“It was a perfect shot, once a year it happens,” remarked the 2011 Dubai Desert Classic champion, Alvaro Quiros, referring to his hole in one from 161-yards away. It was a shot that would secure the Spaniard a first place victory and over €300,000 in winnings. The tournament was the second time in the history of the European Tour that the world of professional golf saw a hole in one happen on every round.
Hole in one, or six, the UAE is one of the hottest places to play nowadays with some of the top-earning professionals opting to practice here over old favourites in Scotland and the US. Whether you have time for 18 holes, a brief foray to the driving range or want to watch from the sidelines as the pros compete, we list the best spots for a one-of-a-kind tee off in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Improve your Game in Dubai
You’ll want for nothing in Dubai when it comes to courses, with a vast selection to choose from. Emirates Golf Club for starters boasts two 18-hole courses: the Majilis (Arabic for ‘meeting place’) has been ranked by Golf World Magazine as one of the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World; and the Faldo (named for six-time major winner Nick Faldo who redesigned the course in 1996), the only course in the region that offers night golf.
Master the game with help from Al Badia Golf Club at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Not only do they have an 18-hole championship course, but a world-class golf academy as well. We recommend trying the club’s ‘TaylorMade Performace Lab’ – a two-hour session that uses motion capture technology to match your individual swing characteristics. 34 markers are placed on you and your club where your swing motion is captured by nine high-speed cameras. At the end of the lab, you receive a CD with your recorded swings and club recommendations. You can even order custom-made clubs that are designed to suit your swing, allowing you to hit the ball longer and straighter, with better control.
If you’re looking to improve your short game, then try the SAM (Science and Motion) PuttLab. It’s a putting lesson with instructor that uses ultrasound sensory technology to map the 3D movement of your putting stroke. We like it because we got instant feedback results that highlight your strengths and weaknesses. After a round of golf, treat yourself to some well-deserved R&R at the Spa InterContinental, with golf-themed treatments that use a line of ‘Revive’ tonics that boost muscle circulation as well as massages that target fatigued muscles. Try their signature ‘golf ball’ massage to work out your knots.
Escape the city to one of Dubai’s most exclusive residential communities, Emirates Hills. Nestled here is the Montgomerie Dubai course, named for designer and legendary Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie. With a tranquil and charming location that includes 14 lakes, it unites the prestige of Scottish links golf with breathtaking Arabian surroundings. Be sure to check out the 13th hole, which was specially designed in the shape of the UAE.
Their Academy by Troon Golf has a 9-hole par-3 practice course and indoor swing rooms with computerized swing analysis. We recommend you try their ‘Stay & Play’ package where you can spend two nights at the Address Montgomerie Dubai hotel, play a round on the course and another at the Arabian Ranches Golf Club – a par 72 course with GPS system built into your golf-cart serving as your own virtual caddy that measures your distance from the centre of the green, to help you determine the best club to use.
Click to the next page for our Abu Dhabi picks
Spectacular Views in Abu Dhabi
Need a change of scenery? Treat yourself to the Arabian Gulf’s only ocean course at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on Saadiyat Island, just 700 metres off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The regional tourism board has invested heavily in developing this island into a world-class business and leisure destination with a pristine beachfront. Designed by legendary golfer Gary Player, it has distances that start at 5,290 yards to 7,806 for the pros and features several beach-front holes. Check out their website for a hole-by-hole description videos to mentally prepare yourself.
Back on the mainland, go the full 18 on Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s par-72 championship course or take it easy on their par-36 nine if time is not on your side. You can also book your own private lesson with an instructor and plan a corporate event through the club.
Next Page: Golf events and PGA tours taking place this season
You’ve picked the right time to visit the UAE as some of the best tournaments in the region take place during the fall/winter season. Take a break from playing and watch the pros. Click through for our picks for the season.
Dubai World Championship – PGA European Tour
WHERE: Jumeirah Golf Estates
WHEN: 8 – 11 December 2011
Over 50,000 spectators attend this tournament where the top 60 ranking European Tour golfers compete over the course of four days for the biggest monetary prize in the European Tour - $7.5 million USD shared among the finishing top 15.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship – PGA European Tour since 2006
WHERE: Abu Dhabi Golf Club
WHEN: January 20 -23 2012
PAST CHAMPIONS: Chris DiMarco, Paul Casey and Martin Kaymer
Omega Dubai Desert Classic – PGA European Tour since 1989
WHERE: Emirates Golf Club Dubai
WHEN: 6 to 12 February 2012
PAST CHAMPIONS: Alvaro Quiros, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Mark O-Meara and Rory McIlroy (placed first in 2009 at the age of 19)
GOLF COURSE ADDRESSES
Emirates Golf Club
Tel. 800 TEETIME (800 833 8463)
Al Badia Golf Course by InterContinental Dubai Festival City
Tel. +971 (0)4 601 0111
www.albadiagolfclub.ae / luxos.com/dubai-festival
The Montgomerie Dubai
Emirates Hills, 5th Interchange Sheikh Zayed Road
Tel. +971 (0)4 390 5600
Arabian Ranches Golf Club
Tel. +971 (04) 366 3000
Abu Dhabi Golf Club
Tel. +971 (0)2 558 8990
Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
Tel. +971 (02) 2557 8000
Intercontinental Dubai Festival City hotel listing
The Address Montgomerie Dubai hotel listing
Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi hotel listing
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club