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Player finetunes design for Saadiyat Island course

Golf course designer makes changes to original design for course, including dramatically reducing the number of trees.

Golf course designer Gary Player has made a series of design changes to the beach golf course on Saadiyat Island, including dramatically reducing the number of trees planned for the site, to make greater use of the natural setting.

In a statement issued this week, Player said he planned to finetune the original design of the course with changes including dropping the original plan to plant ‘thousands� of trees.

“Previously we were considering planting thousands of coconut and date palms but after discussions on how the nearby luxury resorts and homes will be landscaped with numerous trees and faunas, there is no doubt in my mind we should be limiting - even completely removing - the trees on the course,� Player said.

“Instead of using trees to define the course, I believe we should let the natural beauty of the island and Abu Dhabi be at the core,� he added. “The sweeping Gulf waters, beach views and the many white sands dunes spattering the course are key design components.�

Player made the changes following a visit to the 18-hole site in July. Other changes to the design include the addition of a fairway bunker to the driving range, and the introduction of new tee-boxes.

The design of the course will help preserve the natural environment on the island, Player claimed.

“Environmentally, the project is fitting in beautifully with Saadiyat�s natural assets. However, when the long grasses and turfs are laid, the site will attract an even greater proportion of wildlife - Saadiyat Beach Golf Course will be a golf course and a nature sanctuary,� he said.

Under development by Abu Dhabi�s Tourism Development and Investment Council (TDIC), the 18-hole course, which is located on Saadiyat Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi, is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2009.

The course is Player�s first UAE signature course and, according to the developers, will be the Arabian Gulf�s first ‘ocean� course with several beachfront holes.

Outside of the UAE, Player, a South African professional golfer, has designed courses in South Africa, the US and Hong Kong.

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