The Els Club Dubai – a Golficiency slideshow

Early February we were fortunate enough to travel to Dubai and play some absolute outstanding golf destinations. See here.

One of these fine and luxurious golf venues was The Els Club Dubai, a fantastic course in one of the most affluent areas in Dubai, Victory Heights. The course is nestled between the residential areas and therefore meanders through lines of villas left and right the fairway.

The course was in fantastic condition and I believe this wasn’t just because the Omega Dubai Desert Classic was hosted just a stone’s throw away in the Emirates Golf Club one week earlier. Famous golfers like Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Ernie Els himself visited just some days earlier and I was proud to play such a great course, designed by a living legend in one of the most interesting cities in the world.

I created a 5min video, which is not more than a picture slideshow, but it expresses very well the atmosphere of the course, the main course characteristics and supports me in saying that this is a great place to be.

More information:

The Jumeirah Golf Estates are on Fire

Day 3 of desert golf in Dubai lead me to the famous Jumeirah Golf Estates. Probably you don’t recall this name but once a year, there’s a big golf tournament in Dubai; no it’s not the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, it’s the other one, the even more important, the DP World Tour Championship, the grand finale tournament of a European Tour season. This is where the leader of the Race to Dubai is crowned, where we’re talking big money and where legends are born.

And we’re talking great golf on one of the most prestigious courses in the Middle East. Currently the property features 2 courses designed by Greg Norman, the Earth and the Fire. The Earth is the more mature, the manicured, the highly maintained super golf course with finest white bunker sand and famous for hosting so many extraordinary professional tournaments… Just FYI, I played the other one. This is the story.


The Jumeirah Golf Estates are situated pretty much next to The Els Club, i.e. near Dubai Sports City, a bit outside the city. You drive through nothing than sand on empty roads until at some point and out of nothing you see loads of green trees. You realise it’s the entrance to something which you find in Dubai so often—gated communities which keep real treasures inside, like oysters: some of the best golf courses in the world.

Jumeirah Golf Estates offer two courses. Initially they planned for 4, named after the 4 elements, but currently they only have the Earth and the Fire up and running. Both are designed by Greg Norman. Nobody really knows what happened to the plans for Wind and Water.

It wasn’t even easy to find the golf club house when we entered the property through the main entrance. Later I figured that they just haven’t found the time to put up a proper sign as the club house was re-opened not so much before, so we touched holy ground which was just opened weeks ago, the club house that is. But this came to my mind again quite often that day when I was looking for the way to the next hole—there were just no signs at all.

Anyway, I was dropped off at the front desk, unloaded my bag and made my way into the pro shop to pay the bill. The Fire course, which I decided to play is more affordable than the Earth, and later I understood why. The Fire green fee goes for 655 AED (160 EUR) whereas the Earth costs 795 AED (190 EUR) for 18 holes on a weekday. As the days before have been so costly in terms of green fee (Montgomerie and Els are no bargain either!) I figured it’s time to save some money and went for the Fire. Worst decision to make if you ask me.

So I went back outside, looking for my clubs, i.e. the cart to which my clubs were strapped. Eventually I found them on a cart, full of rubbish and dirty like crazy. I was told that they didn’t find the time to look for a proper cart and asked whether I would be so kind as to drive to the driving range myself and change into a new one. I wasn’t in the mood to start a discussion hence I did how I was told and tried to find the way to the range. As there were no signs whatsoever, this was a fairly tedious process.

I found the range, looked forward to get a new cart, smiled at some staff but they didn’t smile back and kept on working, which by the way was something between just staring and doing nothing. So the service I have to say wasn’t the best out here. At some point I asked a guy to help me, he managed to set my new cart up and I was ready to go. I jumped on, kickstarted the vehicle on my way to the first hole… which I couldn’t find because, yes you guessed it, there were no signs.


