Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club Listed in World’s Most Iconic and Influential Clubhouses

Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, the premier golf resort in the Middle East located in the heart of Dubai, is proud to join the ranks of the world’s most well-known Clubhouses in’s recent listing of The 18 Most Iconic Clubhouses.

The influential list compiled by leading Golf Magazine’s Joe Passov has recognised Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, and its home the UAE, as being a destination for this world class sport, acknowledging the club for its impressive aesthetics, architecture and history alongside the 18-hole championship golf course it is renowned for.

Coming in at number eight on this respected list, special reference is made toward the iconic nautical heritage of the Club’s concrete ‘sails’ and everything it represents.

“It is a great honour for Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club to be included in such a prestigious list of world-renowned golf clubs. Our iconic clubhouse is a Dubai landmark, which represents the city’s important nautical heritage, as well as being the only golf clubhouse in the world to be featured on the Nation’s banknote. To join the prestigious list of golf clubhouses including The Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews and Augusta National Golf Club, as well as being the only club from the Middle East really puts golf in Dubai on the international map”. Christopher May, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Golf.

(External source)

Ball Showcase: UAE 2016

It’s always a pleasure to play great golf in the United Arab Emirates. This year has been the same, except that we even made it to Abu Dhabi and not just stopped at Dubai Marina as far as going south is concerned.

Abu Dhabi is indeed a very good golf destination also. So when you are in the region and you fancy some golf, do consider both Dubai and Abu Dhabi – for good reason.

Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club – a nice course in the heart of Dubai

If you’ve read my last post, you might have realised that I started to struggle to find good and affordable courses in Dubai for our trip in April. This is mainly because of four things:

  1. Dubai courses are in general a bit more expensive than everything you know from back home. That’s possibly explainable by the quality and luxury you usually find at these clubs.
  2. Dubai courses are artificial areas in an environment which doesn’t actually fit. Purely from a biological and agricultural perspective, so much green grass does not belong in the desert, and maintaining it to the highest standards is difficult and expensive.
  3. The Euro/Dirham FX rate has been plummeting in recent months. No good news for European travellers!
  4. I have to admit I only checked the expensive courses because those are still missing on my list! In other words, when you are trying to play the Majlis, the Earth and Abu Dhabi, you can’t complain about cost, because it’s basically the creme de la creme of UAE courses which comes at a price. 

Looking around Dubai and Abu Dhabi there are certainly nice other alternatives to play, one of which is definitely the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. This course is located a bit more away from all the others but in contrast to them, more or less in the heart of the old part of Dubai. This has some pros and cons which I will discuss in a minute.

What attracted me was a couple of things: it’s quite famous because it’s one of the first ones ever opened here, it has an iconic club house and features one of the most famous tee boxes in golf world-wide!

But one thing after the other. I got a taxi to the course, checked in and was quite happy that my booking via Golfscape the night before, worked quite nicely. And I got it at a price which the official website did not offer – which was a bonus.

In mid-day heat I started to hit some balls on the range, which was indeed necessary as I haven’t had touched a golf club for a couple of months; this was my first round in 2016! After two pyramids of golf balls and some first thoughts around how to cope with and stay out of the sun, I started my round.

I got my own cart and played on my own. Not much traffic at all. The two-ball in front of me I had overtaken at the second hole already. From that point onwards I had nobody in front and behind me until maybe the third last hole. So one could say the course was pretty empty!

The course quality I would rate with a ‘good’. There were some yellow-ish and brown areas here and there but after all you can see that those people are trying to keep it in the best possible shape. This is apparently tricky around April as someone told me later, because this is the time when the winter-grass disappears and makes room for the summer-grass. That was supposed to be the reasoning behind the various grass colours on the course.

But I didn’t bother too much and tried to get the nicest round possible in the books, i.e. scorecard. I wasn’t doing that badly, lost some balls but at the same time hammered some nice tee shots (…unusual…) and played some great pars and even a birdie. Not bad for the first round of the year, however in 35°C much more likely than with the common winter golf attire you need in Central Europe in that season.

Some comments on the setting of the course: as mentioned earlier, it’s a city course. Which is good for the accessibility of the property but at the same time comes with all negative side effects. Some holes are routed along congested highways and the metro. Unfortunately this is not only the case for one or two but for several holes.

The course has four faces I would say: the highway, the residences, the inner course and the creek side. The highway is bad, that’s pretty obvious. The residential area is very common in the UAE as the golf holes meander through town houses and villas, so that’s a normal thing to experience. The inner course is a part of the course where multiple holes are next to each other without any structures or obstacles in between. This area was very nice and was followed by some holes along the creek shore line.

The latter is indeed nice to look at, you see boats, seaplanes and the Dubai skyline in the background.

But let me go back a bit. Hole 6 stands out, no doubt about it. As shown above, the tee box is a concrete island structure which you reach via a small bridge. So you walk onto the little grassy island, tee up your ball and play back to the mainland. I’m not sure about some official rankings but for me this belongs to the Top 5 tee boxes world-wide.

After the round I relaxed on the sun terrace of the iconic club house (which resembles the sails of an Arab dhow) and made plans for the next round.

Holes that really stood out:

  • 2: Par 4, over water, unfortunately next to the highway
  • 6: Impressive tee box, water and a great setting
  • 8: Par 3 over water
  • 10: Par 5 along water
  • 13: Par 5 with an island green
  • 16: Nice par 3 towards the Dubai Creek
  • 17,18: Beautiful home stretch along the creek, over water on the 18th, towards the club house

Golficiency Rating: 6/10

When did UAE golf courses get THAT expensive?!

