It was the second 7am tee time in a short period of time and very unusual for me as I normally appreciate sleeping a lot (and long). But when you get the chance to play some of the most amazing courses in the world, you definitely reconsider your need for sleep. Especially when we are talking about the UAE in October, still with temperatures around 40°C – sweating guaranteed! So jumping out of the bed at 5.30am to make it to the course therefore is just a strategy to survive the massive heat in the Emirates.
After playing the Faldo Course at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai a couple of days before, I went to the next Emirate north-east: Ras al Khaimah (RAK). We stayed at a very nice 5-star resort right and the beach and were very happy with the choice. But to be very frank, the rest of RAK is a bloody damn dirty shithole, please excuse my language. Never seen any ugly region like this before. Not at all comparable to Dubai or Abu Dhabi and the bling-bling you find there.
Speaking of golf, pretty early in the organisation process I found a golf course near the hotel and decided to play there. It’s called Tower Links Golf Club and is situated in the middle of RAK city. In terms of facilities and professionalism this club does not reach the other clubs in Dubai. It’s more down-to-earth which is fine as it fits into the RAK experience I had. The course on the other hand is quite a nice one, surprisingly. I really enjoyed playing here. Compared to Dubai clubs there’s hardly anybody playing and the quality of the holes is pretty good. Both the condition of the turf and the layout made a very good impression.
Situated in a kind of a natural habitat, the holes are laid beautifully around some lakes and water hazards. But they are never too dominating and with a ’normal’ amount of bunkers, there’s an enjoyable round guaranteed.
The carts have GPS facilities as well but they are not as advanced as in Dubai in terms of layup yardages and interactive functionalities. You don’t receive a welcoming present and even logo balls were not available. All this creates a slightly lamer picture for the RAK course, but as I said, you probably don’t expect that from such a remote golf course and you can definitely have fun on the course, and that’s all that matters.
Starting pretty early, I’ve only seen three other players on the entire course, next to a complete armada of greenkeeping staff, one lady in the pro shop and the cart/bag guy.
One word on my game, as always with new and unknown courses, I rarely take the extra effort to check exact yardages and don’t go for the green on every hole. Same here, I tried to stay in play and avoided firing too long on most holes. In addition six 3-putts and 5 penalty shots had negative impact on my score, which would have been quite all right since my driving and general ball stiking was pretty good, even with another set of rental clubs.
All in all, if you’re staying in RAK for vacation, definitely go and play this course (and probably the one of the Al Hamra resort as well, supposed to be quite nice there as well), if you’re staying in Dubai, I wouldn’t recommend to take the time and effort of driving 60mins or pay for the taxi (approx. 250 AED) to get to RAK and play the Tower Links GC course. It’s a nice venue but honestly not comparable to other courses in the Emirates from what I’ve seen so far, but my own experience is definitely limited here!