After asking around I found the first tee of the Fire course, no starter in sight at his desk, so I took the liberty and stocked up a little: 2 pencils, 10 tees, 1 metal divot tool, 3 scorecards (as a souvenir), a pin sheet and a yardage book… Yardage book? This was the moment when I realised that the carts weren’t equipped with GPS screens. Horror scenario! I left my GPS watch at home as I believed that all these top-notch clubs already have arrived in the 21st century, but this one obviously hasn’t. Tricked me big time. As I don’t use radars, I had a lot of guess-work ahead of me. That was also the moment in which I decided not to give a damn about the score anymore. Also, I got a pin sheet but there was no information of today’s location. I guess the starter would have given me that info but as there was nobody, I was left with nothing.

The hole was free, I was a bit ahead of time and decided to practise the putting for a moment. So I did, and after a while I decided to tee off from the green markers, the second farthest here.

I smashed a 2-iron in the middle of the fairway and was only left with a small chip shot onto the green. That was a good start! Birdie chance missed but could be worse for an unknown course without any GPS. I hopped back onto the cart, looked for the right path to the 2 and off I went. At the tee box I realised that the group in front of me was still there! Wow, they must have been super slow, as at least for 15 minutes I couldn’t see anybody on the first hole. One of the two gentlemen must have been 90 years old, guessed from the far. So I waited and waited, and waited for a couple of holes. On hole 4 a marshal came by and told me that I might play through but they had some other slow groups in front of them also. So it was supposed to be a very long, warm day. Hole no 2 by the way was a very nice par 3, downhill with a forced carry to a well secured green.

After hole 5 I had to wait for so long that the group behind me joined me at the tee 6th and we decided to play together. Those guys were North-English lads, both named Gary, in their 50s, retired, Dubai residents, club members and just came over from the Earth course, where they already played the first 9 but left as it was too crowded. Later they mentioned they come here and play 5 times a week! What a life! I immediately hated mine…

Hole no 6 is a great one. It features large bunkers, both in the fairway and in front of the green. The second shot on this par 4 is uphill and if the ball does’t bite you have a problem. In that case it could happen that it won’t stop rolling back for 30-40 metres or so. The green is fair in size but quick as an arrow and it’s shaped like a genuine Donal Ross’ Pinehurst No. 2 turtleback. Absolutely hard to measure and an absolute bogey-hole although relatively easy to reach in two. My second found the rough to the left of the green, I chipped it near the flag and left with a par.

The bunkers are quite interesting, whereas they are not very beautiful. The Earth course has crisp white sand but the Fire here has a very dark orange type of sand and feels like powdered sugar. Tricky to get a good feeling for good bunker shots!

Next memorable hole was the 8, a par 3 along a lake. Length was about 200 metres and obviously I took my 2-iron, landed it on the green, one putt, birdie, happy times!

I have mixed feelings about the course. That’s mainly because it’s more than OK from an architectural standpoint (although there are no overly fancy holes) but from an esthetical perspective I was somewhat disappointed. The fairways lack maintenance and there are too many spots around the green or on the fairway which just don’t look alright. The greens are OK but the rest of the course is not more than mediocre, just taking the pure course condition into account. I was told that this is different at the Earth course, which is supposed to be more maintained, better kept, more extensively looked after. That’s a shame if you ask me: yes OK, there is a price difference and yes, the other one is more famous but I don’t see a reason to somewhat neglect one course which is right next to the other, built at the same time, designed by the same guy, just doesn’t make sense to me. Especially when they will proceed at some point with the Water course (designed by Vijay Singh) and the Wind course (designed by Sergio Garcia, Pete Dye and Greg Norman)—what will they do with 4 courses? Still concentrate on only one of them? I hope not.


Have I mentioned that I almost made a wrong turn to a wrong hole? Correct, there were no signs. Is this actually the same at the Earth course? (Please comment below if you know).

After hole 9 Gary and Gary had enough for the day and left after a warm handshake and after mentioning how great Dubai is. Yeah, rub it in mate!

