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Fry/Straka to unveil opening nine at Yas Acres in Abu Dhabi

Yas Acres Abu Dhabi

The first nine holes at Yas Acres, the latest original work from Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, will open hn September in what stands to be a decade-long smorgasbord of Middle Eastern golf course development.

A sister property to the renowned Yas Links, Yas Acres was developed by Aldar Properties as yet another entertainment attraction on this man-made island in the Persian Gulf. The clubhouse will also open this Fall, according Fry/Straka partner Dana Fry. The second nine is planned but construction has not yet begun:

“I have not set foot on the Yas Acres site since March of 2020, due to Covid, but this is why we, as a firm, insist on creating the most detailed construction and grading documents in the business,” Fry says. “We prefer to be on site, of course. However, a skilled contractor can look at our plans and effectively build a golf course to specifications. Additionally, we had talented shapers on-site who would use live video to walk us though construction progress. That’s the whole point of construction documents and having a strong on-site team in place — something that can get lost if too much emphasis is placed on freelancing. I’m hoping to travel to Abu Dhabi in time for the opening this Fall.”

A naturally formed peninsula

Yas Island had been a naturally formed peninsula, until the UAE government separated the sandy expanse from the mainland by constructing a man-made, salt-water channel.

It was planned as an “entertainment” island, and so it has become. Today it’s home to a dozen hotels and beach resorts, Ferrari World, a Warner Brothers Studio theme park, Yas Waterworld, Sea World (opening 2022) and Yas Links, opened in 2010 and ranked by Golf Digest #48 among its Top 100 Courses in the World.

Fry says:

Yas Links is clearly the best golf course in the Middle East. We’re confident that Yas Acres, when completed, will represent a truly worthy companion track,The entire island is pure sand, and that is catnip to any architect.”

The holes interact with the ridge

All the holes interact directly with this ridge, via tee boxes, fairways or green sites. That sort of elevation also allows for lots of running water and streams. The design called for a substantial desert vegetation of the entire course, but especially the ridge. Without that, it’ woulddifficult to make a landform that big look natural.

Yas Links is the first Middle Eastern commission from Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, which also has projects underway in Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and several states across the U.S.

Before the Chinese government effectively banned all new course construction, in 2014, Fry/Straka designed and built seven highly regarded projects in China, including Qizhong Garden GC in Shanghai.

Read more: Yas Acres

Jason Straka (left) and Dana Fry