Dubai is known the world over for being a great holiday destination and it is rapidly becoming the first choice among golfers.
If you are looking to play golf in a warm climate, with high quality hotels, lovely food, world class shopping and some of the most spectacular architecture anywhere on the planet, you should head to Dubai.
Dubai is a city and emirate located in the United Arab Emirates and is the largest and most popular city in the UAE.
Situated on the south-east coast of the Persian Gulf, you should have little difficulty in travelling to the city for a golf holiday. There are over 7,000 weekly flights operated by 125 airlines from 260 destinations around the world, meaning you will find a flight to Dubai with no problem and many of them are direct.
Even if you are planning to visit a different country, such as Australia for example, many flights stop in Dubai and you could easily spend a few days in the emirate playing golf before continuing your journey. It’s a great way to break up a long flight.
When planning a golf holiday to Dubai, you must take the climate into account. Dubai has a tropical desert climate and therefore the summer months can be extremely hot and humid. Temperatures between June and August can easily reach 40 degrees and this not ideal for playing golf.
While the summer months remain dry, even those who love hot weather will find playing golf very difficult in 40-degree temperatures, so you are advised to plan your golf holiday between September and April. You are still guaranteed warm weather and any precipitation you will find refreshing and the small amounts you do get will not have any impact at all on your golf.
When choosing which Dubai golf courses to play when in the emirate can be tough, as there are so many championship golf courses from which to choose, each offering something different from the next.
The Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club
Sometimes called the "Desert Miracle" and home to the Dubai Desert Classic
What better place to start your tour of the best golf courses in Dubai than the first grass course ever to be built in the Middle East, the Emirates Golf Cub.
The Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club was called the ‘Desert Miracle’ when it opened for play in 1988 and is a par-72, 18-hole course playing to 7,300 yards from the back tees.
You cannot fail to be impressed with this golf course, in every respect. As a regular host of the Dubai Desert Classic and European Ladies Tour, this is a golf course which is kept in immaculate condition throughout the year. If you want to play on a golf course where every detail is met with perfection, you owe it to yourself to play a round on the Majlis Course.
The course winds its way through the desert and you cannot fail to notice the huge sand dunes which flank the course, in addition to the salt and fresh water lakes which come into play on several holes. If you manage to leave the Majlis Course without playing one shot from the sand, you know you have had a great round.
Big, quick greens are a prominent feature on the course and depending on the pin placements, they can play very tough, with approach shots very important to avoid a three putt. You will never forget the memorable closing hole, which requires a shot over a lake towards a double green, which is narrow and forms the shape of a bow tie.
Also, look out for the 10th green which is island like thanks to the surrounding sand and you cannot fail to see the huge skyscrapers which make for a spectacular backdrop to the course.
If you are not sure where to start your Dubai golf break, the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club comes highly recommended.
Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates
The first course in Dubai built by Greg Norman which hosted the Dubai World Championship
If you would like to try your luck at another golf course in Dubai which is home to a first in golf, head to the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. This was the first Greg Norman designed golf course to open for play in the Middle East and the first shot to be played on the course, was in the inaugural Dubai World Championship in 2009.
Boasting rolling fairways, numerous water hazards and over 100 bunkers, this parkland style course is quite open and offers generous landing areas on several holes. However, playing to a lengthy 7,700 yards plus the threat of water and sand throughout the 18 holes, the Earth Course is a good test, especially when the wind picks up.
It’s no exaggeration to say you could easily be playing one sand shot per hole if you are not on form but the course tempts you to take out the driver on every par 4 and 5 hole and it is hard to resist.
The Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates is always well conditioned and with a superb clubhouse plus excellent facilities and service, you will enjoy a tremendous day of golf.
Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club
Definately one of the finest courses in Dubai with best two finishing holes
If you are itching to get on the golf course as soon as you touch down in Dubai, you should make the very shot journey to the Dubai Creek and Yacht Club. Here you will find an 18-hole championship course which is renowned for being one of the best golf courses in Dubai.
This is a golf course which has so many challenging, memorable holes you will struggled to select one as being your favourite come the end of the round. Despite playing below 7,000 yards from the back tees, do not think this course will be a doddle because shot selection is crucial to obtain a low score.
The 17th and 18th holes at Dubai Creek and Yacht Club are regarded as two of the best finishing holes anywhere in the world. When in the clubhouse after your round, you are sure to hear many people discussing these holes, yourself included.
The fairway on each hole is narrow and you have the creek on one side and sand and trees on the other, making an accurate tee shot essential. The temptation is to keep the ball right, away from the creek but in doing so, you will find trouble. You may only get one chance to play this golf course in your life time, so be bold and attack the middle of the fairway as you are sure to walk into the clubhouse with a huge smile on your face, regardless of the outcome.
Dubai Creek and Yacht Club is comfortably one of the best golf courses in Dubai and if there is one thing you are guaranteed to remember, it is the final two holes.
The Els Club Dubai
Part of the Dubai Sports city and one of Ernie's best layouts
Moving from the Dubai Creek to the huge Dubai Sports City and here you will find the Els Club, which was the first component of the Sports City to be completed. Now home to several other major sports such as football with the Manchester United Soccer School and cricket thanks to the ICC’s Global Cricket Academy, Dubai Sports City is the place to be for those with any interest in sport.
However, the Els Club remains the number one attraction at Dubai Sports City and as you can judge buy the name of the golf club, the course was designed by South African golfing legend, Ernie Els.
This 18-hole championship golf course plays to just over 7,500 yards and while that may seem on the lengthy side for some players, a choice of four tees on each hole plus sizeable landing areas on several fairways make the Els Club suitable for golfers of all abilities.
