It was a full house as 283 guests applauded the winners in 16 different categories plus two recognition awards – Arab Initiative of the Year and Serviceman of the Year.
Also honoured during were winners of the UAE PGA and Rayhan Thomas, the celebrated Dubai amateur who created history by becoming the youngest to win on the MENA Golf Tour.
The MENA Tour, an initiative of ‘Golf in DUBAi’ which now carries world ranking points, was recognised as the Arab Initiative of the Year. The Serviceman of the Year is a fine example of what the MEGAs has always wanted to achieve – honour and recognise those who put in the hard yards behind the scenes.
This year’s award went to Eravathra Parappurath Ummer, Golf Operations Supervisor at Emirates Golf Club, where he completed 26 years of service on December 19. In the submission, the club branded Ummer “irreplaceable”, “a living legend” and someone who has never ever shirked his responsibilities.
Welcoming the guests, Didier Brun, Publisher and Deputy CEO of Sport360, said: “Our objective each year is not only to keep the awards credible but also to continue being innovative to keep pace with the evolution of the industry.”
The Golf Digital Platform of the Year award was won by Golf GameBook, the digital scorecard introduced by Onside Sports that is introducing a new dimension to tournaments.
Five of the 18 categories were voted by the public, with a little more than 10,000 votes being polled, while 14 judges, comprising some of the most respected names in the industry, deliberated for over 18 hours to find the other winners. As many as 156 submissions were received, an increase of eight per cent over last year.
Among other big winners on the night were Dubai Golf, who manage the two courses that won the Best Golf Course Over and Under Dh500 – Majlis course of Emirates Golf Club and the Greg Norman-designed Almouj Golf in Muscat, Oman; while Troon Golf managed Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and The Els Club walked away with the honour of Best Overall Club Experience, Golf Course Maintenance Team of the Year and the Best F&B Team of the Year awards respectively.
As for the events, Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship once again scored over the other high-quality tournaments in the region by winning the Best Live Experience at a Professional Event, while Qatar Open Amateur Golf Championship at Doha Golf Club was named the Amateur Tournament of the Year and Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge the Corporate Tournament of the Year.
Chris May, CEO of Dubai Golf, said: “I think I speak for the industry when I say that the MEGAs is one of the most anticipated event for us every year. The golf industry in the Middle East is doing some wonderful things and we’d like MEGAs and Sport360° for highlighting what we do.”
The 2016 edition of the MEGAs was sponsored by Singha Corporation, Dubai Sports City, Hydroturf and One & Only Royal Mirage.