Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: The European Senior Tour made history last week with the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq becoming the first European Tour, European Challenge Tour or Senior Tour event to be played on a nine-hole golf course.
Held at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, Senior Tour competitors negotiated the nine-hole Peter Harradine-designed course twice on each tournament day, with the par-three and par-five holes being played from varying tees throughout the tournament week, a format which had never been used during a European Tour-sanctioned event.
David MacLaren, Head of the European Senior Tour, said: “With the recent and exciting innovations on the European Tour such as GolfSixes, and on the European Challenge Tour with their Match Play 9 event in May, we are delighted to create our own piece of European Tour history at the inaugural Sharjah Senior Golf Masters.
“Organising an 18-hole professional tournament on a nine-hole golf course has been no easy task and I would like to thank Martin Duff, Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club Director, and our own team, led by Simon Higginbottom, for their diligence in ensuring that the venue offered a stern, interesting and unusual test for our members.”
Tournament Director Higginbottom utilised a number of different tee boxes on the third, fourth, sixth and eighth holes, giving the 57-player field fresh challenges during the three tournament rounds – the yardage of the course can vary between 5,922 yards and 7,462 yards, and was set at 7,051 yards for this year’s competition.
“We determined that we would like to play the course differently each time around,” said Higginbottom. “We made the experience on each of the holes very different by moving tees.
“For example, the third/12th hole has tees from drastically different angles and lengths. The tees we used made for only 20 yards difference in length, but they were 80 yards apart, making the angle of attack quite different.
“Equally the sixth/15th hole was a long par-five the first time around, with no real chance of players reaching the green in two. However, when played as the 15th, we moved the tee forward, making the hole very reachable. This brought water into play, but the fairway was reshaped slightly to reward good tee shots, giving players a chance to make birdie or eagle.”