Experienced and neophyte designers helping Dubai to become a golf destination

    You have probably read that Tiger Woods' maiden voyage into golf course design will be in Dubai, the coastal city in the United Arab Emirates.  That oil rich country, figuring the black gold could stop flowing some time in the next few hundred years, is banking on tourism as its next renewable resource and on golf as the way to lure the tourists.  
    Yesterday, I received an email message pitching a new development called Whispering Pines that will overlook the Greg Norman designed Fire and Earth golf courses at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.  Vijay Singh has designed a third course, called Water, which will be ready for play in 2009.  Norman, along with Sergio Garcia and Pete Dye, are teaming up to design the fourth track there, a links-style layout, that will be called -- drum roll, please -- Wind.  It represents Garcia's first foray into golf course design, but he has two of the world's most prolific designers to hold his hand.  I hope the musical group Earth, Wind and Fire has been paid a licensing fee; they haven't had a hit in a while.  The course will be ready for play in 2009.
    The villas, which have a Tuscan motif to their design, top the US $1 million mark but are spacious and have views of the courses.  From the sketches we saw, they look like many of the Addison-Meisner style Mediterranean homes in Naples and other locations in Florida.  The community surrounding the two golf courses at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, SC, is of a similar style; homes there sell for US $1 million and higher.  At Jumeirah, four different floor plans are offered in three and four bedroom models at prices beginning at US $1.2 million (638,000 in pounds Sterling).  Of course, given the current weakness of the dollar, our readers from the UK and the rest of Europe will get a lot more house in the States for their money (that's reality, not chauvinism).
    The four courses at Jumeirah are semi-private but offer memberships and the guarantee that at least one will be dedicated to member play only on any given day.  There are hole-by-hole descriptions of the Earth and Fire courses at the Jumeirah Golf Estates web site .  If any of our readers have played the courses there, we invite reviews.