Dubai’s climate can be characterized by vibrant blue skies and warm sunny weather – classic conditions for the sport of golf. Consequently, it is of no surprise that this sport has attained huge popularity in the emirate. The government of Dubai has been promoting the sport of golf for over two decades; the Emirates Golf Club opened in 1988 and was the first all-grass championship golf course in the Middle East. In 1993, the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club opened to world-wide acclaim and put Dubai on the map as one of the premiere golfing destinations in the world.
In 2005, Golf in Dubai was set up to promote golf in the Middle East region by organizing world-class European Tour events namely the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. In the following year, the Sheikh Maktoum Golf Foundation was set up to promote local talent from the Middle East region. As a part of this initiative, the MENA (Middle East North Africa) Golf Tour was started in 2011 to provide a much needed spring-board for golfing amateurs and professionals within the region to take their game to international levels. This tour currently hosts eleven events across five countries in the MENA region with a large prize-winning sum of $575,000. Golf in Dubai also launched the Golf Citizen website in 2011, which gives local golfing enthusiasts access to bookings in several international golf clubs from around the world.
Here in Dubai, there are plenty of opportunities to play golf; whether you want to enjoy a round of golf on a leisurely weekend with friends or are a professional looking to raise the level of your game, this emirate provides plenty of locations in which you can indulge your passion for the sport.
Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club
This waterfront icon with its majestic sail-shaped Clubhouse is one of the most photographed landmarks in the UAE. This sporting oasis has lush green courses, maintained in perfect year-round condition, lined with date palms and coconut trees. The club’s 18-hole, par-71, undulating course is made more challenging by the attractive water hazards and shrubbery, which lend it a tropical feel. The website allows golfing enthusiasts to book a round of golf at any of its championship courses through an online booking system or a reservation number listed on the website.
Emirates Golf Club
One of the oldest courses in the gulf region, the Emirates Golf Club is host to the immensely popular Omega Dubai Desert Classic and Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. With its undulating terrain that mimics the rolling sand dunes of the desert, the club sports two of the city’s most popular golfing courses; the Majlis and the Faldo Course. Both 18-hole courses can test the proficiency of any golfer’s game and Faldo course is also the only 18-hole course in the region to offer night golf.
The flagship Majlis course, designed by Florida-based course architect Karl Litten, maintains its original local desert flora on a beautiful site donated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This testing par-72, 7,301 yard layout is enhanced by beautiful meandering fairways and seven fresh and saltwater lakes to provide golfers with the ultimate golfing experience.
The Faldo course, originally names ‘the Wadi’, was renamed after being redesigned in 2005 by golfing legend Nick Faldo. A natural wadi running through the 7,348 yard layout gave the course its original name, and is peppered with Faldo’s signature trees and bunkers for a unique golfing experience.
Al Badia Golf Club
Centrally located near the Dubai Festival City Mall, this 18-hole championship golf course was designed by renowned, California-based golf-course architect Robert Trent Jones II. Based on an oasis theme, the Al Badia design incorporates ‘rivers’ of sand and indigenous flora native to the Gulf region. Championship players can play the full 7,303 yards while beginners can play 5,398 yards. The club offers several membership plans for individuals, families and corporate entities that allow access to the prestigious golf course as well as all the other amenities the club has to offer.
Arabian Ranches Golf Club
Spanning 247 acres, this par-72 course is located in the residential community of Arabian Ranches and is easily accessed via the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road. A middle-range desert course, this 6,531 yard course is designed naturally, utilizing the undulating desert terrain with its native shrubs and bushes. This course also boasts a floodlit driving range and putting green. Annual membership gives members the privilege of accessing the golf course as well as the guest rooms and other amenities offered by this club.
Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa
Designed by golf-course specialist Peter Harradine, this 9-hole, par 36 resort course opened its doors in 1998 and has hosted some of the world’s most famous golfers as a curtain raiser to the Dubai Desert Classic. Each hole at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort is designed with a mixture of exotic trees and local flora, with a large saltwater lake that comes into play at five of the holes. Charming fairways with freely-roaming peacocks and wooden gazebos give this delightful course a special charm. This course is open only to professional players; amateurs and beginners are not allowed to use the course although they are welcome to use the practice facilities the resort has to offer.
Jumeirah Golf Estates
One of the emirate’s most prestigious residential golfing developments, the Jumeirah Golf Estates is a three phase development on a 1,119 hectare parcel of land. Currently, phase A, with an area of 375 hectares, comprises of two courses, Fire and Earth designed by golfing legend Greg Norman. With its challenging layout, the recently opened Earth course is already giving the Majlis at the Emirates Golf Club a run for its money. Membership to this exclusive club offers several benefits including unlimited access to the Earth and Fire courses and complimentary access to the Yas Links course in Abu Dhabi. More information on membership packages can be found here.
The Address Montgomerie Dubai
Forming the focal point of one of Dubai’s most exclusive residential communities, Emirates hills, this links land style course was designed by famous golfer Colin Montgomerie together with Desmond Muirhead. This 265 acre course consists of 14 man-made lakes covering an area of 49 acres, 123 acres of turf and 93 acres of landscaped gardens dotted with 81 sand bunkers. The Montgomerie Dubai is a challenging course for players of all levels, with the continuous rolling greens providing for some tricky putts.
The Els Club
Located at the residential neighborhood of Dubai Sports City, this 18-hole, par 72 course is the first course in the Middle East designed by renowned golfer Ernie Ells. Featuring gently rolling fairways peppered with steep grassy bunkers and grass swales, the course combines a link style design with a traditional golf course design. The website for this club is still under construction, but booking details can be found here.
This newly opened 9-hole course is designed on a different model from the other golfing attractions mentioned above. Located next to the Meydan Racecourse in Nad al Sheba, this pay-as-you-play course has no membership fees and is open for play until 11 p.m. This fun course provides golfers the opportunity to play as often as they like without expensive membership fees in a fun and vibrant atmosphere. Professionals can utilize the whole 3,700 yard length, while horseshoe-shaped tee markers in five different colors transforms the challenging course to a more manageable 2,690 yards for beginners and amateurs.
Optimal Fitness Golf Academy
This indoor academy located across the road from the Arabian Ranches, offers the latest V1 golf swing video analysis, training aids, a putting area and a dedicated golf fitness room under the guidance of PGA golf performance specialist Glyn Meredith. With over 23 years of experience in the game including success as a playing professional, Glyn’s unrivalled understanding of the swing technique will help golfers take their game to new levels of success.