The 10 Best Golf Courses In Dubai, Abu Dhabi And The UAE

22 December 2019
The UAE’s selection of fantastic golf courses has something for everyone, from tour pro to complete beginner

The Dubai Hills Golf Club, which opened at the end of 2018, was recently named the World’s Best New Golf Course at the 2019 World Golf Awards. But it is far from the only golf course worth playing in the UAE. In fact, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi golf courses now among the best in the world, nowhere on the planet is growing as quickly when it comes to top golf courses. The UAE is now an area where quality golf is the norm, not the exception.

These are the pick of the best golf courses in the UAE

Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course), Dubai

Opened: 1988

Designer: Karl Litten

The first ever golf course in the UAE and still the best. The Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis Course hosts the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic every January and offers a more than fitting test for some of the world’s best golfers.

It’s a must-play even if you aren’t quite capable of securing a start in a European Tour event. It is playable by all levels of golfer and, good score or bad, you will relish a trip to a fantastic clubhouse designed in the style of a Bedouin tent. You’ll get a fantastic view of the clubhouse from the par-4 8th hole, which Justin Rose called one of his favourite holes in the world. Coming from a man who has spent over 20 years traveling the globe playing its finest golf courses, that is high praise indeed.

Yas Links Golf Club, Abu Dhabi

Opened: 2010

Designer: Kyle Phillips

The UAE’s only true links course is an absolute must-play. Designed by Kyle Phillips, the man behind top-quality courses such as Kingsbarns, Dundonald Links and The Grove, Yas Links is a masterpiece sandwiched between the Arabian Gulf and the Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The undulating fairways and greens, steep run-offs, cavernous bunkers and wispy rough are as close as you will get to the experience of playing a British Open venue without leaving the UAE.

Dubai Hills Golf Club, Dubai

Opened: 2018

Designer: Gary Johnston

Dubai’s newest golf course is easily one of its best, and was rightly crowned the World’s Best New Golf Course 2019 at the World Golf Awards. Despite the impressive Burj Khalifa being on view from the majority of holes, your attention will always be drawn back to the course itself, such is the quality of design and conditioning. No expense has been spared in the creation of Dubai Hills, with six man-made lakes adding beauty and challenge to the course, and a 45,000-square foot Arabian-themed clubhouse providing the perfect place to unwind after 18 holes.

Dubai Hills is less demanding than European Tour venues Yas Links and the Earth Course, but offers the perfect blend of playability and challenge for all.

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi

Opened: 2010

Designer: Gary Player

Located on Saadiyat Island, to the north east of Abu Dhabi city centre, Saadiyat Beach makes the most of its surroundings with many holes offering spectacular views of the Persian Gulf and a captivating seaside links feel throughout. Gary Player’s design has a very natural feel, a refreshing change from some of the UAE’s more obviously “manufactured” courses. That is not to say it’s any less dramatic; the course features no fewer than 67 bunkers, including one that runs alongside the entire length of fairway on the 338-yard 10th hole.

Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Dubai

Opened: 1993

Designer: Karl Litten, redesigned by Thomas Bjorn in 2005

With many holes playing alongside Dubai Creek, you’ll do well to play 18 holes here without surrendering at least one golf ball to the water. Keep an eye out for the 6th tee in particular, where you’ll tee off from an island in the middle of the creek itself. The final stretch of holes is simply breathtaking, tightly flanking Dubai Creek and playing back towards the iconic clubhouse. Dubai Creek has twice hosted the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic, but it’s a joy to play for golfers of all abilities, provided you take enough balls.

The 9-hole par-3 course is also well worth playing and offers floodlit golf after sunset.

Jumeirah Golf Estates (Earth Course), Dubai

Opened: 2009

Designer: Greg Norman

The European Tour heads to Jumeirah Golf Estates for its season finale DP World Tour Championship every season and we can see why. Whether you are playing or spectating, Greg Norman’s design is simply stunning, with a wonderful variety of holes and a closing stretch that can rival any golf course in the world. It’s a fitting venue to crown the European Tour’s finest player each year, but equally enjoyable for slightly less gifted golfers. Wide fairways and generous greens make it playable for all, while the undulating putting surfaces mean you earn every par and birdie.

Abu Dhabi Golf Club (The National), Abu Dhabi

Opened: 2000

Designer: Peter Harradine

The Abu Dhabi Golf Club is worth a visit if only to see its famous Falcon Clubhouse. The par-72 National Championship Course hosts the European Tour’s HSBC Championship every January and make no mistake, the course is fit to test the world’s best players. There is a premium on accuracy off the tee, although the greens and run-off areas are a little more generous.

There is also a 3,299-yard nine-hole course, offering a gentler test for less accomplished golfers as well as floodlit night golf, with tee times available up to 9pm.

The Els Club, Dubai

Opened: 2008

Designer: Ernie Els

Few golf courses in the world can match The Els Club for year-round immaculate conditioning. The greens roll quick and true, the quality of the turf on the undulating fairways could compete with the fringes at many top-tier golf courses around the world, and white sand bunkers line the fairways and green complexes, providing a stunning contrast to verdant green grass.

“Whether you are an 18-handicap or a scratch golfer, it will be a great test of golf,” says designer and four-time major winner Ernie Els. “The course is something very special. It combines the best of all the great clubs I have played worldwide and the golf challenge is second to none.”

Al Zorah Golf Club, Ajman

Opened: 2015

Designer: Nicklaus Design

Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Dubai, Al Zorah provides a wonderful slice of peace and tranquility for those wanting a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Teeing off amongst acres of mangroves, surrounded by flamingoes and other migratory birds, Al Zorah offers an experience unlike any other golf course in the UAE.
Generous fairways encourage you to unleash your driver without fear; unless you hit it into the water, you will almost always find your ball. It’s a perfect place to play in a group of golfers of mixed abilities, as it’s less daunting than some of the UAE courses that host European Tour events.

Al Hamra Golf Club, Ras Al Khaimah

Opened: 2007

Designer: Peter Harradine

The most northerly golf course in the UAE, Al Hamra meanders through the desert and four interconnected open-water lagoons that merge seamlessly with the adjacent Arabian Gulf. Al Hamra has hosted the European Challenge Tour on several occasions and provides a thoroughly enjoyable test for all levels of golfer.

Nine of the holes are floodlit for night golf – a great option when daytime temperatures are particularly high.