Damien Scott Proudly Flying The Irish Flag At Al Hamra

If you are looking for a teaching professional the epitome of all that is good with Irish golf, then look no further than Damien Scott.

Scott is now into his second year as Head Teaching Professional at the Al Hamra GC in the UAE emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

If Al Hamra sounds familiar, it should as it just recently again proudly hosted the DP World Tour and for a third occasion in 12 months, on a stunning golf located just over an hour’s drive north of Dubai.

It was the late stage of 2021 when Scott was working under then head professional Neil McNulty at the Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Resort near Cavan in his native Ireland and, as Scott explains, his career would change unexpectedly.

Damien Scott proudly Flying The Irish Flag At Al Hamra

“I was sitting at home one dark October evening”, he said smiling.  “I was on the Instagram page of a good friend of mine and fellow teaching professional Amy Condon, who I read was she was moving on from Els Club in Dubai to the Abu Dhabi club to coach.

“It got me thinking I have the experience to also be coaching out in Dubai, so I then went onto the PGA  website and noticed Al Hamra was advertising for a teaching pro. Three weeks later I was on a flight from Ireland to here in the UAE.

“It was as quick as that, and it’s still hard to believe.  I just don’t know how I ended-up here at Al Hamra but I’m here, and very much enjoying it.”

It was in November 2021 when Scott first walked-up the steps leading into the Al Hamra clubhouse, and then after some six months at the first half of 2022, there was the summer break before he returned in September 2022, and where he will be in residence till June in a few months time.

Quite bizarrely, and it’s much like the ole No. 272 bus that you’ve waited so long and then two turn-up at once, that Scott not only had the offer to work at Al Hamra but then within the space of just 12-hours, he found himself being offered teaching roles at two other clubs.

“One of those was from a club quite close to home and the other from my old boss, Gavin Byrne”, said Scott.

“I just felt for myself, and for my own personal growth, that it would be better for my career to accept the position here at Al Hamra. It’s been a good move and I am enjoying being out here”.

Scott singles out special praise for Gavin Byrne, formerly head pro at Farnham Estate but now Head PGA Professional of Laytown & Bettystown Golf Club.

“I am indebted to Gavin for where I am now in my career, as when I first met him he was the Head Pro at Farnham Estate near Cavan, and he indicated to me at the time there was not a position available, but he mentioned to me to hang-on a few months which I did,” said Scott.

“A place did become available, so I undertook my training under Gavin.  Gavin was very much a mentor to me. I even asked him for his opinion before taking my current role!”

Stunning overhead shot of the Al Hamra course

Scott soon took to his role at Al Hamra, the main city in the UAE emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, and about around an hour-or-so drive north on highway E311 from Dubai.

And in listening to him over a bite to eat, and also watching him interact with those all about the Al Hamra club, you didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to quickly realise why his services must have been in demand back home in his beloved Ireland, as he enjoys a very engaging demeanor while not in any form sounding as though he’s arrived at Al Harma to rewrite golf’s teaching manuals.

Yes, it’s no surprise that he fitted in so well, so quickly at Al Hamra, and you could argue in a nice way: Ireland’s loss, Al Hamra’s gain!

“Since taking up the role here at Al Hamra, I have got to further develop my own skills working with two or three other pros also from overseas, so that’s been a big plus”, he said.

“So, it’s been rewarding to see how others handle the role of a teaching professional.  It’s been a great experience.

“Another good aspect is that Al Hamra is run by Troon Golf, who manage many golf courses in this region of the world, so there are plenty of job opportunities where you can progress your career”.

Let me say here that having visited so many clubhouses in the course of my golf-reporting career, I was struck on a first visit to Al Harma was the number of ‘social activity’ notices about the clubhouse that had me immediately thinking: ‘Now, here is a golf club that is very member orientated’.

Ireland’s Damien Scott – Head Teaching Professional at Al Hamra

That was also noticeable in heading to the practice range with Gaelic football posts in place at a 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position as you look down the range. So a visit to the range has a double use rather than just belting golf balls.

“The club boasts a great social calendar with a lot of Irish, and many of them are school teachers working here in Ras Al Khaimah, and many who play Gaelic football so I found myself joining them”, said Scott.  “It’s been a great way to meet more people, as I am on my own, it’s helped greatly in that regard.

“The club doesn’t have a huge number of members, but we do have a teaching academy that hosts a men’s, ladies and junior section.  There are about 30 ladies in the club who I teach, and that’s up from 12 when I first arrived.  There’s also a strong junior program. In this regard, I work alongside the Emirates Golf Federation as we have six schools and the children come once a week for eight weeks learning about the game.  There are about 120 of them and they have never played golf before, and it’s just so rewarding seeing them hit balls and so on.

“We’re also involved with RAK Academy, who have 2 sessions weekly.

“It’s busy with the group classes currently managing about 15”, said Scott.  “Though it’s all about growing the game.  It’s just amazing”.

