Few major cities around the world can offer as many high-class golf facilities within a 40-mile radius
DUBAI, the jewel in the UAE crown, has been a mainstay of the European Tour since Mark James won the first Dubai Desert Classic in 1989 and in recent years the Tour has strengthened its bond with the emirate by taking the season-ending finale there in 2009 with the advent of the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai.
The climax to the European Tour season at Jumeirah Golf Estates has brought with it many memorable moments on the Greg Norman-designed Earth course as it decides both the winner of the tournament – contested exclusively between the leading 50 players on Tour – and the winner of the season-long Race to Dubai.
While the golfing world fixes its gaze on these two events in Dubai at the start and end of each season, did you know there are 12 world-class courses across 10 golf clubs in the city?
Dubai has been a hotbed for golf since the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club became the first fully-grassed course in the region and began hosting the Dubai Desert Classic. The list of winners reads like a Who’s Who of golf, including Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Colin Montgomerie.
Meanwhile, in recent years the winners at the DP World Tour Championship have included Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood, Jon Rahm, McIlroy, Stenson, Matt Fitzpatrick and Danny Willett.
In the 31 years since Emirates Golf Club burst onto the scene, numerous new facilities have been established and Dubai now offers a myriad of different styles of courses, all of which are open for play virtually all year round.
Hosting major international sporting activities has long been seen by officials in Dubai as a way of boosting the emirate’s profile on a global scale. Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), explains: “Dubai’s successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic not only led to the reopening of the city of Dubai to international visitors on July 7, but it also paved the way towards restarting other sectors, such as sports that play a crucial role in the growth of the tourism industry.
“In fact, these world-class events, featuring celebrity players, have helped position Dubai as a leading destination for sports tourism, especially with these events being telecast to millions of viewers worldwide.
“With its diversity of offerings, tourism infrastructure and facilities, including deluxe hotels and world-class golf courses underpinned by the highest standards of hygiene and safety, Dubai is happy to welcome tourists from all around the world, who wish to combine their sporting passions with a general love for travel, recreation and relaxation.”
The design concept for Arabian Ranches, which opened in 2004, was to build a true desert-style course similar to those found in and around Scottsdale, Arizona. Playable up to a maximum yardage of 7,658 yards, this course provides a true test for golfers of all abilities. Designed by former Open Champion Ian Baker-Finch in association with Nicklaus Design, its layout is strangely unique for Dubai in that it fully makes the most of the natural terrain available to it. Miss the fairways and you’re likely to find yourself in the sandy wastes, surrounded by indigenous shrubs and bushes. Last year the club totally renovated all its putting services to enhance its playability.
Visitor rate: Weekdays from 295AED
Weekends from 395AED
Set within 265 acres of lush, green fairways, landscaped gardens and lakes, Address Montgomerie is the perfect place for golfers of all standards to enjoy an unforgettable experience. Montgomerie Golf Club Dubai, set in the heart of the prestigious Emirates Hills community, is a design collaboration between Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie and Desmond Muirhead. The open, links-style par-72 Championship course features no fewer than 14 lakes and 81 bunkers – one of which is shaped like a hand on hole 17 – and its mammoth 656-yard closing hole will live long in the memory.
Visitor rate: Weekdays from 245AED
Weekends from 315AED
The par-71 Championship course at Dubai Creek measures 6,967 yards and is a memorable journey from the first tee to the 18th green. The superbly manicured fairways are undulating and framed beautifully by mounds and date and palm trees – and most other times by water. Apart from the glistening Creek, which comes into play on at least four holes, several artificial lakes add to the beauty and difficulty of various other holes across the property. The Creek becomes the focus towards the end of the round as it plays its part in a thrilling finale on holes 17 and 18, guarding the entire left side of the fairways all the way up to the green.
Toptracer range: The Toptracer range at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club allows you to use state-of-the-art technology – just like the pros do. Enjoy a fun, engaging, tech-driven experience that appeals to seasoned players, range rivals, friends, family members, and even first-time golfers.
Visitor rate: Dubai Creek Par-3 100AED
Championship Course: Weekdays from 760AED
Weekends from 875AED
Tee off to a brand-new golfing experience at this serene and lush lifestyle destination located only 15 minutes from Downtown Dubai. Opened in 2018, Dubai Hills Golf Club is an 18-hole par-72 Championship golf course designed by European Golf Design and managed by Troon Golf. Set against the striking Dubai skyline with an iconic backdrop of the Burj Khalifa visible on many holes, it entices golfers to come back for more. Offering a challenge to players of all abilities, it is fast-becoming a key golfing destination in the emirate. The design of the Dubai Hills Golf Club draws on the natural topography of the location. Carved out of the desert, it features large contoured fairways which offers a variety of strategic options from the tee, while undulating greens add to the test in addition to challenging bunker placements and an array of water hazards.