Is it just me or did actually the UAE golf courses become more expensive over the last 12 months?! Last time we went down to Dubai we played

  • Jumeirah Golf Estates, Fire Course
  • The Address Montgomerie
  • The Els Club

…and it has been absolutely amazing! More expensive than the clubs I know around the corner here but still quite affordable, but then we figured we could go to Dubai AND Abu Dhabi this year. So as you do as a golf maniac you check out courses we could play this time.

On the list for this year:

  • Jumeirah Golf Estates, Earth Course
  • Emirates Golf Club, Majlis Course
  • Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
  • Yas Links Golf Club

But then I checked prices and I have to tell you guys, I’m pretty astonished by the green fees they are charging! “Cheapest” is Yas Links with 650 AED/157 EUR which is rather fair I’d say. But then next would be Saadiyat with 945 AED/228 EUR which already is pretty steep. Jumeirah Earth with 995 AED/ 240 EUR is in the same ballpark but the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club won’t let you play for less than 1,200 AED/290 EUR…! Well I’d call that a bit out of the league.

No question, all of these courses are absolutely fantastic venues but seriously if they continue with such pricing, in 5 years there won’t be any golfers left to be interested playing, I bet. Even last time at The Els Club I was pretty much alone on the course in the middle of the day—and that wasn’t because of the heat!

Golf Travel 2016: The United Arab Emirates (again)


When people asked me what new year’s resolutions I had for 2016, I tell them “play more golf”. Of course I have quite some ambition for my handicap this year too, but playing more and more regular golf is something everybody can understand and relate to—even non-golfers.

Although the new year is just three weeks old, we are already working on some plans for a fantastic golf trip to the United Arab Emirates in March or April. This time we are looking to spend 10 days in the UAE and split it up between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

As this will be the first time for us to travel to Abu Dhabi, we will most definitely squeeze in some sightseeing as well, but golf should play a substantial part of the trip. Looking at the Golficiency Bucket List, there are some really big names in golf, which we want to tackle this time:


  • Emirates Golf Club, Majlis Course
  • Jumeirah Golf Estates, Earth Course

Abu Dhabi

  • Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
  • Yas Island Golf Club

Every one of these courses stands out in a very unique way. The Majlis as being one of the first courses in the UAE, hosting numerous professional events such as the Omega Dubai Desert Classic; Greg Norman’s Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf forms the famous season finale to the European Tour with the DP World Tour Championship; Gary Player’s Saadiyat Beach course situated right by the sea featuring a combination of desert and links golf at the same time; and finally Kyle Phillips’ Yas Island Golf Club, part of the multi-billion Yas Island complex with the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit, the Ferrari World theme park and the golf course just adjacent to it.

Although we are quite experienced with desert golf and courses in Dubai in particular, we cannot wait for this trip and these fantastic courses we have on our agenda.

If for whatever reason we’re not able to play two rounds of golf in Abu Dhabi, we might consider playing the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club instead. That beauty is still missing on the Dubai map, too.

Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis Course Named Best Course in the Middle East

The iconic Majlis Golf Course at Emirates Golf Club, the annual host of the European Tour sanctioned Omega Dubai Desert Classic, has officially been recognised as the ‘Best Course in the Middle East’ at the recent ‘Asian Golf Monthly Awards 2015’, held at the Orchid Country Club in Singapore. This is the second time in five years that the Majlis course has been awarded this prestigious award at the coveted Asian Pacific Golf Summit.

Emirates Golf Club remains an iconic golfing venue in the United Arab Emirates. The Club was the first all grass course in the Middle East when it opened in 1988 and today boasts world-class golfing facilities on the championship Majlis and Faldo courses, combined with casual and fine-dining restaurants, swimming, fitness and recreation facilities making it a renowned all-encompassing leisure hub.

Having recently become the first club in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region to become GEO Certified, this accolade further confirms the club’s position at the forefront of golf worldwide and being recognized as the best of the best in the golf industry in the Asia Pacific. Andrew Whitelaw, Club Manager of the Emirates Golf Club explained;

“Over the years the Emirates Golf Club has received a number of significant awards but its particular pleasing to be recognised by such an increasingly influential golfing market at a time when new championship courses continue to be opened in the Middle East. Despite the healthy competition, these awards underline the Emirates Golf Club’s international reputation as the home to one of world’s finest championship courses.”

Since its introduction as the first grass course in the region in 1988 through the inspired vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Majlis Course affectionately known as ‘The Desert Miracle’, has matured into a modern day classic.

Source: International Golf Travel Writers Association

Planning for Dubai and Abu Dhabi 2016


With the South Africa trip around the corner it seems unreal to already plan for the next trip but this is how it goes, one golf trip after the other… as you do when you suffer from the golf virus big time.

Early next year, most likely end of March, Dubai is back on our itinerary. This time we’ll extend our time in Dubai with some more days in Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven emirates which form the UAE. Although larger in size, Abu Dhabi does not offer the variety of golf courses compared to Dubai, however the quality of the courses you do find there, seems to be outrageously high.

That’s what we are heading for. Filling gaps with courses we haven’t played in Dubai and then also one or two jewels in Abu Dhabi. Currently this is what we have in mind:

Abu Dhabi has another treasure to offer, the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, a Gary Player course (as shown above), but we think two rounds are enough for a good start. And we want to leave some courses for another visit to the region, such as the Dubai Creek, Arabian Ranches and some more.

So in case you have some valuable comments or feedback, please don’t hesitate and let us know below in the comments. You can be assured that we’re looking forward to that trip also and we’ll bring along some good stories about it.

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.