The Staysure Tour’s 2018 season has got off to a perfect start at the Sharah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq and the senior stars have been unanimous in in their praise of the immaculate Peter Harradine-designed nine-hole course at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club.
The fully floodlit course, which was designed by the internationally acclaimed architect a decade ago, is one of the UAE’s best loved courses and the Staysure Tour players have been highly impressed with the stunning layout and pristine conditions. Reigning Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq champion Chris Williams said: “We were all surprised by how good this course is and how nice the greens are. It had been about 30 years since I’d been in the UAE when I played last year but to come and play at a place like this facility in Sharjah was wonderful.”
South African star Williams edged Gary Marks to the inaugural title last year in a dramatic play-off and the Englishman is also delighted to return to the emirate and commence the new Staysure Tour season.
“I was surprised by how enjoyable and challenging this golf course is,” admits Marks, who achieved the first victory of his career in the 2016 Willow Senior Golf Classic. “You’d struggle to find a better all-round venue on the Staysure Tour in terms of course condition, practice facilities and the weather. The players absolutely love it here and it’s a highlight on the Tour which is a gem to start the season off at.”
Two-time European Tour winner James Kingston was the second round leader last year but ended up finishing tied-third in the 2017 Sharjah Golf Senior Masters. He is seven under-par so far this week so it’s clear that this nine-hole track brings of the best in the South African’s game. “The golf course is really nice because it gives you a bit of freedom off the tee,” said Kingston, who is now in his second year on the over-50’s circuit. “It’s in impeccable condition and the greens are superb.
“The golf course is set up to be taken apart which is something that all golfers enjoy. Most of the guys playing have come from five foot of snow so it’s brilliant to be able to swing a golf club in the sunshine here.”
Ronan Rafferty and Barry Lane having a great time in the #heartofshj #souqalshanasiyah Shukran for the hospitality Fatima Al Shwaihi @heartofshj @souqalshanasiyah @shurooqsharjah #shurooq @sharjahgolf #sharjahsgm @sharjahsgm @RonanRafferty89 @BazLane @StaysureTour #staysure pic.twitter.com/QFlSN1gSIJ
— Claire Badger (@badgegolf) March 7, 2018
Paul Streeter earned his first Staysure Tour card from Q-School and had only competed in one event at this level before this week but he recognises that this season-opener will be hard to outshine. “The Sharjah track is superb and the weather is awesome. The Sharjah Golf Senior Masters has really set a precedent for the rest of the season on the Staysure Tour.”
The players have ace designer Harradine, as well as Golf Course Superintendent Marty Brown, to thank for the unique layout and course condition at the Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club. Harradine admits it’s been heartwarming to see former Ryder Cup stars and Senior Major champions competing on the course that he designed.
“I’m proud to see an event of this calibre at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club,” he said. “It’s fantastic because I’ve always pushed nine-hole golf courses and I think the PGA playing on this course actually endorses it.
“The players were very complimentary last year and they have been exactly the same this time. I never dreamt that there would be a PGA event here when I first designed this track but I’m extremely pleased.”
His Excellency Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), sponsors and co-organisers of the event, said: “Hosting the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters is an excellent way for both the players and spectators to experience our unique culture and see for themselves our own love of sports and outdoor life.”
He added: “As last year’s wonderful players know, Sharjah has invested heavily in world-class events and facilities and we look forward immensely to welcoming those who have yet to experience our hospitality next year.”
You can witness the final round and closing ceremony at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club on Saturday to see who will be crowned this year’s Sharjah Senior Golf Masters champion.