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The grass is greener at Jumeirah

World-renowned agronomist ensures better playing conditions at Jumeirah Golf Estates

Nakheel aims to set the maintenance and playing conditioning standards for all golf courses in Dubai following the announcement that it will work with world-renowned agronomist Terry Buchen, certified golf course superintendent and master green keeper, on its Jumeirah Golf Estates development.

Buchen is a third party independent consulting agronomist for Golf Agronomy International, based in Virginia, USA, and will be the consulting golf course agronomist for the Fire, Earth, Water and Wind golf courses, created by Nakheel's lead golf course designer, Greg Norman.

Buchen has personally consulted on more than 120 new, renovated and restored golf course projects worldwide and has personally grown-in 13 new golf course projects as a golf course manager, prior to starting his own agronomy consulting business. He is a PGA Tour Agronomist and Advance Tournament Official, responsible for preparing courses four to eight weeks in advance for tournaments on the men's tour in the US. He is also one of only 41 master greenkeepers in the world, awarded by the British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association.

"I aim to provide the best agronomic and playing conditioning standards possible and to set the maintenance and playing conditioning standards in Dubai for all other golf courses to follow," Buchen said.

"The overall temperature extremes and weather conditions are quite a challenge. Obviously, warm season turf grasses will be used, which thrive growing during the desert heat during the summertime months. Our goals and objectives are to provide tournament-like playing conditions on a year-round basis," he added.

Buchen has already reviewed and provided his recommendations on the entire golf course development process.

"The Jumeirah Golf Estates golf courses will be using treated sewage effluent water for all irrigation purposes and will use natural fertilisers and soil amendments whenever possible to be very environmentally friendly," he explained.

"Chemicals will be used only when needed and will be applied with no harm to the environment. Leaving the surrounding native desert flora as natural as possible is a prime objective."

The environmental approach to all of Nakheel golf's projects is unique to the company, according to Dina Al Jaflah, Jumeirah Golf Estates' general manager. "Throughout the planning process, Nakheel has aimed to improve and heighten indigenous flora and fauna while researching ways to minimise water consumption at each course," she said.

"In this day and age, there is a huge onus on the developer and the management teams to protect and enhance the environment of a golf course and its surrounding area, and this is one of the underpinning elements for each course at Jumeirah Golf Estates."

Following the recent site visit of course designer Norman, Jumeirah Golf Estates is on schedule for the completion of its first two courses, Fire and Earth, by late 2007.

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