Being all on my own again meant that I had to wait longer. Hole 10 is quite boring, 11 also, 12 is alright, a bit uphill but nothing special. The 13 however is a long par 5 with wasteland areas resp. huge bunkers and 2 things I’ll remember about this hole: The pace of play was so slow that we had 4 groups on it at the same time. One on the green, one waiting for the approach shot, one waiting for the second shot and one waiting for teeing off. I had to wait so long, I could hear the grass grow. Oh wait, no, the second fact because I’ll remember this hole was the noise! Here in the most eastern part of the property they are still building houses next to the fairways and this was extremely loud. No surprise when there are literally 100 builders working per villa. You’ll pay a lot of money for those villas but you probably don’t want to see them during the construction phase. They look like they collapse like a house of cards during the first desert storm.

Anyhow, it was so slow that I joined again with the group behind me, 2 chaps more my age. One had an American accent, the other was British but lived in Abu Dhabi, and shame on me I forgot both names.

Holes 14 and 15 stand out as water comes into play again. 14 is a 200 metre par 3 over water towards a green right next to the lake. To avoid it I aimed a bit left and ended in the green side bunker. The next, hole 15, features quite a forced carry over the lake and then an interesting second into the well-bunkered green. I hit my tee shot fat a little and couldn’t reach the fairway, got wet.

Hole 16 seemed to be one of the shortest par 4s ever. I found myself in the fairway bunker but the other guy, the British, an excellent player by the way, took his driver off the tee and almost landed on the green. He was off a bit to the right but not more that 10m from the fringe. Impressive.

17 was a good hole for me but the 18 was an absolute nightmare. My tee shot landed in the thick stuff on the right. I had an awkward stance, didn’t hit it well enough and the second landed again in the rough. To cut a long story short, the third one again ended up in the rough and I had problems to bring the round to a good end.

Eventually I putted, thanked my playing partners, turned around to the gorgeous new club house and wished I had played the Earth course instead. Inside the clubhouse I looked for the locker room again and spent a while in there. It lacks for nothing, including sauna, and jacuzzi. Then I bought the obligatory logo balls and shirt, jumped in a taxi and made my way back Downtown Dubai bound, knowing that was it with golf in Dubai on this trip. It was special and worth every cent, or Dirham I should say.

That night we went out for a great outdoor dinner at the Vida Hotel in Downtown Dubai, followed by a party in the Armani/Privé nightclub based in the Burj Khalifa. I love Dubai! For its golf courses, people, attitude, possibilities, temperature and lifestyle. Next time we’ll be in the area, we’ll definitely try to see Abu Dhabi as well, and with it the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, the Yas Links and Saadiyat Beach. That will be grand!

Green heaven on earth at The Els Club Dubai

Golf day 2 in Dubai. On day 1 I was playing The Address Montgomerie and in order to keep me excited I figured The Els Club Dubai would do the trick. So I made my way to the Dubai Sports City, a district in south Dubai in which you find football and rugby stadiums, hockey clubs and tennis courts. A complete part of the city dedicated to sports. It offers some residential areas also and in the middle of it, exactly, you have a golf course.

To be honest, when you drive to The Els Club, and I’m still not sure whether we took the correct route, you don’t see much at all. It’s like leaving the city for the desert and you see sand wherever you look. This part of Dubai is under construction big time. And then suddenly you’ll find the entrance to the property, the gated community Victory Heights, lush green, trimmed and manicured gardens present themselves. You drive along a driveway and suddenly you reach the impressive club house, which is even more impressive than The Address.

The staff is very friendly and charming, taking care of your tee time, your bag and your belongings. There was not one single person of staff in bad mood the whole day. Very impressive. So I entered the open terrace of the club house and I started to realise and visualise how this course was basically set out. Standing on the back of the clubhouse, overlooking the putting green and greens no 9 and 18, you’ll immediately see that there are perfectly maintained and treasured fairways bending between lines of houses. A view you wouldn’t expect from the outside of the estate.