You cannot fail to miss the water hazards, especially on the 7th and 15th holes but it’s the sand in the bunkers which is the standout feature of this golf course. The sand in the bunkers which line both the fairways and the greens is snowy white in colour and when the sun is shining on them, they are very bright indeed.
For the purist golfer this is something which has come in for criticism but those who know what to expect when it comes to playing golf or doing anything else in Dubai for the matter, should know they do not do things by halves. Yes, it is different but that does not make it wrong and if nothing else, you cannot say you didn’t notice the bunker when your ball lands in the sand.
Many of the greens are elevated at the Els Club, so you must be accurate with your approach play or find your ball rolling away from the green, towards the nice, bright sand.
Away from the golf course, the Els Club is home to the Butch Harmon School of Golf and here you can use physical screening and three-dimensional video analysis to perfect your game. It does not come cheap but you will struggle to find anything else like it in the world.
The Address Montgomerie Dubai
Monty has built a course which will test every aspect of your golfing game
Finally, when deciding which of the best golf courses in Dubai to include on your itinerary, you should consider The Address Montgomerie Dubai.
As the name suggests, this golf course was designed by the famous Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie and it is an open, 18-hole championship golf course, designed to play and feel like a links-style course.
Due to the styling, there are not many trees on this golf course and it comes complete with a variety of lakes, sand and mounding.
You will notice the size of the green complexes at the Montgomerie Dubai, which are huge and these coupled with the water are the two features of the course which really draw the attention.
Talking about the green complexes and you will notice something special about the green on the par-3 13th hole. The late Desmond Muirhead, who co-designed the course with Montgomerie was known to add the occasional extravagant touch to his golf courses and the green on the 13th hole has been created in the shape of United Arab Emirates.
As highlighted above, this is Dubai and you must be prepared for something a bit different, even on the golf course.
Keep a note of the wind when you begin your round at the Montgomerie Dubai because it can have a huge impact on your shots, especially the par-3 holes. As you head to the 18th hole, you cannot afford to switch off and think the job is done if you have a low score. The 18th is a mammoth 650 yards and if the wind is blowing, it can easily ruin a good score.
The Montgomerie Dubai is a fun course to play and will test your short game more than your long game, so if you would like to see how are developing with your short irons, this is the golf course for you.
Dubai Hills Golf Club
The Championship Course at Dubai Hills Golf Club is one of the most highly rated in Dubai.
Dubai is a spectacular place for a golf holiday and there are some tremendous golf courses to enjoy. One of which is Dubai Hills Golf Club.
The 18 hole, par-72 golf course plays to 7,283 yards from the back tees but with a selection of five tee boxes, every golfer can play at Dubai Hills Golf Club. The course has been created from the sand dunes and the large, rolling fairways tempt you to pull out the driver on the par-4 and par-5 holes.
The lakes and strategically placed bunkers are the main hazards to avoid on the course. The greens are undulating and lengthy putts can prove very tricky. The golf course itself is great on the eye bit it is hard to ignore the sight of the Burj Khalifa in the background. The iconic building sits in the backdrop of several holes but following a gentle start on the first hole, focus must be on the course for a low score.
The 3rd hole is a good example and you are met with a deep desert valley which crosses the fairway. You must decide whether to try and clear it or layup. The decision making and course design ramps up the deeper you go into the round and Dubai Hills Golf Club is an exceptional addition to golf in the United Arab Emirates.
As one would expect from a golf club in Dubai, the facilities are superb.The above golf courses are the best golf courses in Dubai and you will find plenty to challenge, enjoy and amuse playing each of them. However, they are not the only golf courses available in Dubai, which is continuing to grow as a great location for a golf holiday.
Trump International Golf Course
The par-3 holes are arguably the best feature of this golf course
Moving on and another great golfing option in Dubai is Trump International Golf Course. The man himself may course controversy but there is nothing but positive things to say about this golf course in Dubai.
As one would expect, the clubhouse and facilities at Trump International Golf Course Dubai are tremendous. It is like checking into a 5-star hotel and the practice facilities are all in great condition, with professional golfers choosing to use them on occasion.
The 18 hole championship golf course has been designed by golf architect Gil Hanse and his partner Jim Wagner. It is playable for players of all abilities thanks to the different tee boxes on each hole. The course can play from 5,200 to 7,200 yards.
The fairways at Trump International Golf Course Dubai are rolling and wide. Most players will have little trouble finding the fairway from the tee. The sandy areas surrounding the fairway are not easy to play from but lost balls are at a minimum.
The par-3 holes are arguably the best feature of this golf course. They have each been well designed, with various bunkers and shapes to the holes throughout. The greens are firm and fast, making putting a challenge, especially if the pin position is on top of a crest. The condition of the course at Trump International Golf Course Dubai is superb and you are assured of a magnificent day, both on and off the course at this venue.
Dubai is also home to the Arabian Ranches Golf Club, which was created by the 1991 Open Championship winner Ian Baker-Finch and the Fire Course, which is part of the Jumeirah Golf Estates. The Fire Course is designed by Greg Norman and while similar in design to the Earth Course, is not as testing thanks to more strategic options and more receptive greens.
The Emirates Golf Club is also home to a second golf course, called the Faldo course thanks to the work of Nick Faldo in reworking the course. Water plays a large role in the opening nine holes but the back nine are more interesting and this course can be played late at night, thanks to the floodlights.
If the weather is proving too hot for you to play a round of golf in the day time, you can always book a round of golf on the Faldo Course at the Emirates Golf Club after dark, when the temperatures are cooler.
Dubai is a sensational place to spend time playing golf. The mix of excellent championship golf courses combined with top hotels, huge shopping malls and relaxing beaches makes Dubai a great place for a golf holiday.