a lure to a variety of fish and sea creatures. The water is so clear it is already bringing sea horses, spotted eagle rays, a whale shark and various fish species to the crystalline lagoons. Aqaba is already a "bottle neck site" and a stop-over for migrating birds and I'm sure we will soon see many different species of birdlife on the golf course.

"I'm pleased to be back on site at Aqaba to see how the lagoons and other infrastructure around the golf course have taken shape. Since my last visit, we've been particularly focused on how the golf course ties into the water features and surrounding residential areas, and I'm pleased at the great job our team have done here. We are building an outstanding eco-friendly golf course here that will last for generations to come and will be enjoyed by thousands of people long after we have all gone.

"This is a great honour for me to design the first 18 holes grass golf course in Jordan. It has the potential to put Jordan on the world golf map in the future, in becoming a worldwide attraction, not only for the sport of golf but also for tourism and commerce." Norman's Green Theme philosophy has always been to put the environment first in all his golf course design projects worldwide. The Great White Shark, as he is affectionately known, has been at the forefront of environmentally-friendly golf course design since he started his design company when he was the world's No.1 golfer.

Through his Greg Norman Golf Course Design company, he has created and opened 87 courses on six continents around the world, with a further 39 projects currently at various stages of development.


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