The 27-hole Sokhna Golf Club complex was officially established in January of 2015 when the eighteen holes at the El Ein Bay resort were amalgamated with the 9-hole layout at the Little Venice Golf Resort.
The main 18-hole layout, a Galalah Touristic Investments Company development, and the Little Venice Golf Resort (which is part of the Hassan Allam properties portfolio) occupy properties that are immediately adjacent to each other so it was almost inevitable they would combine resources at some point to form the one impressive golf facility.
El Ein Bay was designed by the respected firm of Thomson Perret & Lobb and constructed by King Golf International – the company that built the Nicklaus course at Samanah in Morocco and Greg Norman’s Allegria – using platinum paspalum grass supplied by Atlas Turf International.
The three par threes at holes 5, 8 and 13 offer great variety, measuring 167 yards, 203 yards and 131 yards respectively from the back markers. Short par fours on the back nine at the 10th and 15th catch the eye but the star of the show is the 427-yard 6th, played to an island green where anything other than pinpoint accuracy will result in disaster.
TPL principal Tim Lobb says of the new course: “Ein Sokhna is a resort town about an hour from Cairo – the closest beach to the city – and is frequented mostly by Cairo residents and expats, so we have designed the course to be playable by the widest possible range of golfers. It’s not the longest course, but I believe it will provide a wide variety of shot making options, whatever your level of ability.
Despite being the shortest par three on the course, the 13th hole still packs quite a punch. The water carry over the lake to a green surrounded by bunkers gives the golfer a lot to think about on this short iron tee shot. A back left pin position is the most difficult with a large mounding protecting the entry to a green that’s not overly contoured so a birdie putt is very achievable here.”
The former 9-hole Little Venice course opened for play in 2010 and it came from the drawing board of architect John Sanford, who has worked on a number of golf projects in Egypt. Before the merger of the two layouts, John was kind enough to provide us with the following exclusive quote about his design:
“I would say the most difficult hole is the 2nd, a long par four with a large bunker on the left side of the landing area and native desert on the right. Longer hitters can “thread the needle” between the hazards but the fairway is pinched at about 250 meters. The safe shot is a three metal off the tee but that will render a longer second to a perched green with a small lake on the right.
My favourite hole is the driveable par four 5th. Played predominantly down wind and with plenty of roll on the fairway, this hole is reachable off the tee with a nice draw. The green is relatively small but open in front to the running shot. The smart player will lay up off the tee and hit a short iron to the green for a potential birdie or easy par.”