Top 5 golf destinations in Dubai
Dubai is not only one of the world’s favourite holiday destinations but also a major player on the global golf scene – with a dozen or so world-class courses in close proximity. Host to three European Tour events, namely the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the DP World Tour Championship and Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, Dubai offers quality and diversity. From desert golf, to mature parkland and links-style courses, players of all abilities are challenged on pristine courses, many designed (and played) by some of the world’s greatest golfers. High-quality PGA-qualified coaching is readily available and clubhouses are often fine dining destinations in their own right, with superlative service spanning the whole experience. With balmy evenings and the cooler ‘winter’ months, there are few places on the planet better to play a round.
Emirates Golf Club, Majlis Course
Par 72 | 7,301 yards
Although Emirates Golf Club is home to two 18-hole courses, it’s the Majlis course that gets all the attention. The first grass course in the Middle East, with no less than seven fresh and saltwater lakes, the Majlis was designed by acclaimed American course architect, Karl Litten, and opened in 1988. Since 1989, it has hosted the Dubai Desert Classic 28 times and has won multiple awards, maintaining its position as one of the most prestigious courses in the UAE.
The unique clubhouse is one of Dubai’s landmarks, designed to resemble a cluster of traditional Bedouin tents. This architectural masterpiece pays tribute to the United Arab Emirates and its culture – and perfectly represents the mix of modern world and traditional values – much like the country itself. Emirates Golf Club Majlis Course and the emblematic clubhouse have long been revered in the golfing world.
Jumeirah Golf Estates, Earth course
Par 72 | 7,706 yards
Jumeirah Golf Estates is a luxury residential community and home to two renowned golf courses, ‘Earth’ and ‘Fire’. ‘Earth’ comprises beautifully landscaped, open parkland and gently undulating terrain, with wide fairways and enormous bunkers that lead to huge sloping greens. Dubbed the toughest course in the emirate, if not the UAE, the formidable course, designed by Greg Norman, was specifically built to host the DP World Tour Championship in 2009 and is the setting for the finale of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai every November. Norman claims the closing four holes are ‘the most challenging mile in golf’.
There are a variety of high-end amenities available on site such as the Country Club with café, sports bar and restaurant, along with a European Tour Performance Institute and Tennis Academy. The second course, ‘Fire’, featured later in this article, completes the golf experience.
Dubai Creek Golf Club
Par 71 | 6,967 yards
Another Dubai icon, the clubhouse at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club was designed by Brian Johnson as an homage to the lateen sail of a traditional Arabian racing dhow. The distinctive building is such a UAE landmark, it is represented on the AED 20 banknote!
Karl Litten designed the original golf course, which opened in 1993 and later underwent a redesign in 2005 from European Golf Design, with advice from Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn. Just minutes from Dubai International Airport, the gently undulating course with its date palms, wide fairways and beautifully manicured greens represents a tough challenge – especially from the tournament tees – but the forward tees are a little more forgiving, being suitable for players of all abilities. Water features throughout the course and the famous creek itself comes into play on at least four holes. The complete lengths of the 17th and 18th fairways are spectacularly bordered by the gently lapping waters of the creek and provide a wonderful, if challenging, end to a round.
Jumeirah Golf Estates, Fire course
Par 72 | 7,480 yards
The partner of the ‘Earth’ course, Greg Norman’s ‘Fire’ course opened in 2010 and is a desert-style course, characterised by cavernous terracotta coloured bunkers. Native grasses border the fairways and lend a ‘links feel’, adding a ruggedness to the course and shaping each hole. Designed to be in harmony with the natural desert landscape, the course offers changes in elevation, length and direction, as well as natural topography, to add variety throughout the 18 holes. Golfers can benefit from all the club facilities described in the description of the Earth course, featured above.
Trump International Golf Club Dubai
Par 71 | 7,300 yards
Designed by acclaimed course architect, Gil Hanse, celebrated creator of the Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course and one of the most sought after names in the game, Trump International opened to a dazzling ceremony in February 2017. The links-style course is set at the heart of the DAMAC Hills master development and the iconic clubhouse is central not only to the golfers but the entire community too.
Spanning 500 acres, the 7,205-yard links-inspired course includes wide undulating fairways that mimic the natural rippling desert dunes, steep bunkers and multi-level greens, thus presenting a challenge to golfers of all abilities. A natural winding barranca forms the backbone of the course and offers stunning views from differing elevations. Sand plays its part, along with indigenous flora and the additional challenge of a few unexpected water hazards.
The striking clubhouse boasts a wealth of restaurants as well as an open-air swimming pool with fabulous views of the golf course, and a special golf-inspired fitness centre and gym. A par-three academy course and coaching facilities, employing hi-tech swing analysis equipment, is supported by PGA-qualified professionals, a driving range, chipping facility, practice greens and pro shop with the latest in equipment and apparel.
Golf communities have become increasingly popular in recent years and the DAMAC Hills development is among the finest, with its mix of luxury villas, townhouses and apartments, in addition to a hotel and serviced residences. Many are built in collaboration with global luxury brands, including Paramount Hotels & Resorts, the Trump Organization (at The Trump Estates) and Radisson Hotel Group.
For non-golfers, DAMAC Hills featuring apartments for sale with a view also presents a huge array of community amenities and nearly four million square feet of private parkland with sports grounds, stables, lakes and skate park, among other world-class features.
A second DAMAC-built master development, AKOYA villas and apartments for sale in Dubailand, is currently progressing, that will feature the Trump World Golf Club Dubai – built by Tiger Woods Design. A beautiful mix of villas and townhouses are set around the course, some with interiors by celebrated design house, from Just Cavalli.