One of my primary expectations of the courses in Dubai is that the manicuring and overall conditioning of the courses throughout the year is of an exceptional standard. With Arabian Ranches something is not quite right at the moment, yes the style of the course is more linksy and the course is designed to sit within its environment rather than impose upon it but the fairways and greens are not up to local standards. The fairways are showing signs of significant wear and tear and require a fair amount of additional maintenance to improve them; the greens have, in over 50% of the cases, been patched up with new turf; and the rough (desert sand and scrub) is poorly maintained. There are also some drainage issues meaning that there are pools of water throughout the rough. Despite these criticisms some financial investment into the course will bring it back to the standard it should be. On a more positive note the course layout is excellent and with a variety of tees this course will test all standards of golfer. There is a premium on hitting fairways and the green complexes are challenging but fair. The variety in length of the Par 4’s and 5’s means that you will use a variety of clubs off the tee and the cleverly angled fairways will punish any poorly directed tee shot. The wind plays a large factor here and although the par 3’s are quite similar in length I used different clubs on each. The clubhouse is excellent and the practice facilities are very good. A little bit of investment into the course and I would easily rate this course one ball higher, if not two. If you are coming to Dubai and want to play a course that is more in keeping with the environment (aside from the Majlis) than the other notable courses (Earth, Els, Creek) then this is worth a visit, but only when they upgrade the maintenance schedule.
Date: March 16, 2012