In the 1980s, American businessman Larry Trenary and his British counterpart, George Atkinson mulled over an idea that, at the time, seemed utterly preposterous.
With Dubai evolving into the expat magnet we know today, they set about discussing the possibility of building a golf course in the desert, with luscious green grass, water obstacles and, of course, plenty of sand traps.
Fast forward 35 years and that golf course, once nothing more than a figment of the imagination of two golf-thirsty men in suits, has become home to the annual Dubai Desert Classic, hosting some of the biggest names in golf with its champions including Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia.
The course now rubs shoulders with several other first-class venues, including the revered Dubai Creek which features one of the most spectacular clubhouses in the world and Jumeirah Golf Estates, home to the internationally renowned Fire and Earth courses. The Emirate has every type of golf imaginable waiting to be played. There’s crazy golf, range golf, par 3 golf, 18-hole golf and championship golf, and not one of them is done by half measures.
Much like everything else it does, Dubai’s approach to golf has been to prove two things; one, that the impossible is possible and two, that no matter how close to perfect something is, you can always make it better. If you thought playing golf after sunset couldn’t be done, ‘The Faldo’ offers 18 holes of 24/7 playing conditions thanks to its state-of-the-art floodlights. If you wondered whether a three-tiered interactive driving range with at-bay drinking and dining options was a bit far-fetched, Top Golf offers it all with the added bonus of some spectacular skyscraper views.
But if that isn’t enough to convince you that Dubai should be seriously considered as the destination for your next golf trip, we’ve compiled five other reasons the Middle Eastern metropolis is like no other for those eager to polish up their clubs and jet off to warmer climes.
Nothing ruins a golf holiday more than bad weather, and if you get caught in a downpour in Dubai you can consider yourself very unlucky indeed. Like most of its neighbours, Dubai has a desert climate characterised by high temperatures and low precipitation. The city receives very little rainfall throughout the year, with an average annual precipitation of around 100 millimetres (4 inches). Scotland, by contrast, has more than 1,500 millimetres (mm) of rain per year, or 59 inches.
Dubai is known for its stunning array of accommodation, with the world’s only seven-star hotel residing on its shores alongside a number of other oft-talked-about gems. But for a golf hotel unlike any other, you’ll want to consider the Park Hyatt on the Dubai Creek Resort.
Named the World’s Best Golf Hotel in 2022, the Park Hyatt is set in a prime location on the banks of Dubai Creek and adjacent to the world-famous Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. Within a short stroll you have a driving range, a short par 3 course and the full 18 marina course which charts the length of the Creek.
It also puts you right next to the iconic clubhouse building, which includes bars, restaurants, a club shop and full changing facilities. Sat facing looking over the course after a warm 18 holes as you sip cold drinks on the terrace is really something to behold –particularly if you have mates who couldn’t join you back home.
Park Hyatt Dubai is a short drive away from Dubai International Airport, located at Dubai Creek Club St – Port Saeed – P.O. Box 2822.
Summer rates for a standard room start at AED 745++. Winter rates for a standard room start at AED 1,495++.
The concierge team will be happy to arrange tee times at both golf clubs for hotel guests.
Golf in Dubai isn’t like golf anywhere else. When you arrive at most courses, your clubs are immediately transported to the practice range where you can strike a few balls off the perfectly cut grass or tee yourself up with branded tee pegs which are usually provided next to your pyramid of balls.
Golf carts that guide you through the course provide live data to help steer those perfectly angled shots into the green, while ice boxes at the back keep refreshments cool, which is a good thing because refreshments are never in short supply.
Post-round, the clubhouse facilities are also superb, with luxury showers and changing areas to recuperate in before enjoying the 19th hole. You’ll also find iced water infused with fresh fruit to rehydrate, which is necessary more often than not.
The quality of the courses
If you’re spending time and money jetting off to play courses in far-flung places, the last thing you want is for the quality to be comparable to what you’re used to back home. Thankfully, in Dubai there is absolutely zero chance of that happening.
Travel to play golf in Dubai and you travel to play on carpet fairways, pristine bunkers and greens cut like the top of a sponge scourer. The courses are immaculately maintained and play like a dream, so if you’re having a bad day, that’s on you I’m afraid.
Three courses of note are Fire and Earth at Jumeirah Golf Estates and the Championship Course at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. Fire offers a sharply defined, sculptured course with a magnificent pastiche of ora, rolling terrain and rushing water, while the Earth course uses bold colours to provide its contrasts, with a stunning 18th hole.
The Championship course at Dubai Creek, meanwhile, is a memorable journey from the first tee to the 18th green. The superbly manicured fairways are undulating, demarcated by mounds, date and palm trees, and most other times by water. Apart from the Creek, which comes into play on at least four holes, several artificial lakes add to the beauty and difficulty of various other holes.
Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates
Accolades: Host venue of DP World Tour Championship Rolex Series Event
Fire Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates
Accolades: 2020 & 2021 Aviv Dubai Championship DP World Tour Event
Championship Course, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
Accolades: 2021 Asian Pacific Amateur Championship
The best 19th holes in the World
Finally, if there’s ever a reason to play golf in Dubai, it is for some of the best 19th holes in the World. After a hot day out around the course, nothing feels quite as refreshing as a cold drink on the outdoor terraces or kicking back with some televised sport in the bars.
A good complement of food is also served, allowing non-golfing companions to come and soak in the sights. Just be careful not to drop any hole in ones in during your round. There’s usually a few folk in there!
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