Visitor rate: Weekdays from 245AED
Weekends from 315AED
Renowned as one of the gems in the city, The Els Club bears the name of South African legend Ernie Els and has been a vital part of the Dubai golfing scene since 2008. The four-time Major Champion’s passion for the great links of the UK, where he has won two Open Championships, is clearly evident in his course design as he introduced some of the features found on the coastal British courses into a desert landscape – thus a ‘desert links’ was born. The par-72 Championship course features four teeing options on each hole and stretches back to a total length of 7,538 yards.
Visitor rate: Weekdays from 716AED
Weekends from 716AED
The flagship course at Emirates Golf Club, The Majlis Championship course is a challenging par-72, 7,301-yard layout. Designed by Florida-based course architect Karl Litten, the original 18 holes were built in and around the dunes of a spectacular site on the edge of the city of Dubai, donated by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on whose instructions the desert flora was maintained in its natural state. The Majlis course has developed a worthy reputation worldwide as a testing layout for the best golfers and features hundreds of indigenous species of flora and fauna, beautifully complemented by meandering fairways and seven fresh and saltwater lakes. The Majlis, the first 18-hole grass course to be created in the Middle East, takes its name from the Arabic word for ‘meeting place.’ A second course was built around three sides of the Majlis course in 1996 and was later redesigned by Sir Nick Faldo in 2006. The course bears the name of the six-time Major winner and is floodlit, giving players the option to tee it up in the evening during the hotter summer season.
Majlis visitor rate: Weekdays from 905AED
Weekends from 1250AED
Faldo visitor rate: Weekdays from 675AED
Weekends from 795AED
Par 3 visitor rate: Weekdays from 80AED
Weekends from 80AED
This 9-hole par-36 Resort Course was designed by the world renowned architect Peter Harradine and opened for play in 1998. The course features multiple teeing options on every hole, offering players the chance to play 18 holes if they desire. Given a blank canvas, Harradine created a layout which is interesting, aesthetically pleasing and challenging, with every hold flanked by exotic trees and shrubs, while a large salt-water lake comes into play on the 5th hole. The course has established itself as one of the most prestigious spots for golf in Duba,i playing host to legends including Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Greg Norman.
9 holes visitor rate: Weekdays 195AED
18 holes visitor rate: Weekdays 270AED
Jumeirah Golf Estates
The two Championship courses at Jumeirah Golf Estates were both designed by Greg Norman and differ greatly in their characteristics and playability.
The Earth course hosts the DP World Tour Championship and is a sharply defined, beautifully sculptured course inspired by the great parklands courses of Europe and North America. Sparkling white sand evokes the hallowed land of Augusta National while the elevated tee boxes give each hole a sense of grandeur. The greens are huge and offer various pin positions and test the very best putters in the game. The course also boasts one of the most memorable closing stretches in the region as they feature a risk-and-reward par-4, a par-3 with an island green and a closing par-5 with a stream which splits the fairway all the way up to the green.
The Fire course exists more in harmony with the natural desert landscape and while the Earth uses bold colours to provide contrast, the Fire course is more refined. Native grasses display a golden glint in the sunshine, and away from the immaculate playing surfaces, large terracotta bunkers punctuate the terrain. Framed by a wide variety of flora, carefully selected to reflect the overall theme and to enhance its natural setting, the Fire course is in complete harmony with its surroundings and is an 18-hole experience you’ll want to repeat.
Earth visitor rate: Weekdays from 635AED
Weekends from 750AED
Fire visitor rate: Weekdays from 505AED
Weekends from 595AED
Another Peter Harradine-designed masterpiece, this fully floodlit Championship course exists to encourage golfers of all abilities while still offering a test to those who play to a high level. With five different tee box options on every hole offer varying lengths and degrees of difficulty, the course features two par-5s, five Par-4s and two par-3s with six natural lakes that come into play on every hole. The atmosphere around the club is fun and welcoming and the incredible backdrop of the Dubai skyline makes it an unforgettable golf experience.
Visitor rate: 9 holes 250AED
18 holes 350AED
This links-style Championship course is partnered by state-of-the-art training and leisure facilities and located near Arabian Ranches, in the heart of DAMAC Hills, and provides the ultimate golfing lifestyle experience. The 7,300-yards par-71 is designed by world-renowned architect Gil Hanse, who drew up the masterplan for the Olympic Golf course in Rio for the 2016 Games, while the par-3 course mimics the undulations found on its 18-hole big brother.
This extraordinary project features a 30,000 square-foot clubhouse, which is the largest of its kind in Dubai and overlooks the 9th and 18th greens. The development also includes an expansive Pro-Shop, two indoor swing studios and a double-sided TrackMan driving range – a first of its kind in Dubai. Championship Course visitor rate: Weekdays from 925AED
Weekends from 1050AED
Academy Par-3 Course visitor rate: from 100AED