Top 5 Golf Courses to Play When Visiting UAE

Play the Desert Classics in the UAE. Green Courses in the middle of the desert. The UAE has it all.

Who would have thought, decades ago, that in the middle of one of the most extreme deserts, several of the best and greenest golf courses in the world were going to develop? In a land of rich contrasts, this is really exceptional. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best proof that golf can be built up and played “almost” anywhere.

 

In the Middle East’s famous transition zone, the UAE emerges with a considerable force in the southeast of the Arabian peninsula, in the Persian Gulf. It is a federation made up of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaywayn. As a factor of wealth, oil marks the characteristics of each of the main cities in this region.

 

Dubai is the central attraction among the emirates, famous for its sumptuousness and the magnificent growth it experienced in recent decades. It is there where the most outstanding golf courses are found. The first design in the city was the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club. In fact, it was the first natural grass golf design in the Middle East. It was built in 1987 in the middle of the dunes, and since 1989 it has hosted one of the most important tournaments on the European Tour: the Dubai Desert Classic.

 

Due to the high temperatures in the UAE, it is recommended to play golf very early and with buggies. And avoid the summer months if possible. What is more, the vast majority of clubs organize simultaneous outings for all holes in the morning. This allows more golfers to have the opportunity to play during the best hours of the day. It is good to know that golfers have some limitations during the Ramadan season, especially in matters related to alcoholic beverages, meals, and smoking in public areas.

 

There are more than 25 golf courses in the UAE, and with our team of experts, we have chosen what we strongly consider to be the top five: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course), Jumeirah Golf Estates (Earth Course), Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and The Els Club.

It is one of the most spectacular clubs in Abu Dhabi. This resort is among the most luxurious in the Middle East. The Championship Course (par 72, 7334 yards) features undulating fairways that wind between trees and palm trees.

In addition, it has seven lakes and 90 bunkers to challenge golfers in varied game situations. Since 2006, it has hosted the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, part of the European Tour calendar. Historically, it is one of the tournaments with the best field on the European Tour, primarily because it includes many of the best golfers in the world. The tournament top winner is the German Martin Kaymer, with three victories here (2008, 2010 and 2011).

The Majlis Course (par 72, 7301 yards) is the first natural grass golf course in the Middle East. It was designed in Dubai by Karl Litten, who insisted on including hundreds of wild species of flora and fauna, giving the course its trademark stamp.
Since 1989 hosts the Dubai Desert Classic, one of the most prestigious tournaments on the European calendar. Top winners include Severiano Ballesteros, Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Sergio García, among others. Even Bryson DeChambeau is on this select list, demonstrating the interest the tournament generates every year.
This fantastic course in Dubai was designed by Aussie legend Greg Norman, who was inspired by many fields’ European-style. Its immaculate white sand bunkers contrast with the green of the fairways framed by different native trees. Like other courses in the UAE, the presence of local wildlife is abounding.
The Earth Course (par 72, 7706 yards) was opened in 2008. It is a course that challenges golfers on every stroke, especially on the final four holes, which are played with the threat of water on every shot. Today it is home to the DP World Tour Championship, the last and most important tournament of the European Tour Race to Dubai. Several renowned golfers have won the competition. Among them is Spaniard Jon Rahm, champion here twice (2017 and 2019).
This golf oasis faces the quintessential Dubai waterfront. Without a doubt, it is one of the courses with the best views in the city. It opened in 1993, and since then, it has hosted several prestigious competitions, including the Dubai Desert Classic, on two occasions.
Playing at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club (par 71, 6967 yards) is an invitation to walk along fairways guarded by palm trees and challenging water hazards, which give the course a tropical feel. The design belongs to the Danish Thomas Björn, who left his mark on every hole on the course. It is worth highlighting the clubhouse, probably the most photographed in the world. Its design represents the characteristic sails of the traditional Arab dhow.
It is probably one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world. The Els Club (par 72, 7538 yards) is characterized by providing unique services to its members and all those who come to visit it and play a round of golf. In a super relaxed atmosphere, each visitor will feel that they are treated like a king. It is one of the courses with the best ratings from its visitors.
Ernie Els, a former US Open and The Open Championship champion, recreated some typical flavours of the Arabian desert on this course. His design was so good that it was acknowledged as the “best new international field” by the prestigious American Links magazine. The club organized The Dubai Open in 2014, which was won by the Hindu Arjun Atwal and was the final event of the Asian Tour that year.
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