Saadiyat Beach Golf Club unveils Frank Gehry designed clubhouse


As the centrepiece for the stunning Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Course – the Arabian Gulf’s first and only beachfront course – the 18,000 sqm clubhouse will boast unique design statements, which incorporate Saadiyat Island’s stunning natural beauty, to create an instantaneously recognisable international landmark.

The clubhouse – designed to meet Estidama regulations, the Abu Dhabi-specific building sustainability methodology – is scheduled to be completed in 2013. TDIC will put the project out to tender later this year.

“We wanted someone who could push design boundaries to create visual architecture that makes bold statements. Frank Gehry ticks that box emphatically. A truly world-class course, designed by the world’s most successful golfer of all time, in the heart of one of Arabia’s most breathtaking natural settings, deserves an outstanding clubhouse that sets the benchmark globally,” said Ahmed Hussein, COO of TDIC and Deputy Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

“Frank’s unique design philosophy will form the centrepiece of this spectacular project and will serve to reinforce Abu Dhabi’s emergence as a sought after destination on the international golfing map.”

The Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, with its first-of-its-kind clubhouse, gives a significant boost to the United Arab Emirates capital’s credentials as a top-tier sports and cultural destination of distinction, and builds on the emirate’s growing portfolio of iconic architectural designs, which includes Zayed National Museum, designed by Lord Norman Foster, Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel;; and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, designed by Frank Gehry.

The utilisation of space was a key facet in the clubhouse’s design, and careful consideration has been given to blend indoor and outdoor settings. Harnessing Saadiyat Island’s striking landscapes, Gehry has opted to emphasise large terraces with sweeping glass canopies to maximise visitor viewing opportunities of the surrounding landscape.

The clubhouse, which overlooks the scenic Arabian coastline, will include a boutique hotel with 26 deluxe rooms, two restaurants, a spa and a pro-shop.

“We are just at the beginning of the detailed design of the clubhouse and are very pleased with the progress thus far. The design is intended to be an ephemeral mirage floating above the greens,” said Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning Gehry.

The Saadiyat Beach Golf Club gets its global public debut today with the staging of the Saadiyat Beach Classic hosted by Gary Player – a top-tier international charity tournament which has attracted leading international golfing names and celebrities from the world of sport.

Leading the star-studded player field will be golfing prodigy and world number 11, Rory McIlroy – who finished 3rd in last week’s 5th annual Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. He will be joined by a wealth of other respected golf names including Sam Torrance OBE, Darren Clarke, Peter Mitchell, Costantino Rocca, Catriona Matthe, Melissa Reid, Maria Verchenova and Henrietta Zuel.

The Classic also boasts Rugby’s Gavin Hastings and Victor Matfield, Cricket’s Allan Lamb and BBC Sports News Presenter, Sarah Stirk.

Gary Player, arguably the most successful golfers of all time and designer of more than 300 courses worldwide, believes the addition of a Gehry-inspired clubhouse to Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, in addition to the staging of the Classic, will be critical factors in the project’s and the emirate’s realisation of establishing themselves as highly-sought after golf and leisure destinations.

“Frank Gehry is one of the living, iconic architects of our time and to have an instantly recognisable structure, in the Guggenheim-style, as a clubhouse will be a world first. There is no doubt Abu Dhabi has arrived as a major force on the international golfing scene and will continue to be a future magnet for the sport’s leading players and avid fan base globally,” said Player, who has 18 Majors to his name.

“This week’s Saadiyat Beach Classic marks the development’s final evolution of becoming a highly-sought after golfing destination. It should serve as an inspiration to others around the world and, more importantly, will provide another important platform for younger generations to connect with the sport, a key facet in golf’s continuing development in the region.”

At the centre of the Classic will be an 18-hole tournament, where teams of four – including a top international golfer or celebrity – will battle it out on Saadiyat Beach Golf Club’s lush fairways and greens.

Tickets for the Saadiyat Beach Classic are complimentary to the public and can be downloaded from Beginning at 9.30am on Thursday 28th January, the tournament will boast unrivalled viewing of all the action throughout the day. Food and beverage will be available at the course and car parking at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is free to ticket holders.

Five charities, local and international, have been identified as beneficiaries for the Saadiyat Beach Classic, which are the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs; Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation; Red Crescent UAE; Future Centre for Special Needs; and the Gary Player Foundation. A proportion of the proceeds will also go to aiding victims of the recent Haiti earthquake and to assist with the growing relief efforts.

To raise funds for the nominated charities, TDIC will host a black tie gala charity dinner, where an auction will take place for more than 50 must-have items donated by corporate sponsors and partners. Taking place at Emirates Palace on Thursday evening, the 350-person extravaganza – boasting an impressive entertainment line-up and some of the biggest names from the sport and entertainment worlds – will be one of the most sought-after events in town.

The Saadiyat Beach Classic has attracted a strong line-up of corporate partners which include Emirates Palace and Emirates Airline as Platinum sponsors, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Al Habtoor Leighton, Al Jaber LEGT Engineering & Contracting, HILALCO, Jan De Nul Group, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Parsons and Saif Bin Darwish as Gold Sponsors, and Abu Dhabi Media Company, Motivate Publishing and Gulf News Broadcasting as media partners.

Managed by Troon Golf, the world’s largest golf management company, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is the latest world-class golf destination in Abu Dhabi. 

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is the flagship sports facility on Saadiyat Beach, a future magnet for high-end visitors and residents with its host of exclusive 5-star resorts that will create one of the world’s most premium and stylish destinations.


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