Michael Hoey is planning to spend most of his winter and free weeks in Dubai. Picture Fran Caffrey www.golffile.ieMichael Hoey plans to escape the horrific winter weather in Europe by moving to Dubai early next year.

The four-time European Tour winner, 33, believes it will make it easier to practice and travel as he bids to consolidate his position as one of Europe’s top players.

Winner of the Hassan II Trophy earlier this year and 52nd in the Race to Dubai entering this week’s DP World Tour Championship, the former British Amateur champion is convinced the move will be a huge boost to his career.

“I’m hoping to move here for the winter months, the weather means you can play from November to April,” Hoey told The National’s Ali Khaled. “Dubai is also the world hub for tournaments in Asia, South Africa…

Hoey is hoping to get UAE residency following the Dubai Desert Classic in February, after which he intends to stay for a few weeks to “practice, settle in and enjoy Dubai.”

“The weather is awesome here in the winter, when you come from Northern Ireland the weather can drive you insane,” he said.

“Still it’s nice to get home too, to experience a bit of rain which we don’t get here.”

So split his time 50/50 then between the two countries?

“No, mostly here.”

With two tournaments in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi and another in Qatar, Hoey sees the UAE as the perfect place to base himself.

“The tournaments are getting better, Abu Dhabi will once again have Tiger [Woods] in a really strong field next year, and Qatar is always a good one for us.

“It’s only going to get better in the Middle East, at the moment there are three or four tournaments, but I’m sure there will be more in the future.”

Rory McIlroy also spends a great deal of time in Dubai over the winter and during his free weeks and Hoey believes the move will help his game.

“More and more of the guys are making the move. It’s a stopover for many events and the airlines are great with the connecting flights, so it makes a lot of sense to live here.

“At home it is hard to do much practice in the winter, the season is 12 months and we need to try and keep on top of your game.

“You get less flying time and feel better, and you can actually do things like go to the gym. Some of the courses here have great facilities and I’m hoping to do some physical training with some of the coaches at Ernie Els Club at Sports City.

“There is so much to do here, Dubai has a good social life, a good nightlife, not that I’ll be partying all the time, but it would be nice to get away from golf when you need to.”

As for the DP World Tour Championship, where he has been paired with Romain Wattel of France for Thursday’s opening round, he said: “It’s a long course and you have to hit the ball well, the greens are tough, very fast.

“There are so many good young players, you really need to play very well to finish up there.”

Asked his ambitions for the week, he added: “Top 10, I’d be really happy with that.”