The final design of Thomson Perrett & Lobb (TPL) to open – NEWGIZA in Egypt’s capital Cairo – has been described as “instantly one of the elite courses in the Middle East and North Africa”.
The golf course architecture firm – comprising the late Peter Thomson, the five-time Open champion, and his fellow Australians Ross Perrett and Tim Lobb – began the project in 2005. NEWGIZA is located five miles from the Pyramids, which are visible from the tee of arguably the new course’s outstanding hole, the par-3 4th.
One of Europe’s leading golf travel writers Chris Bertram played NEWGIZA soon after it opened and believes it is already one of the finest courses in the region. “NEWGIZA overshadows any Spanish resort course I’ve played and compares favourably with almost every course in the Algarve – it’s up there with somewhere like Monte Rei,” said Bertram, who compiled Golf World’s Top 100s for 10 years and now edits National Club Golfer’s travel section and ranking lists.
“It surpasses anything in Belek except for possibly Carya, which also happens to be a TPL design, and is better than anything I’ve played elsewhere in Egypt and Morocco. It is instantly one of the elite courses in the Middle East and North Africa by virtue of the variety of holes and consistent entertainment. And even early in its life, it is immaculately conditioned.”
While NEWGIZA’s quarry setting gives the course a striking atmosphere, it added to the difficulty during construction.
“Working on this NEWGIZA course has been an incredible journey from complex design work, challenging construction conditions to seeing the course mature into a grown-up golf experience,” said Tim Lobb, a Partner of design firm TPL.
“We have been blessed with a wonderful client who supported our ideas, passionate construction teams and incredible greenkeeping staff to produce the course we see today.”
Ross Perrett, Partner of TPL added: “Since first walking the site in 2005 we knew we had the potential to do a unique course in this quarry setting just out of Cairo. Working hard with the client and development team we planned a course that would explore a lot of the site, including views of the Pyramids and give a context to the local cultural landscape.”
NEWGIZA is a championship-length course characterised by often dramatic changes in elevation, water hazards and huge undulating greens. There is no rough, with landscaped sandy waste areas lining the fairways, and the only way to lose a ball is in lakes. On and around the huge greens, however, it is a constant challenge, with significant movement in every surface.
Renowned golf course photographer Kevin Murray was commissioned to shoot the course during the Alps Tour event that it staged at the beginning of April.
“To set a course against one of the true wonders of the world is a brave and daring proposition,” says Sussex-based Murray. “The vision to craft a layout that sits naturally in the imposing terrain of NEWGIZA is a skill not many are blessed with. From a playable and visual perspective, the design delivers at the very pinnacle of great golf course architecture”. “I was very proud to be chosen as the first golf photographer to capture the brilliance and majesty of NEWGIZA,” Murray added.
The course is part of a huge 680 hectare development at NEWGIZA in the south-west of the city that includes upscale housing, sports arena, hotels, schools, universities and a vibrant community hub.