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Teeing off

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The new Velaa Golf Academy by José María Olazábal on the exclusive Velaa Private Island features an idyllic nine-hole par 3 course and high-tech swing studio.The challenging layout is specifically designed for golfers to practise the Spanish champion’s famously accurate short and mid-iron game – featuring six immaculate greens guarded by bunkers and a lake, with nine tees from a range of distances between 65 and 180 yards. Olazábal, who has achieved the highest accolades in the world of golf, was selected by Velaa Private Island’s ownership as the designer of the unique deluxe academy that will take centre stage in the island’s array of recreational attractions.

“Golfers can hit all the shots imaginable, from mid-irons to wedges and short-game. In short, practise in paradise,” Olazábal says. “I also want the experience to be appealing for both young and old, beginners and experts. I hope visitors to the island will be inspired by what we have created and the experience enhances their enjoyment of the game I’m so passionate about.”

The facility headlines an array of recreational attractions at the prestigious new private island resort of 45 private pool villas in the northern part of Noonu Atoll, just north of Malé.

Velaa Private Island fulfills a dream by Jiri Smejc and his wife Radka to create “the most perfect beyond luxury place on earth”.

“I’ve worked on some remarkable projects, but what they have created here is simply awe-inspiring,” says Olazábal, on his visit to officially open the academy.

Professional instruction is personalised with ‘one-on-one’ sessions at the indoor swing studio, which is fitted with all the latest gadgets for golfers to refine their game. State-of-the-art electronic equipment includes a Flightscope simulator and latest high-speed cameras. The course comprises six immaculately conditioned green complexes; all surrounded by uniquely shaped bunkering and eye-catching water features. Nine tee options give guests a range of hole choices at a variety of lengths, with the option for guests to book private tuition and reserve the academy for exclusive use at select times.

“Olazábal’s distinct style and passion for the game was part of the reason he was chosen as our designer. Velaa is one of the world’s most distinguished destinations and stands out from traditional resorts. We wanted to get the match between what the island stands for and the character of the golf course. Renowned for his crisp ball striking and fierce touch around the greens, the golf course personifies Olazábal and is befitting of Velaa,” commented Hans Cauchi, general manager and executive director, Velaa Private Island, Maldives.

Regarded as one of the world’s most exclusive experiences, quintessentially Maldivian with uncompromised luxury, the paradise island has already made its mark on international high-end travellers. Operated by renowned international golf management leaders, Troon Golf, Velaa Private Island is committed to delivering only the finest golf experience for its guests.

“Velaa is without doubt one of the finest developments we have ever seen and represents the definition of luxury perfectly,” comments Bruce Glasco, senior VP and managing director, Troon International Operations. “We have all been impressed by Olazábal and his team’s unwavering attention to detail throughout the design phase and have no doubt that it has the potential to attract guests from far and wide. To have such an inspirational figure as the designer matches the unequivocal commitment shown by the ownership in delivering a resort destined for iconic status,” he adds.

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