Before I headed outside, I went in again to change in the locker room. Again, very thoughtfully decorated, offering full service, from toiletries to fresh fruit drinks, jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms. Basically everything you would wish for was to find here. A locker room paradise, with a reading corner and some flat TVs with golf coverage. I started to love this place.

But then it was about time to hit the course, or better the driving range before that. So I took the cart to the training facilities area, just to realise that this place is home to the Butch Harmon Golf School and later I was told that Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Ernie Els himself been there two weeks earlier to work on their game in preparation for the desert swing on the European Tour. And now it was me, hitting white balls down the range… quite a feeling.

The course itself is run by Troon Golf, but in contrast to day 1 at The Address the grass looked so much greener, just more taken care of. The starter was overwhelmingly nice and friendly and we had a good chat before I teed off. The course seemed not to be busy and tee 1 was very empty. I was told I’d play on my own, the 2-ball in front of me was already on hole 3 and that day they measured a green speed of a 10 on the stimpmeter. Ehm, excuse me, did you say “ten”? He did say ten, so I knew what I could expect—freaking quick greens!

After he took some pictures of me pretending taking a shot off the tee, I packed away my driver (which I got out just for the photo) and grabbed my beloved 2-iron. Topped the first ball and lost it in the wasteland area. “Mulligan” the starter screamed with a huge grin from behind. The second shot (well third with the penalty) was a real stunner, easily 200 metres down the middle of the fairway. Much better. I was pumped, jumped on the cart and off I went.

The cart was, quite similar to the Montgomerie course, equipped with tees, towels, ice cold water and a scorecard. Plus it had one of these on-board GPS systems, and this time even the really good one, with which you can contact the Marshal, the front desk or the halfway house for refreshments.

I loved this course the minute I stepped out of the car and these holes gave it the rest: an immaculate course condition, beautiful, lush, dark green fairways and greens, perfect bunkers and interesting wasteland areas.


There were many (and I mean many) green staff on-site, taking care of golfers and the course. So many people working hard to create a green masterpiece within a desert environment. Strange obviously, but well executed! All the maintenance people were very friendly and secretly acted without disturbance. And you felt they tried everything to make this place look like in a calendar. I even saw one guy with a very long flexible stick sweeping away foot prints on a green! Can you imagine? A person removing sand on a green because it doesn’t look good enough! I was even more impressed!

The course is a long 18 hole, par 72 layout and has a mix of a links style design combined with a desert style setting. You will see large sand waste areas, undulating fairways and greens and massive bunkering. All this set on undulating slopes of native desert vegetation. And when I say desert, I mean desert. This course offers proper sand areas, much more than others in the region I suppose. Fairways are narrower than normal and it features quite impressive elevation changes. Some bunkers are probably 3 metres deep, so you might want to leave it short…

It is said that all holes constitute Els’ favourite characteristics from around the world: bunkering from Royal Melbourne, greens resembling Pinehurst No. 2 and wide, rolling fairways. A true masterpiece in golf course design. And although the location is in a fairly remote part of the city (compared to areas such as Dubai Marina or Downtown) the course at the Els Club is a pure treasure in the golf world map–and made it to my favourite Top 5 immediately.


Where do I start describing the course? There are so many fantastic holes that it’s really tough to go for some favourites. The first holes are quite easy to play, nothing too fancy, not too difficult. The 4 is a nice par 3, playing down into a small valley. And you start to realise what a 10 on a stimpmeter is when you constantly putt towards the flag and the ball keeps rolling and rolling and ends up the bunker on the other side of the green. Then you realise what tour players have to putt on…

The next hole 5, a dogleg left with quite a vast wasteland area to carry. The par 4 7 with its carry over water and a lake all the way to the left was a first very interesting hole featuring water. Hole no 8, the next one is a par 4 with an interrupted fairway by huge wasteland again. And then there is the 9, a fantastic hole, elevated tees, huge wasteland to carry, a tree right in the middle of the fairway and a difficult second shot. The green is beautifully set in front of the club house terrace. What a great hole! I was in love with the course and had just seen half of it, which made me smile.

