Reigning Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge Champion Jordan Smith Masters ‘Paddlegolf’ Test

England’s Jordan Smith, one of the brightest emerging stars in global golf, proved he is just as accomplished with a paddle as an eight-iron during a fun-filled paddleboard-meets-golf stunt at Al Hamra Golf Club in Ras Al Khaimah.

The Englishman was challenged to the unique ‘PaddleGolf’ test by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), Canadian Claudine Foong, a former touring professional and current wellness and performance coach, and her husband, Alex Riggs, a Canadian PGA Coach.

The ‘PaddleGolf’ challenge saw Smith and Foong paddleboard approximately 1,000 metres from the new Al Hamra Sailing Club through the tranquil waters of Al Hamra Marina, before stepping on to a floating pontoon to fire 140-yard shots towards a makeshift pin on the 18th green of Al Hamra Golf Club – the venue of this month’s Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge, which returns to the UAE’s northernmost emirate from October 25-28.

Smith, who secured his first PGA European Tour card following a memorable wire-to-wire display at the inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge last October, even managed to sink one of his shots, leaving him in a buoyant mood on his first return to Al Hamra since lifting the European Challenge Tour event’s trophy 12 months ago.

“I was a little cautious at first because I had never tried stand-up paddle boarding before. After a few quick tips on the beach, it was a relief to get straight on to my feet once we hit the water,” said Smith, who has cemented his place in the upper echelons of golf following a stunning rookie year in Europe. “It turned out to be really fun and it was comforting knowing the water beneath me was warm! Once we got on the pontoon, it was a little more familiar – well, as familiar as playing golf shots off a floating platform in the middle of a lagoon can be!”

Having secured multiple top 10 finishes and a maiden Tour win at August’s Porsche European Open in Hamburg, Germany, Smith 24, has risen to 69th in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), currently sits in a lofty 17th in the Race to Dubai rankings, and has guaranteed his place in the season-ending, USD8 million DP World Tour Championships at Jumeirah Golf Estates, 16 – 19 November.

With a 105-strong roster of the world’s up-and-coming golf stars due to tee-off in the second Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge this month, Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA, which organises the event, was thrilled to see Smith back in the emirate.

“It’s fantastic that Jordan has taken some time out from his busy European Tour schedule to return to Ras Al Khaimah and take part in our ‘PaddleGolf’ challenge,” said Mattar. “It’s great to have him back here with us and on behalf of all his fans in Ras Al Khaimah we wish him a successful end to his rookie season on the European Tour.”

The Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge, the penultimate event of this season’s European Challenge Tour, has attracted a marquee line-up of sponsors for its second edition including Emirates Airline, the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Group and Al Hamra Golf Club. For more information on the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge and The Road to Oman 2017 visit https://en.rasalkhaimah.ae/whats-on/ras-al-khaimah-golf-challenge-p688421

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