The Emirates Golf Club is the inspiration of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his Royal Pavilion – styled in the fashion of a Bedouin tent – nestles behind the 8th green. The Majlis course opened for play in 1988 and it was the first 18-hole grass golf course to open in the Middle East. The layout follows a blueprint by Karl Litten and it’s literally carved through the desert. Narrow green ribbons of fairway wind their way through natural slightly undulating terrain. Expect to play a few sand shots at The Emirates Club.
Without doubt, the Majlis course is one of the finest layouts in the United Arab Emirates and it’s the well-known venue of the Dubai Desert Classic tournament, which always attracts the world’s best players. The Majlis course stretches out to some 7,301 yards from the tips with par set at 72. Tall desert dunes frame the perimeter of the course and numerous salt and freshwater lakes come into play on several holes.
Large, fast greens are a hallmark of the Emirates Club and these slick putting surfaces can cause great problems for club golfers, especially if the Course Manager is feeling mean with his pin placements.
A cluster of memorable holes will stick in the mind, especially the par three 7th which must carry the full length of a lake and, as with all great courses, the Majlis has a wonderful closing hole which requires an approach shot across yet another lake to a long and thin double green which is fashioned in the shape of a bow tie. The hopes of a number of potential Desert Classic winners – including Ian Woosnam and Tiger Woods – have been dashed at this wicked par five closing hole.
The clubhouse is also well known and is one of Dubai’s amazing landmarks. In a similar vein to the Royal Pavilion, the clubhouse represents a cluster of Bedouin tents. It goes without saying that inside it’s a sumptuous experience.
This clearly is a course that splits opinion, but in my humble one it is a fantastic course with some great holes of differing varieties, some brutes and some less challenging.
I was interested to read the review immediately before me saying there was no variety and i wonder if he was actually on the same course as me, that is absurd !
I understand that missing the fairway can be a nightmare as you end up in a sandy wasteland, but unlike a lot of sand bordered courses this sand is very deep and very fine, its really tough to hit out of and more often that not you get a shocking lie.
That said if you hit the fairways and plot your way around this is a brilliant course in my opinion, but one i suspect if you play badly you will not be a fan of, but i loved it.
I’m afraid this course is extremely over-rated by many and it’s great to see it has fallen down the rankings. I first played four years ago and reserved judgement until returning this week. If you’ve got 5 days or less in the UAE, skip this course.
It is worth mentioning that everything off the golf course is superb - the service and facilities are all superb - and it’s a great place to hang out before and after golf, but the course itself is the let-down. It seems to have very little, if any, strategy to it on most holes. Instead of any options of how to play it, or where to miss it, hole after hole just says “hit this shot or you’re dead”. That’s great if you only want the one-dimensional test of whether you can execute the shot but if you want thinking golf this isn’t it. There is simply no subtlety or guile to the design. There are some exceptions: the 12th is a really good long par 4 with an excellent, bunker less green. The short 17th is also a great little hole. However, both loops end with very contrived holes around water to a double green perched behind water, the backdrop to which is the stunning clubhouse. However it may have been more fitting to add a pair of large black mouse ears to the top.
If you’re after thinking golf, this isn’t it. If you just want to test how well you can execute the same shot off a flat lie time and time again, maybe save some cash and go to the Topgolf next door.
This is my favorite golfcourse in the Middle East. There are no two holes alike amd no weak holes. The par 3s are short but challenging. The front 9 has some challenging par4s including the spectacular 8 with the skyline in the background. If you get through the front without too many bruises you can score well on the back 9. Cut the corner on 13, 14, 17 and 18 to put yourself in great position. Few courses offer such an opportunity to improve your score on the last few holes. The 18th is my favorite - cut the corner and set yourself up for a 200 yard plus shot over water to the green for that elusive eagle which will fix your score for the day.
Course is under refurbishment and I cannot wait for the new greens to be ready in the fall. Fairways and the rest of the course always in great condition.
Top notch service from a lot of staffers with 20 years or more at the club.
Fabulous course in fabulous condition when I played it. Looks so different without all the stands up like you see on TV. Is a good test of golf where you have to find fairways to score well. Like all golf courses in Dubai, the facilities and hospitality are outstanding, and this is one of the 3 must plays if you are in Dubai.
I've been lucky enough to play here on a few occasions - all in February and just after the DDC, so the course is in absolute pristine condition. The do slow the greens ever so slightly, but they are still incredibly quick for normal club golfers. And of course, when you play at this time of year, the Media tents are still up around the 9th/18th greens, so you do feel like you are a pro on tour!
The course itself is one of the best in the world... question whether its worth the green fee, but you have to remember... you're in Dubai
When you play the 18th, remember and drop a ball near Monty's plaque and see if you can even reach the green, never mind hole the putt for eagle. The words "Tin Cup" will spring to mind. As for the rest of the course, remember and get that photo from the 8th tee as you drill your drive onto the fairway... and if you keep it on the short stuff you can score well - the thick rough just off the fairways can be brutal... if you miss the fairway, miss it by a long way and you can hit a decent shot from the dry scrubland
You cannot fault anything about the standard set at the club, from arrival to departure. It's 5 star service all the way. Treat yourself while you're in Dubai and get a game here
Almost certainly the most difficult course in the emirate, with fast greens, dense rough and mixture of heavy bunkering and sandy waste areas. Can be tough to get a tee-time and is on the higher end price-wise, but worth the wait to get on.