The 11 is a lovely long par 3 and no 12 is a dogleg right with well-guarded green behind a sand dune. Two holes later you find yourself at the same lake which was in play on the 7, but now you play along the other side of it. I was brave, tried the Tiger-line and lost two balls… That was the last time I acted brave that day I guess.

Notable holes number 17 and 18: The 17 being a par 3 towards a huge sand dune. All you see is sand, but the green you try to land the ball on is tricky, quick and unforgiving. The 18 is a long par 5 with a forced carry over wasteland from an elevated tee box. I hit the ball 2 metres next to the pin with my third, putted for yet another birdie—and three-putted.

What a round! It was hot and I was exhausted but if I could, I would have started over again, 1-18. Definitely a great course in a great setting. Just like the Montgomerie course the day before, you won’t find a place with free vista, just dunes or fairway. That’s just not possible because the houses along the course are so close and the holes really meander through these multi-millionaires’ backyards.

When you are around and after a good round of golf, you have to come and play The Els Club. It’s definitely worth the effort. It’s quite an expensive undertaking though: 895 AED (215 EUR) for a midweek round is very expensive if you ask me. So bring some cash and enjoy one heck of a golfing destination.

I bought one sleeve of Titleist logo balls and couldn’t leave without a Els Club polo shirt. I was in golfer’s heaven.

Great golf day at The Address Montgomerie Dubai

So Dubai it was, our first golf-related holiday destination in 2015. We’ve been here before and back in the days I checked out the Faldo course at the Emirates Golf Club, a great venue, just a stone’s throw from our residence at the Dubai Marina. The course was fun and I immediately knew that with my next trip to Dubai I would schedule in more rounds of golf. A word and a blow, in preparation for the Dubai 2015 trip I did some research, wrote some emails and came up with a fairly fixed plan to play three great courses in Dubai.

I already played a Montgomerie course (in Belek, Turkey) and the most obvious attribute which stood out was the usage of fairly large wasteland areas—which by the way are rarely to find in Turkey and belongs more to a real desert course like in the UAE or places like Arizona, USA. But the course was interesting and I knew I couldn’t go wrong with that decision to play a round at the Montgomerie Dubai. Especially because the course is situated in one of the most affluent areas of Dubai, Emirates Hills, a good copy of Hollywood Hills or Beverly Hills, at least when the size of the property or the number of servants is taken as a reference.

On a Tuesday I made my way to the course, friends dropped me off the front desk, my clubs were taken care of, all I had to do was to enter the impressive club house, go downstairs and pay the bill for a mid-week round: 825 AED (200 EUR). I knew this trip would be costly but every time the ladies swiped through the credit card during that week, I whined, very silently and only inside, but it hurt…

The locker room at The Address Montgomerie is excellent. It offers everything one could want from a room like this: comfy leather chairs and benches, plenty of lockers, showers, toilets, (…) and fully equipped toiletries: soap, creme, hair gel, deodorant, sun protection (50), after-sun, shaving creme, disposable razors (!) and some things more. I was impressed. And the round hasn’t even started.

I strolled along the clubhouse terrace, watched some people in the pool and decided to see the driving range for some warm-up. After I found my cart and was advised how to use it properly I went on to the academy building, another club house-styled building with yet another terrace right in front of the driving range. So I had spectators… tried to get used to that thought pretty quickly as it was winter in Europe and I haven’t swung a club for 5 months! Luckily all went fine, I immediately found my rhythm, smashed some nice drives along the impressive range with the Dubai Marina skyscrapers in the backdrop. It felt good and I was so happy about my performance during warm-up. Needless to say, I lost that rhythm again on the first tee…


Speaking of first tee, right next to it they had sort of cart path road works, because of which all carts on their way to and from the training facilities had to cross the first hole. That was a bit annoying but hey, I was on holiday, just about to tee off at one of the most beautiful courses in the region and you can believe me, I wasn’t bothered at all.

