The Sixth of October for Development and Investment (SODIC) sales center was abuzz with activity Tuesday afternoon. The stunning glass complex, with water fixtures and ultra hip decor was teeming with Egypt’s top golfers who came to see Greg Norman.
Norman, also known as “The Great White Shark, is an Australian professional golfer and entrepreneur who ranked number one in the world for several years throughout the 80s and 90s. He was in town last week to check on the progress of his first golf course in the country, being designed by his company Great White Shark Enterprises.
“Cairo is such a massive city with urban scroll, it was automatic that [a company] like SODIC would come along and capitalize on this, Norman told Daily News Egypt.
“Golf is logical amenity that comes with residential communities, he adds.
An amenity it is indeed – almost all the houses built around the 18-hole signature golf course in SODIC’s Allegria have been sold. The prices of these houses have tripled since the launch of the development in spring 2007.
The high-end gated community is located on the corner of Sixth of October City and the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road.
As he walked into the sales center, golf fanatics queued up to take pictures with the celebrity. Norman greeted them with his charismatic smile, taking time to shake their hands and autograph their caps.
The Shark’s success on the course earned himself a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame, and just as big a name off the greens.
As a businessman, Norman is primarily involved in golf and the lifestyle that comes with it – from clothes to turf grasses – as well as other leisure-related endeavors such as wine and dining.
The event began and Norman was introduced to the media by former news anchor Esmat El-Nahas, who is now of part of the SODIC’s “dream team, as they are often called due to their good looks.
He talked about golf tourism, development and how he’s recently picked up tennis as a hobby thanks to his new wife: “My bride Chrissie, he says pointing to the front row at none other than former tennis champion Chris Evans.
A topic raised at the press conference was that of water scarcity.
Last week opposition Anwar Esmat El-Sadat claimed that Egypt’s water is being wasted on golf courses.
But Norman is one step ahead in the game. As chairman of the Environmental Institute for Golf s Advisory Council, water conservation is the number one concern on his golf courses.
“The grass we use now is paspalum grass, which doesn’t need fresh water so you are not using up high quality fresh water, he told Daily News Egypt.
On the contrary, he said, sometimes golf courses help the environment because the greenness has a cooling affect on the atmosphere.
“Greg reflects our vision from an environmental point of view, says SODIC’s Executive Director of Strategy and Corporate Development Karim Khalifa.
“We are working very hard in all of our designs of golf courses right through to the architecture of the houses and the buildings to follow a green philosophy, he adds.
Also taking place was SODIC signing of an agreement with Troon Golf, a leading luxury brand golf company that will be responsible for maintaining, promoting and managing Allegria’s golf course.