Best Hole: 5- Holes 8 and 18 tend to win the plaudits but I'm inclined to say 5. A long par 4 requires a straight drive to have any hope of a second shot at the green, which lies over a body of water about 100 yards out.
This course is not for the faint hearted or those who do not like playing on firm and very fast greens. In addition if you do not like playing out of sandy waste areas with tricky scrub then this is not the course for you. If those factors do not dissuade you then you will be playing one of the most immaculately prepared courses I the Middle East. There is lilttle point me describing the holes they are exactly as many readers will have seen on the TV however, do not think this is a flat course there are some significant elevation changes. The 18th is my personal favourite.
Home to the Dubai Desert Classic, the Emirates Golf Club would be far from my favorite type of course as a self-proclaimed purist. However, one thing they most certainly had to work with was sandy soil. This club is truly the closest I have ever come to the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz and I’m now 99.9% certain that the surrounding city skyline was carefully planned after this wild idea. It’s amazing what can happen in the course of 20 years. If you see old photos there were no buildings in the backdrop at all when this course was built. Now it’s clear the Wizard has been busy. Please see my photo here to understand what I mean.
As for the course, it’s actually quite fun and has some decent holes, to be fair all of which are challenging and can be played back to near ridiculous lengths due to the tour event. I would say there are far more hard doglegs here both to the left and right than most courses you will run into. I guess that just goes to prove that this course was built to host big events and challenge the world’s best. Now that’s not always a good thing but it is one of the cases where a large part of the draw to this course is so you can play what you see on TV. Now that’s always fun but I wouldn’t want to make a hobby of it.
On my day there I was playing with a few friends and clearly over powered and out classed. These guys made the course look pretty easy. To be fair one was playing to a +6 hcp which makes my (- 5) hcp a bit humorous. Though we are talking 11 shots minimum differential. The course is a fun challenge for him but with the lack of tournament conditions and pressure he swept up with a rather mundane 65. Nothing fancy there but it seems there are several birdie holes I didn’t translate as such. He just hit it over all the doglegs as did our other + hcp playing partners. The strategy at Emirates is much different if your average drive carries 280 yards. Then indeed there are quite a few birdie holes.
The greens were fairly undulating, smallish, fast and bumpy. The course obviously gets a lot of play and ups its maintenance game around the big event. Much of the rest of the year they are treading a careful balance between not killing off the grass in the high temperatures and keeping a moderate level of maintenance. The grasses seem quite similar to what you might find in Florida and the strain of Bermuda they are using is very sticky and tough to play out of around the greens. A 60-degree wedge is a staple when missing greens.
All in all, the course delivers an interesting day and a surreal experience in what I can only literally refer to as a cartoon-like setting. A great experience but I certainly wouldn’t ask for it by name though I’d love to have another round soon with my buddies who are playing there. However, maybe I’d do better to just caddy for them and see how the 0.01% handle such a place.
There is no other way to describe this course as than Incredible. Simply the best condition I have seen (and will most likely see) a golf course in. We were lucky enough to play the week after the pros had been on for the Dubai Desert Classic. I had been there earlier in the week to play the Faldo under the floodlights and I had been looking forward to this all week.
We played with a member who had retired at 40 and lives the life with houses in Dubai, Portugal and close to Royal Birkdale back home! A very nice guy and a great guide.
From arriving, as with most courses abroad, bags disappeared instantly from the valet's and we were set to explore the magnificent venue. The locker room was a very unique shape and nice to see the lockers the previous winners of the annual event held there as well as a club from each winners bag. Upon arrival we were also given as many tee's as we wanted, and a lovely ceramic bag tag which is still standing proud on my bag!
The practice range and balls are incredible, I love a grass range and I spent a few other evenings down there in the evening under the lights hitting balls. I couldn't get enough (My wallet could though!)
A three putt on the first and a perfectly hit bunker shot landing 2 foot from the lip still ending up in the water a good 50 feet away (greens that quick) wasn't the best of starts. I also didn't get the memo that the 18th and 9th green were shared, so when my partner told me the pin was 156, I conveniently didn't see the 9th pin and aimed straight at the 18th pin, which was a few more yards away (splash, double!)
The back 9 was a lot better for me, birdie on the 215 yard par 3 and a birdie down the last off the pro tees I was over the moon with. All the sponsor hoardings and stands did make the experience even more phenomenal, walking through the media tent on the way from the 18th.
The layout is incredible, the views are even better, you quite simply have to play here if you can. The 8th is the money shot, off the tee you have the perfect chance for a photo with all of the towers behind you, well most holes have that too! The layout I could argue that Dubai Creek was on par with, but the overall experience and condition of the course is on a different level. The only negative, £250 a round, £10 a pint and £15,000 pa membership! Maybe in another life!
Played: January 2018
Walk between tees/ Course Congestion: 9/10
OVERALL SCORE : 47/50
The early days of golfing in the vast desert of Dubai involves the creation of the Majlis course at the Emirates Golf Club in 1998. Over the years, numerous iconic images from this course have become known around the world including the Bedouin tents for the clubhouse and of course the jaw-dropping skyline of Dubai that grabs your attention from many optimal vantage points. Over the past 20 years, Dubai has exploded with luxurious and state-of-the-art construction. Skyscrapers firms competing left, right and centre with each other for the tallest or most attractive tower in town.
As expected, the golf course is flat which wasn’t a surprise and with the annual visit from the European Tour, many more bunkers have been added to block access to greens or catch stray tee shots.
The extreme heat also puts far too much strain on the grass which leads to excessive amount of maintenance.