The Director of the European Challenge Tour has praised the choice of Ras Al Khaimah as the new host destination for the season-ending event of the Challenge Tour calendar as Alain de Soultrait declared the emirate the “natural way forward” during the hugely successful inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final.

It came as no surprise when the club in the northern emirate was chosen to hold the season-ending event after two successful years hosting the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge, which was the penultimate stop on the Challenge Tour schedule.

“We knew Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) were keen to host the Grand Final so it was a natural way forward for us to choose Ras Al Khaimah and Al Hamra Golf Club as the season-ending venue,” said de Soultrait.

“Ras Al Khaimah has a lot to offer, not only is it great for golf but it also has lots of different activities and so many things to discover in the area. We really think that the Road to Ras Al Khaimah and Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final will help put the emirate on the map. We’ve taken some of the players to different places including the Al Wadi Nature Reserve and on a Dune Jeep Safari which they loved. We want people to learn more about Ras Al Khaimah and to come and enjoy the beautiful place.”

Earlier this year, world-renowned Golf Course Architect Peter Harradine visited the course and along with Al Hamra’s Chief Superintendent Alex McDowell, implemented a series of improvements ahead of this week’s tournament. Following Harradine’s visit, Al Hamra’s Agronomy Department worked tirelessly on Harradine’s recommendations and de Soultrait has lauded the changes since last year’s Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge.

“One of main things for us is that the course has improved dramatically since last year,” said the Frenchman. “The fairways are better, the quality of the greens have improved and a lot of hard work has been put in to the design and the shape of the bunkers. The players have noticed this improvement and have been commenting on how great it is. It’s a big step forward.”

Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, who was pivotal in securing the season-ending tournament, was delighted with the inaugural edition.

“The season long Road to Ras Al Khaimah and the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final is the emirate’s largest international sporting event and hosting it is a tremendous privilege for the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development and everyone connected to the event,” he said. “I’d like to congratulate the players and all of the people involved in bringing this event to Ras Al Khaimah.

“Ras Al Khaimah is fast becoming known as a major player in the regional golf tourism market. A combination of year-round sunshine, world-class golfing facilities and diverse hotel offerings is helping Ras Al Khaimah establish a position as a leading option for travelling golfers.”