Review of the Month March 2020 – Yas Links
Notwithstanding the ongoing zombie apocalypse, there is change in the air at Yas Links. They seem to have recognised the concerns over some of the conditioning issues and have already rectified many of them. Plenty of new sods were growing in and conditioning as of mid-March is solid if not spectacular.
Some things never change however and the course retains the same challenging, exciting, even exhilarating design. The aesthetics are probably even improved right now as the rollercoasters and water park have fallen silent, another victim to the overwhelming shut-down of public facilities designed to keep people apart from one another. Yas Island as a whole is perhaps a shadow of itself. The staff at my hotel noted that even the golf course was closing at the same time the theme parks were directed to, but fortunately that was not the case and the afternoon I played seemed sufficiently solidly booked with golfers. That being said, I was graciously allowed out a little early by the starter and was never held up so it was a very pleasant round. A green and serene patch amongst meltdowns, closures and concerns. My family and I have a fortnight of 'isolation' to look forward to when we return to Australia in a week; assuming there will still be an airline to get us back there... but enough of this twaddle: to the golf.
What a wonderful and exciting course Yas Links is. It feels almost natural, even though the land surrounding the course is mostly flat, the fairways roll across the land twisting and falling. And the green complexes were probably the highlight for me. There are some buried elephants out there where a mishit or overly aggressive chip or putt can have you replaying from off the green once more. Some really interesting shaping and thought definitely required with the short irons and flat stick in hand.
Off the tee was no let up either with options available aplenty. Whilst the back nine certainly plays harder, the front is equally as interesting. This course requires patience and thought. Anything less will have you playing from some of the wild looking bunkers, or worse, from the thick coastal ground-cover from which I couldn't execute a single decent recovery.
The hotels being constructed down at the turn point of the back nine are eyesores now in brutal grey concrete and when completed I can't imagine that will improve greatly, but it is what it is on Yas Island. You can always look the other way out over the azure water and adjacent sand island. The course staff were excellent, including marshalls on both the front and back nines to keep the pace of play moving.
Yas Links is a wonderful course and comes highly recommended.
Review of the Month March 2020 selected by Editor-in-Chief, Keith Baxter, and sponsored by TaylorMade – click to read more about Yas Links.