I consider the Abu Dhabi National Golf Course an excellent test of golf. I played the course twice in November 2019, once from the white tees (6,700 yards) and once from the green tees (6,300 yards). As a 9 handicapper, I enjoyed the overall test of golf better from the white tees but choose wisely to get maximum enjoyment from your round.
The presentation of the course was excellent. The greens weren't very quick but they ran very true. The sand in the bunkers was a joy to play from. All of the other grassed areas were nicely presented with no bare areas and the lies were excellent from the fairways and around the greens. Even the areas off the fairways or around the greens where there are a multitude of different bushes and trees were immaculately presented. The level of detail was very noticeable.
There are some very strong holes on the course. The 5th is a great right to left dogleg with a drive over a lake to a none to wide fairway and then on to a green where a high draw would be the best way to attack the flag. The 6th is a good straight par 4 with water to be carried on the approach shot. The 7th is a great par 3 over a lake to a green that sits across you but is none too wide and is long meaning there is a plethora of pin positions. The front nine concludes with a lovely par 4 taking you back to the clubhouse where the ideal line is straight at the body of the iconic falcon.
The back nine also offers some tremendous holes. The par 5 tenth is a great 3 shot hole with plenty of bunkers making life difficult as you try to navigate your way to the green protected by a big bunker in front on the right. My favourite though was the dog leg left to right 11th. You have place your tee shot into the right place over bunkers to have a short shot into a well defended green with plenty of slope from back to front.
A strong par 4 is to be found at the 14th where you must place your tee shot down the right-hand side of a fairway that has water none too far away. The second is to a well-protected green with either a long iron or a hybrid. Other strong holes are to be found at the par 4 17th where a tee shot over water to a well-protected fairway will leave you with a slightly uphill second shot to another green protected on both sides by bunkers. The 18th is a very testing par 5 where similar to the 10th hole, you have to negotiate plenty of strategically placed bunkers to find the green sitting in front of the iconic clubhouse.
Overall, Abu Dhabi National is a very fair golf course. Everything is right in front of you off the tee; it isn't tricked up anywhere over it's entire 18 holes and it's condition when I played was very good.
The practice facilites here are excellent to. A massive range with various targets, a sizeable chipping/pitching green with plenty of bunkers and a good sized putting green with plenty of slopes.
Finally, the Westin Hotel which is right next door to the golf course is excellent and worth a stay.
Date: November 25, 2019