From a city without a course to hosting premier golf events

Bernie McGuire
Bernie McGuire

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Professional golf came to Dubai in 1989 with The Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the rapid growth of the event epitomises that of golf in Dubai perfectly; the host venue, the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club was opened in 1988, hosted the 1989 Omega Dubai Desert Classic and has done so ever since (except for 1999 & 200 when it was at The Creek).

The event has gone on to become one of the most sought-after titles in golf with winners including golfing superstars Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy and the past two Masters champions, Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett and has seen Dubai go from a city without a golf course to hosting premier world golf events in the space of 30 years.

Following the success of the men’s event, the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters was established in 2006 with golfing legend Annika Sorenstam winning the first two stagings of the event and it has since become one of the most eagerly anticipated on the Ladies European Tour, boasting one of the biggest purses of the year.


Despite the huge success of these events, the introduction of the year-long Race To Dubai, culminating in the DP World Tour Championship in 2009, has defined Dubai’s serious commitment to golf and its importance to European and global golf. Played over the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Estate, the DP World Tour Championship has already provided some unforgettable moments and worthy winners, such as Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and reigning champion and rising star Matt Fitzpatrick. Plans were announced in May to extend the Race To Dubai until 2020, illustrating the positive impact the series has had on the European Tour and how well received The Earth course has been as a host venue.

Looking forward, Dubai’s progress shows no signs of slowing, with Trump International Golf Club, Dubai opening this year and more courses in the planning stages.

Particularly exciting for the emirate has been the establishment of Golf in Dubai, the strategic advisory company working on behalf of the Dubai leadership, which drives awareness of the city as a world-leading, premium golf destination offering extraordinary playing experiences in perfect playing conditions.

The recently launched website has been designed to provide visitors with everything they need to know, from unparalleled hospitality, leisure and practice facilities, to superb courses designed by the greats of the game and where visitors can walk in the footsteps of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Shanshan Feng.

Former R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson is the man tasked with leading this movement, as the Chairman of Falcon Golf. Fresh from playing an instrumental role in golf’s return to the Olympics and the hugely successful running of the event as the President of the International Golf Federation, it is safe to say Golf In Dubai is in good hands.

Emirates Golf Club – Majlis Golf Course
Dubai’s first grass golf course, the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club opened in 1988 shaped golf in Dubai. It announced the arrival of Dubai as a major player on the global golf stage. The Majlis has set the standard for championship courses in the emirate, and offers a tough test for even the most accomplished golfer with a mixture of tricky doglegs and fast greens that will challenge anyone’s course management. In addition, it offers numerous breath-taking vistas, including the iconic 8th tee with the ever-evolving Dubai city skyline in the distance.

Emirates Golf Club- Faldo Course
Not content with just one world-class golf course, Emirates Golf Club opened their second layout, the Faldo Course, in 2006. Surrounding the Majlis course on the perimeter of the property, the course offers a unique experience with a mix of holes, from long testing par 5s to tempting short par 4s for the big hitters. The course is brimming with character with prominent features such as dry river beds, and many views of the desert. While the Faldo course sits alongside its neighbour in terms of quality, what sets it apart is the offer of night golf. With the city lights glowing in the distance and refreshments on offer in the clubhouse and on the course, night golf on the Faldo Course is a truly special experience and a bucket-list item for any golfer.

Arabian Ranches Golf Club
Designed by golf legend Ian Baker-Finch, Arabian Ranches Golf Club is a true desert-style course boasting a natural flow through sand dunes and unforgettable views seemingly extending for miles. Playing up to 7,658 yards, it is a true test of golf – but with variable tee plates every level of golfer can find a distance to enjoy their round. The luxurious Spanish Colonial clubhouse compliments the course beautifully, fitting into the scenery seamlessly and offers views down the 9th and 18th holes.

Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
Set along the banks of the city’s famous waterway, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club boasts an enchanting course and a stunning clubhouse. The course boasts one of the most dramatic finishes to any course in Dubai, with two holes that can be as dangerous to your scorecard as they are aesthetically pleasing. The seventeenth is a short par 4 with a back tee that juts out over the water with players having to cross a bridge to access. If anything, the eighteenth incites even more fear with water hazards lining the fairway on each side.

Jumeirah Golf Estates- Earth Course
Designed to host the European Tour’s iconic DP World Tour Championship each November, and perhaps the most recognisable course in Dubai, the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates is a must-play for any golfer. Course designer Greg Norman’s use of bunkering and undulating fairways provide a tactical challenge and leave questions on every hole. The experience of playing a course purpose-built to host a tournament of such magnitude is not to be missed and delivers the sense of golfing drama that goes with it. You’ll enjoy walking the fairways and trying to re-enact the iconic shots of the European Tour’s finest.

Jumeirah Golf Estates- Fire Course
Built to accompany the Earth Course, the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates is the perfect complement to its sister. The Fire offers a more traditional layout with subtle undulations and an emphasis on natural features. With a wider array of tees, and more varying elevation, it is an entirely different, but no less rewarding challenge. The Fire course should not be overlooked because of the enormity of its elder counterpart; it is certainly worth a visit.

The Address Montgomerie Dubai
A truly luxurious experience, located within the Emirate’s most opulent residential estate and complete with extensive facilities, including tour standard driving range and Par 3 course, the Address Montgomerie offers one of the best all-round propositions in the UAE. Course designer and three-time Senior Major Champion, Colin Montgomerie, takes inspiration from his homeland with links design features, such as large, subtle greens and firm run off areas. The Ryder Cup legend has truly outdone himself with the stunning signature 13th, a short par 3 with a green in the shape of the United Arab Emirates. It is undoubtedly one of the most memorable holes in the area. Despite providing a home to 14 lakes, generous fairways make for an easy driving course but, in true links style, getting near to the pins is where players have the most difficulty.

 The Els Club 18th Hole

The Els Club, Dubai
Four-time Major champion Ernie Els’ only offering in Dubai combines features from his personal favourite holes from all over the world, with Royal Melbourne providing the inspiration for the bunkering and Pinehurst Number 2 being the blueprint for the wide, forgiving fairways. A course that boasts so many subtleties that it gets better with every playing. The facilities are perfect to round off an excellent days’ golf. Whether you’re looking for a quick post-round snack or a sit down meal, the Els Club can cater for each with the Big Easy Bar and Grill and Bar and Restaurant 261.

The Track, Meydan Golf
The Track Meydan offers Dubai’s second Night Golf experience and is not one to be missed. Course architect Peter Harradine’s design strategically incorporates 6 natural lakes that offer stunning aesthetics but also require diligent play to steer clear of. One of Dubai’s most friendly venues and with vast facilities that can be used during the day or at night, The Track is a great place to go and hone your skills at the practice facilities, play or simply enjoy an evening in the on-site Qube Sports Bar, where a vast range of sports can be enjoyed on the array of screens on offer.

Trump International Golf Club, Dubai
Inspired by the desert, Dubai’s newest addition, Trump International Golf Club, Dubai has certainly lived up to its lofty expectations, and fits in perfectly with the legion of championship courses that bear the Trump name. A Gill Hanse masterpiece forged from a beautiful plot of land, the course winds through the rolling hills and around the rustic barranca, creating a modern links feel, complete with firm and fast fairways and tricky greens. The Championship course, which employs a multi-tee system, is complimented by a picturesque 9-hole academy course, perfect for practice, warming up or simply playing a few holes of an evening.

If you’re thinking about making Dubai your next holiday destination, access has never been easier – with two direct flights from Dublin a day, with a flight time of little over 7 hours.

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