I wasn’t even bothered when I met my playing partners for the round: a nice couple from Finland, probably 50 years of age. They weren’t talking much but as they had a cart for themselves and I was on my own, I had no problem with it.

By the way, the cart was loaded with tees, towels, ice cold water, repair sand, a scorecard and one of these fancy huge GPS systems. So you know where you are, you know how far to the next obstacle and you know what club to hit. I really like those!

And off we went. It’s February but around midday the sun is already really hot (28°C in the shade) so I had to stay in the cart for the most part not to risk a painful sunburn. In February I’m not that tanned yet you know…

The course layout is a very typical US or Florida-style golf estate course, it meanders along housing areas and you rarely find a place on the course where you only see golf holes instead of golf villas, huge properties and gardens. Frankly you don’t have this at all. But what do you expect from a course in the middle of a bustling city? It basically can’t be that remote like Scottish courses that come to your mind. So all golfers coming to Dubai to play a round of golf, get used to the fact that you will play along houses and especially in Dubai, you’ll have a construction site among them as well.

Fairways at The Address Montgomerie Dubai are undulated but fair in width. Monty obviously tried to create a links-style character paired with a fair resort-style course which suits the most players out there, offering chances to score low, but danger enough to score high also. The Dubai course features similar wasteland areas which I knew already from the other Montgomerie course in Turkey. It was just that here, even though you don’t see any desert here, I believed it belonged here more. Tough to describe but it felt very natural, even with all the houses to the side—which by the way are huge houses! Every villa looks different and jeez, they must cost a fortune! I was told the story that Monty got one of these villas as payoff for designing the course, and shortly after lost it to his ex-wife in the divorce. Ouch! Don’t know whether it’s true but at least it seems possible.


Back to the course, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by the quality or the condition of the fairways and tee boxes. The greens were fine but at least the fairways lacked some intense nursing and maintenance. Comparing this to other courses you could argue that’s rubbish, but paying EUR 200 for a not perfectly staged course is a bit on the high side I believe. I might not give enough justice to the course but I was expecting greener grass and fewer neglected tee boxes. I found exactly this one day later at another course, so I knew it’s possible to have the perfect grass quality, even in the desert at these temperatures. Some days later I read something on the internet that the course had some severe problems with the grass and had to transplant large areas of it. I don’t know if this was related to my experience at all but it seemed an appropriate reason.

Anyway, the course characteristics were fantastic. The course features undulating fairways, forced carries, multiple water hazards, split fairways, troubling bunkering, wasteland areas, tricky shots into the green, quick greens themselves. All in all a fairly challenging setup.

Hole-wise I liked the 4 with a split fairway and a dogleg left with bunkers on the left (short) side; the 6, a nice par 3 over water with a small-ish (or at least hard to find) green; the 9 dogleg left with a narrow fairway and water all the way to the left (I think that hole cost me three balls…) Another interesting hole is the par 3 13 featuring a tee box ring around a island green in the form and shape of the UAE. Missed a clear birdie there. A nice stretch of holes is the 17 and 18, 17 being a well-secured and crazy-bunkered par 3 and the 18 a true test to your golf par 5. Admittedly the fairway is rather wide, but it’s long and there is water to both sides, left and right, the fairway gets split at some point and another (pink!) water hazard waits in front of the narrow-ish green. There are enough obstacles to totally ruin a round of golf. Mine was already ruined 13 holes earlier, so nothing to worry about for me :)

If you come to Dubai and are after some good rounds of golf, I would definitely support you to come play the Montgomerie as it is an interesting setting, has a good character and challenges you as a golfer. You can’t beat that!


