Dubai on course

The opening of the Tiger Woods course in Dubai in 2010 – the golfer’s first signature course – forms part of a breakneck programme designed to turn the emirate into the world’s top golf holiday destination. Almost 20 new courses are scheduled to open over the next three years and more thereafter, many of which will bear the names of top players. My own experience of golf in Dubai included nine holes on the Nick Faldo-designed Wadi course at Emirates Golf Club, which reopened a year ago after a radical redesign by the winner of six majors. The emirate has six 18-hole courses and one nine-hole course, but developers such…

The opening of the Tiger Woods course in Dubai in 2010 – the golfer’s first signature course – forms part of a breakneck programme designed to turn the emirate into the world’s top golf holiday destination. Almost 20 new courses are scheduled to open over the next three years and more thereafter, many of which will bear the names of top players.

My own experience of golf in Dubai included nine holes on the Nick Faldo-designed Wadi course at Emirates Golf Club, which reopened a year ago after a radical redesign by the winner of six majors. The emirate has six 18-hole courses and one nine-hole course, but developers such as Istithmar and Dubailand are set to quadruple that number by the end of 2010. According to KPMG’s golf advisory unit, Dubai is set to overtake traditional golf holiday destinations, such as Spain and Portugal.

Future industry
Dubai Golf, which runs the Emirates Golf Club, home to the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic, sees the impending arrival of so many rivals as good for the region rather than a negative for existing operators. St John Kelliher, director of business development at Dubai Golf, said: “It’s difficult to market ourselves as a golf destination with only six courses, but now we’re building so many new courses we’re going to be able to look further afield to attract business.” Soon the Emirates Golf Club will be the first club to enable visitors from abroad to book tee-times online.

Visitors playing the top-rated Majlis course pay about £100 per round, although about half the Emirates Golf Club’s revenue comes from the 1,500 locally based members. Most are expatriates who live in the UAE, although efforts are being made to encourage local children to take up the game. Rodney Bogg, Golf Dubai’s managing director, said: “I predict we’ll have our first home-grown professional in five years.”


Golfing in the Gulf
1. The Majlis course, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai
2. Abu Dhabi Golf Club
3. Al Badia course, Four Seasons Golf Club, Dubai
4. The Wadi course, Emirates Golf Club
5. Arabian Ranches Golf Club, Dubai
6. The Montgomerie, Dubai
7. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club

Tagged Live, Golf

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