Located a couple of kilometres to the west of King Khalid International Airport, just 20 minutes to the north of the capital, Riyadh Golf Courses is a welcome getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city itself.
Billed as the “Pearl of The Desert” the plurally named Riyadh Golf Courses currently comprises of only one 18-hole course, but it certainly has length, measuring almost 7,000 yards from the tips. However, wide fairways and a generally forgiving layout ensure that the going is not as taxing as the scorecard suggests.
Originally opening as a sand course in 1986, work was completed on the current grass course in 2005. The layout has a good mix of holes, from long par fives to drivable par fours and there’s no doubt that the 2nd falls into the former camp. This stroke index two hole was once a par six measuring more than 700 yards, but even in its par five 600-yard livery, it undoubtedly falls into the true three-shot category.
Perhaps the signature hole is the sand-encased island par three 17th. It may only measure 166 yards, but the elevated green takes no prisoners – this hole has destroyed many a card.
Known as the Green course, Riyadh Golf Courses is clearly planning an expansion to grow into its plural name. In the meanwhile, there’s already enough here to keep most golfers happy, even at night under floodlights.
There’s also has a very good driving range, which is open until late evening, allowing golfers to hone their skills after work for a relatively small fee. Chipping greens and putting greens are available for short game practice too.
Riyadh Golf Courses is a course that is well worth playing in Riyadh. It is a long course, which can be daunting for shorter hitters. If you are short then the best option is to play off the white tees. For longer hitters it is still a challenge, especially the par 5’s. Even long hitters will have difficulty hitting all but one green on two shots. The par 4’s are a nice mix of which some are reachable for adventurous players. The par 3’s look easy on paper but in reality are tricky little holes.
The wide fairways give a lot of room if you are having an off day with your driver. It may not be the best for forcing you to be straight off the tee but it does make your round more enjoyable when you’re not constantly losing or searching for golf balls.
The condition of the course has improved in the last few years and is now very good. Apart from the greenside bunkers which do need to be looked after a bit better. However the greens and fairways are very good. The buggies do need to be upgraded though and you may find you are waiting for some before your round.
Riyadh Golf Courses is a good test of your game and is an enjoyable round.
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