Construction work on The Tiger Woods Dubai is on track although it may not meet the September 2009 completion date and a new opening date will be announced, said Abdulla Al Gurg, Project Director, The Tiger Woods Dubai.
A member of Tatweer, The Tiger Woods Dubai is a 55 million square feet golf community development.
"Tatweer and The Tiger Woods Dubai is committed to achieving the vision set for the development. Any adjustment to the September timeline will be announced at a later date," said Al Gurg.
According to him the cost of building the remaining project could fall further as material prices continue to drop. "Construction work on the project is continuing at the same pace as before. We are still analysing the impact of the current market situation, which is still evolving and it will not be right to give an exact percentage of cost benefits due to the reducing construction cost," he said.
About Dh4 billion has been allocated for the development of the course, infrastructure and the other facilities. Located at Dubailand, the leisure, tourism and entertainment destination, The Tiger Woods Dubai is fast taking shape as an exclusive golf community encompassing 22 palaces, 75 mansions, 100 luxury villas and community service facilities.
"The two basement levels of the club house are complete. The structural design for the academy is also complete and we have submitted it to Dubai Municipality for approval. Dutco is the main contractor working on these structures," said Al Gurg.
The land is sold to private owners who will be responsible for construction work on their properties.
"Construction work on the first few mansions and villas is expected to start during the first half of 2009," Al Gurg added.
Al Ruwaya, the 13.7 million square feet of the golf course, is making significant progress, with the completion of detailed shaping on 10 holes, whilst eight holes remain roughly shaped. Trees are being planted at a rate of 50 per day, with a total of 2,000 of the 11,000 required for the course already planted.
"Almost four million gallons of water is used per day to irrigate the golf course. The water in treated at two temporary reverse osmosis plants being operated by Metito. Irrigation is also progressing well on the golf course to complement the advancement of grassing work," said Al Gurg.
"We have completed irrigation systems on three holes – four, five and six. We have also grassed holes four and five and are going for the sixth one, which should start within weeks. We have permanent irrigation systems on three holes and erosion controlled watering system has been installed on seven holes."
The development will include a big stream and six lakes. Several of the trees will be planted besides the lakes.
"Construction work on the main stream and one of the six lakes is completed. Work on the other five lakes has already started," said Al Gurg.
There will be a total of 7.5 million sq ft of lakes. Twenty per cent of the development is real estate and the remaining 80 per cent is dedicated for landscaping. About 32,000 trees are going to be planted on the golf course. The development will have a total of 440,000 shrubs of which 330,000 will be on the golf course.
"We currently have about 8,000 shrubs in our nursery ready to be planted. We are currently acclimatising them to the local conditions. The trees have been imported from five different countries – Thailand, India, South Africa, Australia and Egypt," said Al Gurg.
He expressed confidence that the tress and shrubs will survive the summer weather.
Al Gurg also said the grassing work on the 7,800 yard, par 72, 18-hole championship Al Ruwaya Golf Course, the world's first to be designed by Tiger Woods Design, has commenced.
The golf course will feature three different varieties of grass. Tifway 419 will be used in the fairways and rough, Tif-Eagle on the greens and tees, and Tif-dwarf on the approaches and expanded collars. All three strains have been procured from Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States.
The grassing is going on under the supervision of IMG Golf Course Management, the company mandated to operate and manage the Al Ruwaya Golf Club.
"Commencement of the grassing work on Al Ruwaya marks a significant step in furthering the completion of The Tiger Woods Dubai. The pace of progress validates our commitment to delivering on our promise to create a development that will be ranked amongst the most sought after golf destinations worldwide," said Al Gurg.
The Al Ruwaya Golf Club will include the first course in the region to grass all its fairways and rough areas by sod transplanting. The process involves transplanting grass from the nursery to the golf course. The turf nursery at Al Ruwaya covers an area of 60 acres. A sod cutter is used to remove strips of grass and earth, 42 inches wide and approximately 30 metres long.
The rolls of grass are transported from the nursery to the golf course, and subsequently laid onto the fairways and precisely positioned within the appropriate areas. This process produces fairways and primary rough of a very high quality in a short period of time.
The teeing areas and greens will be grown through the conventional process of sprigging.
"We have already shifted 22 shipments. About five to 10 containers are transported to the site every week. It is costing The Tiger Woods Dubai about Dh800,000 to Dh1.2 million for every shipment," Al Gurg added.
Transportation from the nursery in itself is a challenging task said Al Gurg. "To transport the 18 metres tall trees we actually need to have open-ended containers. We can only transport about six large trees per container or about 15 to 30 smaller ones," he added.