The Desert Sleeps
High atop the rocky jebel that is Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the eye may be captured by the glint of morning dew in verdant green grasses of the Rolling Hills golf course. This beautifully manicured 18-hole course underwent construction in 2000, and since about 2004 the Rolling Hills Golf Club, with a roster of over 500 members, has hosted world class players and events. This masterpiece came from humble beginnings. Located only a few acres to the north, it began its life as a sand and oil golf course that was pioneered in the 1940s. For years it was all the local golfers knew until rumblings of the new construction circulated in the community.
By 2019, the sleepy and dusty area of Dhahran's old sand and oil golf course had become home only to foxes, scorpions, and the occasional mountain biker until it became an oasis for disc golfers. With the support of Dhahran Recreation, a cadre of closeted disc golfers (Tim Polega, Jason Sexton, Jake Bury, and Jon Catuccio) led by long-time Dhahran resident, Mark Stenov, secured the installation of nine Mach X disc golf baskets and disc golf officially arrived in the Eastern Province!
This area’s rich geological history is not understated. The ancient sandstone outcrops perch above the expanse of the city of Khobar and the coastline of the Arabian Gulf stretching as far as the eye can see. The jebels form one bookend of new epoch, and the relics of Dhahran’s golfing pioneers still remain today. Standing atop these vistas, the elevated tee pads have been eroded by the desert winds, and one can look out across a sea of faded fairways, littered with bunkers that mark the old course like a shipwreck. As you wander through the acacia trees, you pass old tee signs with blurry glyphs, and sun-roasted golf balls peak from the sands. Enter the Dhahran Disc Golf Club in 2019 founded by a group of frisbee and disc golf lovers who have since expanded the course and the sport here in Saudi Arabia. Dhahran Sand & Oil disc golf course is the only 18-hole disc golf course on the Arabian Peninsula.