Teeing up with Ray Stopforth

Muscat Hills’ Director of Golf, Ray Stopforth, shares his hopes of putting Oman on the world golfing map and the fulfilment of his dreams of playing professional golf

 

Whether the traditional perception that golf is a ‘gentleman’s game’ holds true today or not, in Oman, where the first grassed course came about six years or so ago, it is very much a gentleman’s game. Even people helming the affairs of the golf courses are… Ray Stopforth, Director of Golf at Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club, is a perfect example.

Actively involved in the general management of the Golf Department at Muscat Hills, his main concern is to foster the game here, including growing the business and the game of golf locally, while also internationally raising awareness that Oman is a golfing destination. “It is exciting to see how golf has developed and grown in the Sultanate since we opened our golf course for general play in January 2010,” he states.

Muscat Hills Golf Course, which holds the distinction of being Oman’s first 18-hole grassed golf course, is gearing up to brighten the economic horizon of the country with a host of projects, including Phase 2 of the housing project, which just got completed. Explaining about the plans in the offing, Stopforth pointed out that Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club is going through a transition period with various projects in different stages of finishing, while continuing its efforts to grow the game of golf in the country at school and university level.

From a personal career perspective, he is currently studying through the Club Managers Association of Europe to achieve Club Managers Certification, which, he notes, is an achievement recognised worldwide. “I hope to accomplish my certification by the end of 2017, once I have attended the Club Managers Association of America, World Conference in Orlando in February 2017,” he adds.

His future plan is to continue working on growing Muscat Hills as a business and golfing venue, through the Golf Academy. And that means, “growing the game of golf in the Sultanate of Oman at schools and universities getting the youth of the country involved at grass roots level,” he states.

The prospects are bright, he contends, as Muscat Hills, along with the Ministry of Tourism continues to promote Oman as a golfing destination internationally. Further, talking about the general expectations, he makes a note of the various projects, which are in different stages of finishing and starting, like the start of construction for the new Intercontinental Hotel at Muscat Hills. “The future at Muscat Hills golf course and housing estate looks very promising locally and internationally, promoting investors’ confidence in the country as an ITC project, which ticks all the boxes,” he states.

A proud family man, Stopforth and his wife became grandparents a year ago. “Our first grandson, Philip, is an absolute bundle of joy,” he states, adding, contentedly, that both his daughter and son have successful working careers.

 

Up Close & Personal With Ray Stopforth

The home I grew up in…

Was loving…a close-knit family in a small town called Gwelo, in a country, which is now known as Zimbabwe.

When I was a child I wanted to…

Be a golfer and play as a professional all over the world. Part of that dream came true.

The moment that changed me forever

Losing my mother at a very young age in a car accident and then my father, some years later, to illness.

My greatest inspirations in life…

My wife Brenda; my daughter Janine; and my son Warren.

My heroes…

Are my eldest brother Ian, my sister Shan and my youngest brother Mark, who sadly is not with us anymore. RIP.

If I could change one thing about myself…

Being more patient in achieving set goals!

I dream of…

A future where family and friends are happy and content.

What I see when I look in the mirror…

A person who wants to make a difference in the chosen career.

It’s not fashionable but I like…

Old music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

My greatest regret…

Is not making the best of my chances in life when presented, which could have influenced the outcome of my future and my career.

You may not know it but I’m no good at…

Baking!

You may not know it but I’m very good at…

Cooking!

If I have time to myself…

I like to work out in the gym!

My house is…

My sanctuary; a private domain where I spend time relaxing with my wife!

My favourite haunt/holiday destination…

Singapore.

My favourite weekend spot in Oman…

Muscat Hills Golf Course!

Five things I like about Oman…

Golf, beaches, wadis, mountain range and the people.

A book that changed me…

‘The unwritten laws of business’ by W. J. King – Revision and Additions by James Skakoon.

On top of my wish/bucket list is…

Orlando, Florida, USA!

My success mantra is…

Quality time with my family!

In 10 years’ time, I hope to be…

Healthy and happily retired, enjoying life!


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