Abu Dhabi Golf Club News

Troon Golf Abu Dhabi’s superintendent Andrew Whittaker promoted to manage both Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Abu Dhabi Golf Club

Andrew Whittaker has a busy few months ahead of him as he is appointed to Group Director of Agronomy at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Abu Dhabi Golf Club, home to the upcoming Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Troon Golf Abu Dhabi’s latest promotion will see Andrew manage two of the capital’s finest Championship courses, with Abu Dhabi Golf Club set to welcome the world’s leading players including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy 17-20 January.
Formerly Superintendent at the home of Abu Dhabi’s Championship, Andrew’s career with Troon spans nine years and now sees him also take on the Gulf’s first beachfront course under his expanding portfolio.
His green-fingered ways have been behind the pristine conditions of the world famous National Course which has hosted the game’s top players, and he now looks forward to utilising his skills at Saadiyat.
“One of my career highlights has been working on the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship for the last four years,” said Whittaker.  So much time, effort and planning goes into these events to make them the successes that they are.”
Andrew has been in the industry for the past 18 years, spending time in America, Ireland and the UK.  His move to Troon in 2004 began at The Grove, England, and he has quickly progressed to become one of the region’s most specialised golf agronomists.
“At Troon we are continually looking to set high standards and provide an experience to our members and guests that is second to none,” he said. We try to look at innovative methods and ways we can operate our properties to ensure our agronomic plans are unrivalled.”
Andrew is responsible for implementing agronomic practices that are proven to keep the courses in prime condition, not an easy feat given the arid Middle Eastern climate.
“The biggest and main challenges in the UAE are obviously summer weather conditions and water quality,” he said.  Summer is very harsh and it tests each manager to the fullest to ensure the grass surfaces do not suffer.   We ensure that our cultural practices are timed perfectly during the summer to ensure we maintain good recovery and healthy grass.
“Each year we always look to improve and enhance the features that already exist.  This year has been no different with green extensions made to five greens at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to provide more pin placements, new tees on holes one and 10 and enhancements to the landscaping around the golf course.  We always look to refine our cultural practices each year in order to produce and provide better quality and more visually appealing playing surfaces.”
Andrew’s promotion to cover Saadiyat Beach Golf Club’s course will see him work closely to protect a variety of wildlife species that is unique to the course, with more than 20 gazelles grazing its natural sand dunes and native grasses.
“The gazelles are a major feature at the golf club who use it as a natural habitat as it is perfect in the native rough for their wellbeing,” he said.  We make additional efforts to ensure that we do not interfere with their habitats and look to provide shade by planting works.  Both golf courses are members of the Audobon and Epar organisations and we follow strict guidelines to ensure we comply with their wildlife programs and protection of the environment.”
Both Championship courses provide their guests and members with a luxury golf experience that is unrivalled in the region, managed by the world’s largest golf course management company, Troon Golf.

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