The Faldo course at the Emirates Golf Club, Dubai.

LIGHTING has the power to revolutionise the field of sports through its major impact on venues, says the UK-based Abacus, which recently saw the completion of the UAE’s first fully floodlit 18-hole golf course – the Faldo course at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.

“The launch of night golf is the first of its kind in the UAE, bringing the golf course to life with the very latest in lighting technology,” says John Anthony, export sales director of Abacus, a world leader in the supply and installation of exterior lighting systems.
“The floodlit course is the perfect destination for players wanting to enjoy the sport and unwind after a long day’s work and for spectators, a great venue to socialise, which is particularly important in this region with the summer heat and long working hours,” he adds.
The particular type of lighting used at a sporting facility makes a big difference to the player experience, particularly for fast-paced sports with small balls, such as cricket or tennis, according to Anthony.


“For the Faldo course, lighting has been arranged in such a way that the golfer is never looking directly into the light. The lighting is aimed in the direction of play – always coming from behind the golfer. Lux levels of lighting at Faldo are the highest in the world giving greater illumination,” he says.
Light comes from three directions, eliminating shadows which can be distracting and make the ball hard to see.
For this project, Abacus has used the Challenger series of floodlights – designed and developed by the company – to give high performance with lower environmental impact. “The Challenger 1 floodlight used on the Faldo course, offers flat glass technology, internal baffles and a variety of beam distributions. This means that the light goes where it should – on the course, and is not lost upwards or outwards to affect the night sky or the residents and players,” he says.
Elaborating on the company’s scope of work, Anthony says: “The client wanted a proven lighting system and also a proven lighting company and Abacus met both criteria. Dubai Golf needed to know that they were installing the very best lighting system to help draw the evening golfers and exceed players’ expectations. They also wanted a modern, low light pollution system to ensure that they were considerate members of the community.

Dubai Rugby Sevens Stadium ... another of Abacus’ projects.

“The project requirement ran from lighting design, product manufacture and supervision of the installation programme, Abacus were on hand in Dubai throughout the installation process. Once the installation was complete, we also commissioned the lighting system.
“Dubai Golf was confident in their choice and as we had worked with them on several previous projects and they knew our capabilities. They knew Abacus could deliver a world-class system in the UAE from their base in the UK.”
Dubai Golf, a government organisation that promotes golf to the world’s golfing market, manages three of Dubai’s internationally renowned golf courses; Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club and Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis and Faldo courses, allowing golfers of all levels to enjoy the distinct and different challenges presented by each of the championship standard courses.
Over the past three decades, Abacus has built a reputation as the leading sports lighting specialist, managing projects of various sizes.
 “Lighting can make a huge difference to the earning potential of a stadium or sporting facility and also improve the appearance of a game on television,” Anthony says.
There is a big difference in the lighting requirements for different sports, he says. “Fast-moving sports with smaller balls (like cricket) require higher lighting levels than, say, football. This means players are safe, they can see the ball, they don’t get glare, and that spectators and cameras can track the ball.
Lighting levels are usually set by the governing body for that sport to ensure players are safe as well as for providing excellent spectator experiences. Typically, different leagues in the same sport will require different levels of lighting. Abacus is always fully aware of these levels and can guide clients through them.
A good example of this is the new British FA (Football Association) light level changes, which will come into effect in 2013, he says.
Commenting on the latest trends in commercial lighting, Anthony says: “Beyond doubt, the shift to LED technology is changing the face of commercial lighting. In line with the increased demand, Abacus is launching a range of LED-based products in the autumn of 2010.
“Sports floodlighting is a way of using LED technology as the performance levels are so much higher. The main driver for sports lighting is low light pollution and excellent colour rendition for broadcast.
“Low light pollution systems are also a necessity in commercial lighting, and products used need to incorporate this into their design – as we have with our Challenger range. Community consultation is also important to ensure that the surrounding residents are part of the process and their needs are met. With rapid technological evolution, the lighting industry is increasingly able to minimise the environmental impact without compromising on quality.
“The lighting that we have designed for the Faldo golf course contains an efficient energy management system, which will allow for a minimum energy output saving of 14 per cent when compared to other golf course lighting systems. This system allows us to manage the lighting in stages – that is, we can turn off the lights on holes that are not in use. In addition, our lamps are designed to use 10 to 14 per cent less energy than other lamps. Standard lamps have a higher energy output at the beginning of their life span which is designed to compensate for light fading in the later part of the lamp’s life – our bulbs have been designed to use the exact amount of energy required for the level of lighting,” he adds.
Abacus has been part of the development of the Middle East region, providing lighting for ports, airports, sports facilities and industrial complexes since the 1970s.
Some of its prestigious projects include Dubai Creek Golf Course, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai (one of the largest floodlighting projects ever undertaken by Abacus anywhere in the world), Dubai Rugby Stadium, Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, Al Hamra Golf Course, all in the UAE; Doha Golf Course and Al Saad Stadium, Qatar; Khalifa Bin Salman Port, Hidd in Bahrain; Port Said in Egypt; and Yemen Stadium.
Airport projects include Luxor, Abu Simbel, Helwan, Asyut, Aswan, Alexandria, Siwa, and Sharm El Sheikh airports, all in Egypt, and Al Ain International Airport and Sharjah Airport, both in the UAE.
On the most challenging jobs undertaken by the company, Anthony says: “The Lord’s Cricket stadium in London was the most complex job. We acted as administration contractors for the project, including managing the site and all civil work. From the start, this project was tricky – from the resident’s consultation and planning process, through to designing and laying foundations up to installing the four telescopic masts, each with 200 floodlights ready for the start of the cricket season. Abacus worked with the MCC and Lord’s extremely closely on this project, as well as being fully involved with resident’s issues and planning. The home of cricket is a high-profile site and this project at Lord’s added to the Abacus profile on the world stage.”