A guide to the best deals available for golf courses in the UAE over the summer months.
Speak to any PGA Professional in the UAE and ask them to name one male player they consider the most promising in the country. Chances are, all of them will have the same name – Rayhan Thomas.
The 15-year-old, a ninth grade student at St Mary’s Catholic School, is the undisputed No1 amateur golfer in the UAE. He wrapped up the crown playing just seven events, winning two of them and not finishing outside the top-five in any.
And then there is his fantastic record in the Dubai Golf Trophy, the season-ending Ryder Cup-style showdown featuring the top-16 professionals and amateurs in the UAE. Not only has Rayhan qualified for the team for the past three years, he has incredibly won eight out of his nine matches.
At an age when most children are yet to decide on their future profession, there are no such issues for Rayhan. He has already made up his mind to make golf his profession.
Having fallen in love with the game at first sight at the age of nine, Rayhan has his future charted out.
“Golf is now the No1 priority for me. It was studies earlier, but now it is golf,” said Rayhan.
— Worldwide Golf (@WorldwideGolf) May 23, 2015
“I have spoken a lot to Justin Parsons, who is my coach, and my parents. I am just 15 right now, and we will take a decision on turning pro depending on how I am playing after two or three years.
“We have kept the options open. If my game is good enough, I would try the Asian Tour or the European Tour Qualifying School. If not, I will try and get to some college on a golf scholarship and play college golf.”
It’s been a remarkable journey for someone who started playing at the age of nine and is now a +3 handicapper. His development has been so good, his father, John Thomas, is considering taking him out of school and starting him on home school so that he can concentrate on his golf.
“St Mary’s has been very kind to him, but it is becoming more and more difficult to take days off for his golf tournaments. We are seriously thinking of starting home schooling for him. He has been a good student, but I think he has already made up his mind to make golf his profession,” said John.
Rayhan Thomas has become the first golfer to win a treble of Dubai Creek, Emirates Amateur and EGC Club… http://t.co/ecgNtcRdRP
— Golf Digest ME (@GolfDigestME) March 29, 2015
Rayhan is out on a journey of exploration to the UK this summer. He then plans to play all the MENA Golf Tour events later in the year.
“I am going to the UK to play a few events there. My last event is the British Boys, which is at Royal Birkdale. I am pretty pumped up for that one especially,” he said.
“It’s going to be hard for me, simply because playing here, I am not used to walking. And there, we have to walk and carry our own bags. I will have to play 36 holes on certain days, and I am sure there will be wind and rain every day.
“The fitness aspect of the game is something that I have worked a lot on recently with Claudine Foong at the Butch Harmon School of Golf. She has helped me understand how to prevent injuries and how to become stronger and flexible.”
The World Corporate Golf Challenge is the largest of its kind in the world and is the brain child of former military man Stephen Rutter.
Rutter has seen the event grow rapidly since 2013 to encorporate 50 countries worldwide, with qualifiying rounds for each region culminating in the final in Portugal. The winners of the regional tournaments enjoy an all-expences paid trip to Europe to compete in the main event.