At the time of chatting with Scott, he was heading off the next morning with five other Gaelic teams, including three ladies teams and two men’s sides, to Dubai to play in a series of matches.

While the position at Al Hamra is permanent, anyone who knows how hot a Middle East can get, knows it’s ‘you could fry an egg on the bonnet of your car’ temperatures not conducive to playing golf.  It means that come June, Scott gets to return home to Ireland thus allowing him to catch-up with family and friends, and also tee-up in Ireland PGA competition.

“I managed to play four to five Irish PGA events last year and am looking do a few more this coming Irish summer”, he said.

“The PGA tour we have back home in Ireland is pretty strong and has a few former European Tour players such as Simon Thornton and Damien McGrane to mention a couple, competing against them and similar is difficult.

“I didn’t take up the game till I was 20, not having played any competitive golf, so it’s nice when I am back home to have a score-card in your hand”.

On the back of Scott mentioning Irish PGA competition, and ahead of formally sitting down with him, I undertook some research and began reading an article in the Irish Independent by good friend and colleague, Brian Keogh reporting Scott alongside East Cork’s David Ryan on the first day in August last year carded two-under par 70 to win the Brooks Timber & Building Supplies Balcarrick Jubilee Pro-Am at the Balcarrick Golf Club.

Damien Scott (r) and East Cork’s David Ryan win the 2022 Brooks Timber & Building Supplies Balcarrick Jubilee Pro-Am at the Balcarrick Golf Club.

Scott and Ryan tamed the mixed weather the best, winning by a shot from Glasson’s Colm Moriarty, Kilkenny’s Jimmy Bolger, Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick, Clontarf’s Eamonn Brady and Craddockstown’s Glen Robinson.

There were only five paragraphs, no quotes in the article but I got a delayed ‘scoop’ from Scott as to what really happened that Monday the 1st of August with him revealing: “You can’t mention that as I was playing well. I’d have a few nice practice rounds of six or seven-under along with a couple of four-unders, and then my form deserted me.

“We’d had a captain’s day the day prior so I was encouraged to go out for a few beers (smiling). So, I said: ‘I’ll be grand as I have a 2pm tee-time’ but then I woke-up realising I was not as good at drinking as Shane Lowry (now laughing).  I was feeling it and a bit worried about the amateur players who would be in our group, and who had paid to play with me!.

“Well, I went out and started birdie, birdie, birdie (now laughing). I was more worried about hitting the ball than the score, though I hit my irons well that day, as the conditions were not easy.

I am going to wind-up this article brutally blunt here and that is to say also in my golf-reporting career I have met, in the course of visiting the tournament pro shops, plenty of pros who’ve had what I describe a personality by-pass.  Just no sense of how to engage!

If in reading this far, you should by now have gained a whisper of a notion Damien Scott is not your normal teaching pro.

In fact, he was so engaging we could have stayed where we were in the comfort of the Al Hamra clubhouse ‘chewing the fat’ all afternoon but he had a teaching lesson he needed to host, and I had a tee-time to keep.

Of course, Scott is not the first and only Irish-born teaching pro working overseas, and definitely won’t be the last, but what he’s brought to Al Hamra in his role is something the Irish PGA and all those involved in Ireland golf can be proud of.

Keep up the great work, Damien and so good chatting with you.


I cannot sign off this article without revealing the story of the day Al Hamra’s new head pro played alongside 2023 European Ryder Cup captain, Nicolas Colsaerts.

It was earlier this year in the pro-am ahead of the RAK Championship with Colsaerts among seven other European Ryder Cup stars, including fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington and Versailles winning captain, Thomas Bjorn.

European Ryder Cup vice-captain Nicolas Colsaerts (left) and with Damien Scott (second right) during this year’s RAK Championship pro-am

“It was an amazing fun day playing in Nic’s company, and I really enjoyed playing alongside him”, said Scott.

“Though I have to get it in print that I put it past him a couple of times, so I was happy with that (laughing).  But what a nice guy”.

So, did he reveal any Ryder Cup team secrets?

“No, there were no secrets revealed.  I was just looking for some Ryder Cup tickets”, said Scott again laughing.

“Yes, he did say he will try and fix me up.

“We also had a little sit-down after the pro-am with Padraig, as well.  He gave us a great sight in how we could tighten-up certain holes and make the run-off areas a little more challenging.  He had talked on TV, as he walked around the course, about the fairways being the narrowest but the Tour had brought in the fairways while the rough was also up from last year.

“I had met Padraig about 10-years ago in Portugal while I met him and Ronan last year, as they played the event. “I also met John Murphy and Gary Hurley who were competing, so it was nice supporting the Irish”

“Then on the Sunday night after the tournament ended, we had great fun with the Hojgaard twin brothers.  We played the 18th under floodlights and had a few cocktails, so it was a great ending to an amazing week. Looking forward to next year!”

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