Most visitors flock to bling bedecked Dubai for the three S’s - that’s sun, sea and shopping. But this dazzling desert kingdom is also a great destination for golfers, thanks its enviable climate and the fact that it’s a none too arduous seven hour flight away. Here’s the low-down on four fabulous courses...
Part 1: Four of the best
Al Badia Golf Club
The focal point of Dubai Festival City, Al Badia Golf Club is an 18-hole, championship golf course designed by the renowned Robert Trent Jones right on the edge of the historic Dubai Creek. There’s a desert oasis theme so expect to see ‘rivers of sand’, water and plenty of plants indigenous to the Arabian Gulf during your game of golf. The prestigious course can be played from the maximum 7,303 yards for championship players down to 5,398 yards for beginners. After your round refuel in one of the clubhouse’s four aptly named restaurants: take a bow Blades, Spikes, Tee Lounge and Trent’s. Or check out the Taylor Made MATT golf swing analysis centre - the only one in the region - where the pros will help hone your swing or fit you for custom clubs.
(Green fee AED 595; www.albadiagolfclub.ae)
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
ABTA GOLF has a soft spot for this 18 hole championship golf course that was redesigned by local star, Thomas Bjorn, back in 2004. Voted one of the world’s Top 100 Must-Play Golf Courses, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club offers a memorable journey from the first tee to the 18th green: well groomed fairways are lined with date palms and coconut trees, while attractive water hazards and shrubbery lend a tropical air to the par 71 course. The signature hole is the par five 18th - with water on the left and bunker on the right, it makes for an exciting finish to any round. The iconic Creekside clubhouse (it’s constructed in the guise of a traditional Arab dhow) is home to two restaurants, Legends and LakeView. And for those who like to stay where they play, the 225 room Park Hyatt Dubai Hotel is merely minutes away.(Green fee AED 828; www.dubaigolf.com)
Emirates Golf Club
Host to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, Emirates Golf Club was the first all grass championship golf course in the Middle East when it opened in 1988. Taking pride in its 36 holes of world class golf, the club boasts two of Dubai’s finest courses: step forward the Faldo (designed in 2006 by golf legend and six time major winner, Nick Faldo) and the Karl Litten designed The Majlis. The former became the only 18 hole course in the emirate to offer ‘nightclubbing’ (floodlit golf) in 2010, while the mustn’t miss hole on the latter is the par-four eight which plays uphill. Both courses feature natural rolling desert terrain, while the recently refurbished clubhouse is one of the most eye-catching in the region.
(Green fee Majlis, AED 1,100; Faldo, AED 695; www.dubaigolf.com)
The Address Montgomerie Dubai
Designed by Scottish 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, in association with Desmond Muirhead, this par 72 course covers 265 acres and provides players with undulating ‘links land’ style fairways and generous landing areas. One of the signature holes is the par 5 fourth, dubbed the Snake hole for its saddleback fairway which doglegs towards the green, with two bunkers behind forming the eyes of the snake. Further standouts include the par 3 thirteenth - a hole designed in the shape of the UAE - and the patience testing par five finishing hole. Refine your game at the Academy by Troon Golf - one of the finest teaching facilities in the world - where coaches can help you improve your swing, strategy and score. Or forget about your faults in the club’s award winning Nineteen restaurant.
(Green fee AED 825; www.themontgomerie.com)
Part 2: Essentials
Best time to go
Wondering when to go? You really can’t go wrong if you visit between the months of November and March when the weather is warm and sunny virtually every single day. Summer (June-September) is hot and humid - temperatures have been known to top 50 degrees. Golfers will also want to avoid visiting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when drinking and eating in public is unacceptable.
UK citizens will be granted a free visit visa on arrival - expect your passport to be stamped as you pass through immigration. The visa is valid for 30 days but can be extended for an additional 30 days by visiting an immigration office in the UAE and paying an extension fee
At the time of writing, no specific vaccinations are required for entry to Dubai, but it would be wise to check with your Doctor before you travel.
Average flight time
You can reach Dubai International Airport - one of the most acclaimed airports in the world - from London in as little as seven hours.
Official taxis are air conditioned, well maintained and metered but beware: huge volumes of traffic can turn a 20 minute journey into a two hour long grid-lock nightmare. The driverless, fully automated Dubai Metro opened in September 2009 and is a cheap and quick way to get around most of the emirate. There’s also a public bus system but it’s rarely used by tourists, owing to the convenience of the Metro and taxis.
Tourist board contact