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.

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

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.

Ball Showcase: Emirates GC Dubai

During the preparation for my Dubai trip, I was looking for a nice golf course that is both breathtakingly impressive and affordable. The point is that none of the Dubai courses are really cheap, therefore I decided to play the Emirates Golf Club, one of the most prestigious clubs in the Middle East. The venue hosts multiple professional golf tournaments and both courses (Majlis, Faldo) are beautifully set into the desert.

It was a golf day that I’ll never forget. And for sure I plan to play all the other Dubai courses as well in the future. And I’m pretty sure Dubai will surprise us with additional courses over the next years to come.

More information: http://www.dubaigolf.com

Desert golf: Emirates Golf Club Dubai

Really a tough choice to make: which course to play in Dubai?! I’ve recently been to the UAE for 10 days and Dubai was first on the list. And everbody who visited this place before will know what I mean when I say ’these guys are totally crazy!’

I mean, I like the idea of a region that is quite empty, rural and suddenly there is money, enough money and the distinct will to create lands of dreams to attract people, incredible things like an island palm, a ski slope in the middle of the desert, world’s biggest and luxurious malls, the world’s tallest building (next to all these other 300 high-rise skyscrapers) and – you probably guessed it – some of the planet’s top class golf courses!

The Emirates have a long history but the future looked dark for some of them. Well they have oil, yes, but for how long, what will come after and who would invest in such country where there’s desert all over the place, temperatures of up to 60°C in summertime, 85% foreigners and only some fancy forward looking phantasies? One may argue that everything is built on sand…. and it would be totally correct!

But it would be narrow-minded as well, because the monarchs, the sheiks in this region have one thing in common; they’d like to stand out and fight for attention, for their right to show the world that there is such thing like a strong arabian will to make some things happen that nobody ever dreamt of, besides the sheiks themselves or the people that consult them.

The result is clearly visible if you drive down the Sheik Zayed Road in Dubai, from the ancient part in the north-east to the modern part in the south-west. You pass dozens of newly created quarters, hundreds of skyscrapers, the Burj Khalifa as the tallest building (by far) in the world among them, you pass the only 7-star hotel complex, extraordinary resorts, shiny business centres, fancy restaurants, most expensive cars, the niciest beach clubs, decadent marinas with incredible yachts and some astonishing golf courses as well.

Back to the initial question: what course to play?! After the years Dubai managed to create some masterpieces, or in other words, Sheik Al-Maktoum managed to get some golf artists like Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Colin Montgomerie and other famous names to create a couple of undoubtedly breath-taking courses – in the middle of a desert!

That may be one of the stangest things to realise. There is lots of sand available but for golf one would need grass and humidity in common sense, both rarely seen in the Emirates (at least if you compare it to the British Isles: too much humidity here and vast landscapes of green grass). But like in other occasions you realise mankind is capable of creating incredible things. And these golf courses in the desert definitely belong into this category! People invented new strain of grass that can cope with salt water to avoid using drinking water for sprinkling instead! How cool is that? Environmental friendy golf courses in the desert; a good thinking if you ask me!

This is a selection of the available courses in the small Emirate of Dubai:

  • Emirates Golf Club Dubai
  • Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
  • Jumeirah Golf Estates
  • The Els Club
  • The Montgomerie Dubai
  • Al Badia
  • Arabian Ranches
  • Jebel Ali Golf Resort

The Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates is supposed to be a real beauty but as the 2012 DP World Tour Championship is approaching and about to take place exactly here, it was closed for the preparation works.

My choice was a bit traditional: I opted for the oldest and most famous club in Dubai but for the newer course: The Nick Faldo course, also known as the ‘The Wadi’, at the prestigious Emirates Golf Club Dubai – just a stone-throw from Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Palm and Burj al Arab.

I got a 7:15 tee time at my spontaneous visit and was grouped together with three members, two Kiwis and a Canadian, all long-time Dubai residents as they told me.

The course itself is a tricky one I have to admit. Lots of bunkers in play, lots of water, intimidating drives needed over some ponds that looked more like the North Sea rather than water hazards on golf courses to me, and in addition small, fast and slopy greens. It was early, I was excited but nervous, an unknown course with rental clubs and it got hot quite quickly. So it wasn’t the best circumstances to play a perfect round but boy had I fun! Do you know that feeling: you play one double-bogey after the other (very few pars and some decent bogeys as well), your swing feels somehow strange and normally you would hate that day from the beginning, but hey, I was standing there, on a Thursday, in Dubai, playing golf in 40°C, wearing shorts in October, playing a famous course that I always dreamt of playing, looking at the stunning scenery, thinking to myself: forget the score mate, enjoy every single second, every shot, every green and every putt (even if you need 3 on one green…) and I did exactly that. And imagine, I enjoyed it pretty much!!

It is a strange feeling, wandering (or driving) on beautifully manicured fairways, knowing that it was a sand desert here originally and that some wise men managed to create a golf masterpiece out of nothing. Grass, water, trees: all sort of things you wouldn’t expect in a desert in the first place if you are new to golf, but when you see this, it blows your mind.

And I’m sure the other courses in Dubai are no different. Next time I’d like to play 2 more: most probably the Earth Course at Jumeirah Estates and either the Els or the Montgomerie… or the Creek… or the Majlis at the Emirates GC? Too many possibilities! My group partners later told me that they tend to play twice each week and that they already played all courses in the UAE, plus Oman, Qatar and other regions in the Middle East. Nice to have the money and the possibility, I reckon. And off they went in their Ferrari, Bentley and Maserati…