Dubai is home to three of the world’s top 100 golf courses and three major world tournaments, so with the heat of summer now replaced with cool temperatures, vibrant blue skies and warm sunshine, it’s the perfect time for golfers to hit the city’s beautiful greens.
The Dubai golf scene is one of the most vibrant, diverse and accessible in the world, offering quality, pristine courses designed by some of the biggest names in the sport. This winter the city plays host to the DP World Tour Championship, the final tournament of the European Tour Race, at Dubai Jumeirah Golf Estates, as well as the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, to name a few.
Whether you’re a keen spectator or player, here’s a rundown of Dubai’s best golf courses to get you in the swing of things.
Emirates Golf Club
Home of the world-renowned Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Emirates Golf Club is the king of the greens in the Middle East. The club comprises three immaculate courses: The Majlis, The Faldo and Par 3. The Majlis, also known as the Desert Miracle, was the first grass course to be built in the Middle East, with the perfect par-72 course complemented by seven lakes and taking its name from the Arabic word for 'meeting place’. One of its most prominent features is the Majlis building itself, positioned between the eighth and ninth holes – it’s been a Dubai landmark since 1988.
Green fees: from AED350, depending on peak times and course
Jumeirah Golf Estates
The prestigious Jumeirah Golf Estates form a luxury golf and residential community in the heart of the city. Uniquely designed by golf pro Greg Norman, the two championship courses, Fire and Earth, have been manicured to represent these natural elements. And, for residents and visiting golfers alike, the expanse of grassy fairways and first-class golf courses don’t go unnoticed. The Norman Country Club also underpins this admirable development.
Green fees: between AED455 and AED1,095, depending on peak times and course
Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club
A thriving community of active members and a stunning clubhouse are just two of the features that have brought global fame to Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. But above all else, this fun, scenic course, situated right on the historic Dubai Creek, is known for its challenging finishing stretch. Running right up against the bank of the Creek, its green has been inspiring golfers and breaking hearts in equal measure for 20 years. Voted one of the world’s ‘Top 100 Must-Play Golf Courses’ by Golf World magazine, the course is a worthy opponent for even the most skilled golfer. And nothing can prepare you for the grandstand finish, where amazing panoramic views of Dubai are a worthy consolation to any missed swings.
Green fees: AED625 for off-peak and AED725 for peak time
Jebel Ali Golf Resort
Designed by locally-based architect Peter Harradine, the course at Jebel Ali Golf Resort offers a wonderful sense of seclusion. You’ll find a rich variety of trees, shrubs, strutting peacocks and chorus of songbirds, creating the impression you're strolling around an exotic secret garden. The nine-hole track is a local and global favourite, thanks to its many challenges. Beginning and ending with a par 5, it’s an unusually tight layout by Dubai standards, placing a premium on accurate tee shots and measured approaches. The greens typically run fast, and while the holes are not long, they can be tricky when the breeze is up.
Green fees: From AED195, depending on peak times and course
Five Dubai golf courses you might not know about
Arabian Ranches Golf Club
Set in the heart of one of Dubai’s most established residential communities, this true desert-style grass course has been attracting golfers for more than 12 years. Players love the natural flow of the 18-hole, par 72 course, which meanders through the sand dunes – a design concept developed by Ian Baker-Finch in collaboration with Niklaus Design. There’s also a floodlit driving range and putting green, as well as a Spanish-style clubhouse with an 11-room hotel, restaurant, bar and nail spa.
Al Badia Golf Club
A challenging 18-hole course with floodlit driving range and extras including MATT swing analysis and a Science and Motion putting laboratory (SAM PuttLab). It’s located in Dubai Festival City, just a stone’s throw from Dubai International Airport.
The Address Montgomerie Dubai
Designed by Colin Montgomerie and Desmond Muirhead, this course boasts 123 acres of playable turf in a 265-acre environment. Located in swanky Emirates Hills, the course also offers a floodlit driving range, a putting green and a nine-hole par 3. The Montgomerie is unique in that its pay-and-play prices fluctuate depending on demand.
The Els Club
At first glance, this course looks easy, but its wide, inviting fairways lure you into trouble around every hole, in the form of deep, well-hidden bunkers. The course measures a whopping 7,538 yards, but comprises five sets of tees, giving players of all skill levels a fair test. The two nines loop around the villas of Victory Heights at what was the first venue completed in the multi-billion-dollar Dubai’s Sports City precinct.
The Track is a nine-hole pay-and-play golf course located next to the Meydan Racecourse on the site of the old Nad Al Sheba racecourse. Tee markers (shaped like horse shoes, of course) in five colours transform the course from a challenging 3,700 yards in length to a more manageable 2,690 yards.