I played this course in December 2012 on a 4 course golf tour. The course was in fabulous condition and looked a picture. We played off the green tees, and although reasonably long at 7045 yards it was very playable fast but not lightning greens that held the ball pretty well. There are some great holes. I know that because as I was playing them I was thinking to myself: 'This is another great hole'. However I would have to go back and play the course again to be able to describe them properly, because somehow, with the exception of the finish with all the water, they all blend into each other and the overall experience is somehow not as memorable as it should be. My overriding memory is of standing on numerous tees and looking out at a sea of bunkers and wondering where on 'Earth' I was supposed to hit the ball? The course is a real test of ball-striking to avoid these numerous hazards, but somehow the holes lack definition as a result. Even the final hole, which is certainly memorable with the stream running up the middle of the fairway, feels a bit tricked up. I wanted to love this course, and given the great condition, the excitement of playing so soon after the Race to Dubai, and the fact that I played my best golf of the tour here there was every reason why it should have been my favourite. But at the end of the day the sister course (Fire) has far more memorable holes and Earth is probably not worth the extra premium on the green fee. 4 Balls, which might get to 5 if they ever open the clubhouse to get the off-course experience up to scratch.
Date: March 23, 2013