The United Arab Emirates, or UAE for short, is a federation of seven emirates, which were constituted in 1971 when the British withdrew from the oil rich Gulf. The sheikhdoms comprise of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah and all are located along the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
The capital and largest city of the federation is Abu Dhabi but the vast majority of foreign visitors head in their droves to Dubai where there are a number of the world’s best hotels. Naturally, much of the UAE comprises of desert, which is the perfect foundation for golf courses. Add a bit of water, actually quite a lot of water, and some clever hybrid grass and you’ve got perfect playing surfaces.
According to the Emirates Golf Federation, there are twenty-one golf clubs in the UAE's sheikhdom, and the number is slowly growing. The majority of clubs gravitate to Dubai and Abu Dhabi but there are also clubs in Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.
As most people know, the best golf courses were in Dubai, and the cream of the crop for many years was the Majlis course at The Emirates Club, home to the renowned Dubai Desert Classic. But new on the scene are two Dubai courses from Greg Norman at Jumeirah Golf Estates, called Fire and Earth.
However, the new Kyle Phillips and Gary Player creations of Yas Links and Saadiyat Beach have combined with the National course to elevate the capital, Abu Dhabi, to a level that perhaps even exceeds Dubai.
Our Middle East rankings were last updated in March 2021. Click the link to read the story.