Just 25 minutes from the Dubai International Airport in Ajman, Al Zorah Golf Course is the first solo project in the Middle East for Nicklaus Design. An 18-hole championship golf course that makes exquisite use of its natural surroundings, Al Zorah is yet another of Dubai's burgeoning cannon of must-play courses.
A stunning vista of flowing dunes, extensive mangroves and pristine paspalum grass, the course presents an endlessly varying challenge as the tides ebb in and out. The mangrove reserves are essentially water hazards when the tide is in and wet bunkers when the tide is out, meaning you may be able to get away with wayward shots at low tide. There's only sparing use of bunkers, but when they appear they appear in force. While the 10th and 11th have no greenside bunkers at all, preferring instead to entrap you with run-offs that feed into a series of greenside hollows, the run of holes from the 6th to the 8th are as heavily guarded as any greens in Dubai.
The most memorable shot is probably the drive from the visually stunning island tee boxes of the par-5 9th. With one million square metres of mangroves to your right, there's plenty of opportunity for a lost ball, but if you can hold your nerve and aim towards the left edge of the clubhouse in the distance you should end up in decent shape.
The toughest hole at Al Zorah Golf Course is the 450-yard 13th, a par-4 dogleg with water left and bunkers to the right, ready to ensnare anything too conservative off the tee. Even from position A, your approach will be a nervy one, with the green jutting out into the water. Again, anything too conservative can leave you in trouble, facing a difficult chip to the lightning fast green, with water behind. The green itself is riddled with subtle breaks and contours, making a par here a real cause for celebration.
Even if there are no birdies on your scorecard, the course is home to more than 50 species of bird, including storks, herons and sparrows, making it feel like you're playing golf in a nature reserve. The fairways are typically in immaculate condition, with your ball sitting up nicely, while the greens run fast and true. It truly is a feast for the senses.
Away from the course, there's a 50-bay driving range and a modern pavilion-style clubhouse featuring a pro shop and an array of restaurants offering a wide variety of fresh and contemporary cuisine and some of the most scenic backdrops in Dubai. There's also a superb 9-hole academy course which only adds to the luxurious feel of the resort, providing the golfer with absolutely everything they could possibly need at what has become one of the jewels in the Emirates Golf scene.