Saadiyat Beach is a course offering some wonderful views of the beach, shoreline and Persian Gulf. The course itself is an exacting test, especially if the wind blows anything above 15 miles per hour. A plethora of bunkers face you on all a large percentage of the par 4 and par 5 holes, meaning you really do have to navigate your way around with a lot of care and good ball-striking if you wish to score well.
The practice facilities here are excellent. I loved the short-game area and putting green. Both contained plenty of slopes replicating what you would experience out on the course. The practice bunkers were excellent, offering you plenty of practice options to play to close, tight flags or to more distant flags on the green; the quality of the sand is excellent too.
As I mentioned previously, to score well you must navigate your way around the fairway bunkers. Be under no illusion, there are plenty of them and some extend the whole length of some of the holes. It can feel quite intimidating but there is plenty of room off the tee on the majority of holes. It is more a case of knowing what your carry yardages are for your driver and fairway woods to ensure you don't carelessly hit into them.
There are some superb holes on this course. Particular favourites of mine were the par 5 second which contains a treacherous, narrow green in the rear portion of it. The par 4 5th with water extending all the way down the left-hand side is particularly intimidating and the green contains a massive hump towards the rear portion of this green making putting particularly tricky. The par 3 6th has views to die for as you stand on the tee looking at the beach and the turquoise ocean close by to your left.
On the back nine particular favourites of mine were the two par fours at holes 13 and 16. Both are strong driving holes where you have to be long and accurate to find the fairway, especially at the 16th. The approaches on both holes are not too tricky but the green on the 13th is protected on the left by a sizeable hump and if they tuck the flag in behind that it can be difficult to get close. The 18th is a great finishing holes with one of the trickiest greens I think I've played. If they stick the flag in the back-right portion close to the water and the large slope on the green, it must be hard to get close.
The other touch I loved at Saadiyat Beach are the gazelles wandering around the course. It adds to the rugged feel of the areas just off the fairways. They don't get in the way and are relatively tame; it's a really nice touch and well thought out.
Saadiyat Beach is a great test of golf, thoroughly enjoyable with some wonderfully testing holes.......just don't forget your sand iron!
Date: November 25, 2019