After the round, after my clubs and shoes were cleaned and I refreshed myself, I went to the pro shop to buy the club logo ball and a shirt and only there I noticed that the old logo of the club looks a bit dull and the new, with The Address logo on it wasn’t available yet. So there it is, my reason to come back at some point! :)

Last comment, there was one downside to a great golfing day. That wasn’t related to the course, not even to my personal game, which was OK for the most part. It was because of these horrible people I played with. In general I don’t care when I get grouped together with other folks, even in my home club that’s usually the case. Sometimes you get along very well and quick, in some instances you don’t. Nothing to worry about, just happens, you try not to be dragged down by it, forget it and carry on with your life, but this Finnish couple I don’t believe I will ever forget them at all. Please read the next post on golf etiquette to understand why…

Ball Showcase: Souvenirs from Dubai

B9WBCehIUAESgQI.jpg-largeWhat do you bring home when you play three courses on a short trip? Correct, three golf balls for the showcase: Jumeirah Golf Estates, The Els Club and The Address Montgomerie Dubai. For my collection this makes it four Dubai balls in total, taking into account the Emirates Golf Course ball which I already bought in 2012.

I have to say that I also bought two golf polo shirts. One from the Els Club, one from the Jumeirah Golf Estates. I looked for one at the Montgomerie as well but they still featured the old logo (like in the ball above) rather than the new one with The Address hotel group logo. Would prefer that one. No problem, won’t be the last time that I play golf in Dubai!

Continue reading Ball Showcase: Souvenirs from Dubai

The Dubai 2015 trip: a short recap

els-banner8Just today, early morning I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany after a one week trip to Dubai. At 5:30 we touched ground in wet and cold central Europe. The days before I was fortunate enough to enjoy the sun, go for a swim in the pool, have a breakfast outside, go sight-seeing in the glittering city of Dubai and play some of the most magnificent golf courses in the world! All in all a great one week break! As planned (see here) I booked tee times at:

Over the next days I will publish more in-depth course analyses and descriptions. One thing I can reveal already is that all courses kept up with my requirements and offered outstanding service and great fun, on and off the course. One club however stood out, in a positive sense, and immediately made it onto the Golficiency Top 5 courses list! What didn’t work out was to see the Sunday action of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club to see Rory McIlroy lift the trophy in the end. But as the rest of the week turned out to be so superb, this was easy to get over with. In general I really recommend playing all the mentioned courses, although this is not a cheap endeavour at all. But Dubai really is worth a trip as it offers so many interesting things you can see and do—golf included.

Next stop: Golf in Dubai


I’m restless, especially during winter when there’s not much going on. In those situations I think about trips to make, places to go and courses to play, keeping my bucket list by my side and trying to tick some boxes.

The next awesome trip will be again to Dubai in February. Yesterday I booked the flights and my boss today signed the days off: 8 days in the UAE, mainly Dubai but possibly Abu Dhabi as well, the nitty-gritty details are still to be decided.

What’s pretty much set in stone on the other hand is 3 or 4 rounds of golf. I’ve been to the UAE before and was fortunate to play the Faldo Course at the Emirates Golf Club and Tower Links in RAK, but there are plenty of other treasures to lift in that region.

Desert golf may not be everybody’s cup of tea and I assume some will say “what the heck does he want there?” but truth be told, golfing in the Emirates is a unique experience and this put together with unparalleled service and amenities, it’s just a very fine thing to do. And you will agree the moment I put some pictures on the website.

Looking at my bucket list, there are some interesting courses which want to be discovered. I’m still in a very early planning process, but given that Abu Dhabi is probably out of scope due to other commitments in Dubai, this is what’s currently on my list:

If I could even fit in another round I’m not sure whether I’d go for the second course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates or try another one. That could possibly be either the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club or the Dubai Creek Yacht & Golf Club, both fantastic courses I’m sure. And even Robert Trent’s Al Badia Golf Club or Jack Nicklaus’ Arabian Ranches are far from being shabby dunes courses, they are absolute stunning highlights—everyone in its own way.

But time is precious and playing golf in UAE is expensive, therefore I go for 3 or 4 rounds max I reckon.

Please leave a comment in case you have some advice. I would be very thankful for further insight and ways how to decide what courses to play.