Dubai is now a destination for everyone who loves entertainment, luxury tourism, and nightlife. More than a city, it is a glittering oasis in the desert in the most literal sense. What about golf? For the past few years, Dubai has also become a pilgrimage destination for golf addicts from around the world. How?
Grass or sand fields?
Dubai is located in the heart of the Arabian Desert, amidst sand dunes and expanses of rock. At a glance, it would not seem an ideal place to build a golf course, requiring grass to be watered once or more a day. Yet, Dubai manages to offer us both incredible water spectacles and amazing verdant golf courses.
Dubai offers a wide range of golf courses, suitable for players of all levels. The grass on these courses is nothing like the grass on Irish greens (or nearly so), even the taller, thicker grass found in the rough. In short, despite the hostile environment, Dubai’s golf courses are largely traditional grass courses, albeit enhanced by palm trees and extravagant designs. And then there is Al Ghazal.
Al Ghazal is a sand golf course; one of the best sand golf courses in the world, to be precise. It is a legacy of how golf was once played in the desert, trying to scramble through dunes and sand in the eyes. There is not a single blade of grass on the fairways, and the tees consist of synthetic grass mats.
To go to Dubai and not even once play Al Ghazal would be doing a huge disservice to the city and to yourself. A round in such a field is indeed an adventure that you are unlikely to repeat elsewhere.
In summer, better to play at night
In summer, Dubui records about 25°C. At night. During the day, temperatures range between 39°C and 41°C: playing golf (or any other outdoor sport) could be tricky. For this reason, local golf clubs have decided to cater to tourists and locals who feel like playing even in July and August. To avoid fainting on the green, most places also open at night.
As seen above, temperatures at night are acceptable, if not pleasant. Both the 18- or 9-hole courses and the driving ranges are therefore equipped with huge floodlights that illuminate them brightly. Die-hard golf addicts book their tee times for after sunset and tee off in a surreal atmosphere, somewhere between the green of the holes and the pitch black of the desert sky.
The ensemble is spectacular and magical, especially in the more scenic fields that allow you to enjoy the illuminated skyline of the city.
The most famous golf club to offer such a service is theEmirates Golf Club, which keeps both Majilis Course and the Faldo Course open at night. The second is the most spectacular, given the central location amidst the illuminated skyscrapers.
The Omega Dubai Desert Classic
We cannot talk about Dubai and golf without mentioning theOmega Dubai Desert Classic, the city’s premier official tournament. It is held in conjunction with theEuropean Tour and is the event that has contributed most to the spread of golf in the Emirates.
The event is relatively recent, especially compared with the majors. The first edition was in 1989 and was held under the name Karl Litten Desert Classic. Over the years, the tournament has seen its prize pool grow from year to year, attracting more and more high-level Professionals. Lucas Herbert, winner of the 2020 edition, took home an impressive 490,323 euros in prize money.
In 2021, why not take advantage of the new edition for a nice vacation among dunes and golf courses?