From the best time to tee-off to all the major tournaments, here’s everything you need to know about playing golf in Dubai.
Home to three of the world’s top 100 golf courses and host to three major world tournaments, Dubai is certainly on the global golf radar. We chat to Robbie Greenfield, editor of Golf Digest Middle East, about desert and beachfront golf and why Dubai is the best place to play this winter.
Describe the golf scene in the emirate
The Dubai golf scene is very vibrant, very diverse - there are extremely good golf courses in the region. We have high-profile professional golf tournaments and in the winter months, it really is one of the best places on the planet to play golf. The quality and diversity of the courses are really quite exceptional: you've got desert golf, mature parkland-style golf and beachfront golf.
What do you get here that you can't anywhere else in the world?
Accessibility to some of the best golf courses and course condition. The courses are always pristine. There's a lot of variety. And then there's the service. All the clubs in Dubai really know how to treat visiting golfers and that's what sets the experience apart. It's not just about playing 18 holes. From when you arrive at the front door to when you leave at the bag drop, you're treated like a king.
So, why should visitors choose Dubai for golf?
There are ten to 12 courses now, all of very high quality. You can come and play where the pros plays. We host some top European Tour events including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the DP World Tour Championship and Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. Plus, there are great restaurants and a host of attractions to keep you busy off the course. You can plan an entire golfing itinerary where you play everyday or you can make golf a smaller part of a bigger holiday.
Who is the sport in Dubai for?
Golf in Dubai is for everyone. It’s for both experienced players and beginners, families or solo players. There’s a lot of coaching available. If you want to introduce your children to the game, you can take advantage of that. Or play as a couple. Anyone can join in - all the clubs are accessible; there are no private clubs here. Everyone welcomes visitors.
What's the perfect golf holiday in Dubai?
I'm an avid golfer and I try to play as much as possible on holiday. If you're looking to do that there are so many good places to choose from - there's Emirates Golf Club, Jumeirah Golf Estates (both of which host top events), and away from that you've got a plethora of fantastic courses like the Els Club, the iconic Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club with the clubhouse that looks beautiful against the Dubai Creek, The Address Montgomerie Dubai, Arabian Ranches…there really is a lot to choose from. Even out as far as Jebel Ali, there's a wonderful resort course there, too.
What’s your top pick?
There are so many possible itineraries. I would suggest you play the Majlis - the first grass course in the Middle East. It hosts the Dubai Desert Classic and is the one where everyone wants to play, where the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlRoy and Ernie Els have all won championships. For the sheer wow factor, with the backdrop of the Dubai skyline, you really have to play there. Other than that, cherry pick a couple of the courses or opt for play wall to wall golf!
Any insider tips?
Pack sunscreen. Also, choose your time. Courses are slightly less busy during the week but on the weekends (Friday-Saturday), they tend to fill out with members. So plan your golfing activity during the week, ideally a Thursday. The late afternoon tee times are great. You get the sunsets and it's a magical place to be on the golf course. Tee off around 1-2pm, finish at sundown, and then you can relax on the terrace.
Catch up on all the action with our guide to the top golf tournaments in Dubai