Golf in the Middle East has become an important part of inbound tourism in the United Arab Emirates and the investment put in by the Tourism Development and Investment Corporation has certainly paid dividends as it is now established as one of the world’s leading golf holiday destinations. That’s why we have put our combined experience together and created the insider’s guide to golf in Abu Dhabi.
There are 5 golf courses in Abu Dhabi most of which look onto the Ocean and although many of the courses have housing developments, they have been carefully integrated into the design so that they do not impose on the scenery and often spectacular natural surroundings.
Apart from the quality of the golf courses, the growth in visitor numbers has been helped by the fact that two major professional tournaments are held there one on the European Tour and one on the Ladies tour.
The Men’s event always attracts a world-class field and has been won by European Number One Tommy Fleetwood for the last two years. Several leading American players generally make the journey to compete and in 2016 the American Rickie Fowler won the event. The ladies event also attracts a top class field with the Indian player Aditi Ashok just beating the current Ricoh British Open Champion Georgia Hall by one shot.
Since it was selected IAGTO’s Newcomer Destination of the year in 2012 Abu Dhabi has come a long way in terms of world golf tourism and the quality of the courses, accommodation and the rich cultural history will ensure that it continues its growth.
The Best Way To Get To Abu Dhabi
British Airways, Etihad and Gulf Air all fly from the UK to Abu Dhabi. BA fly from Heathrow and Etihad fly from both London and Manchester with direct flights whilst Gulf Air go via Bahrain. The direct flights take around 8 hours and with one-stop its usually around 10 hours. You could drive there if you had 74 hours to spare as that is what it would take to cover the 4593 miles.
Where To Stay In Abu Dhabi
As you would expect there is no shortage of high-quality luxury hotels to choose from and it would be difficult to find such a concentration of high-end properties anywhere else in the world. Most of the leading hotel chains have five- and four-star properties located here. Perhaps one of the best known is the Yas Viceroy Hotel which is at the centre of the Formula One racetrack and is built half on the land and half over water.
We are sure you will have seen the amazing design of the roof if you have watched the Formula One Grand Prix on television and the ingenuity and skill to build it has been carried forward to the décor and furnishings of the 499 rooms. Its close to the Yas Links Golf Club, the Abu Dhabi Golf Club and the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.
If you prefer to stay at a Resort with its own golf course, then the five-star Westin Abu Dhabi Golf resort could be just the place. For those wanting luxury accommodation and facilities combined with a challenging Championship golf course, it doesn’t get any better than here.
Golf In Abu Dhabi
Of the five golf courses, the two best known are the Yas Links Golf Club and the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Kyle Phillips designed the former creating a rolling links course that is a real challenge from the back tees which stretch the course to over 7400 yards. Although it only opened in 2010 it looks as though these 18 holes have been there forever such is the quality of the design and with eight of the holes along the coastline, the most has been made of the spectacular views.
Words such as ‘stunning’ and ‘awesome’ are often used by writers reviewing the course.
The Abu Dhabi Golf Club is a regular venue on the professional circuit and its iconic clubhouse in the shape of a falcon is one of the best-known sights in the whole of golf. There are 5 different teeing grounds to play from making the course play from 5800 yards to the Championship course length of 7600 yards so that everyone can enjoy this spectacular course.
The Saadiyat Beach Golf Club was designed by Gary Player and is a beachside course offering stunning views of the Gulf that opened in 2010. At 7800 yards from the back tees it’s a true test of golf but again the variety of teeing grounds make it playable to players of all standards. With over 60 bunkers and three large lakes, there are plenty of hazards to concentrate the mind as well as numerous sand dunes that should be avoided at all costs.
The Abu Dhabi City Golf Club is one of the oldest in the region and is known as “the People’s Golf Course” and is the closest course to the city centre. Originally it was an 18-hole sand-based course but it was redeveloped in 1998 into the first grass course in the area. Although it’s only 9 holes now the great advantage is that it offers floodlight golf and with one par 5, six par fours and two par threes it offers a real challenge to golfers of all abilities as it is 6300 yards in length. It’s well known as a meeting place for the locals who make use of the extensive facilities available.
If you want an unforgettable experience, then try the Al Ghazal Golf Course. The original sand course is known as one of the best of its type anywhere in the world. It’s as though this course was carved out of the desert itself. Howeever, Just because its sand doesn’t mean it’s easy – it’s a tough par 71 that has stood the test of time in the 15 years it has been opened and the browns as the greens are known are as good as any grass greens you will find.
Best Golf Courses In Abu Dhabi
Things To Do In Abu Dhabi
Many of the hotels offer facilities that are hard to beat anywhere else in the World. Luxury Spas, swimming pools, gymnasiums and high-quality cuisine are standard. However, if you wish to venture away from the Hotel you will be spoilt for choice as to what activity you choose.
It’s important to remember that you are in a country steeped in Arabic history and culture and you should at least try to experience some of that – a visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center will leave you in awe of its scale as one of the World’s largest mosques which can accommodate up to 40,000 worshippers.
A camel safari across the dunes should be on everyone’s itinerary and if you want more up to date forms of transport then you can do it in 4 X 4 vehicles.
If you are into your motor vehicles, then Ferrari World Abu Dhabi should be on your itinerary – this theme park features over 37 rides and attractions centred around the famous red cars from Italy. Continuing the motor world theme, Yas Marina Circuit is home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and, if budget permits, gives you the opportunity to test your driving skills in Aston Martin GT4’s, Mercedes-AMG GTS, Ferrari 458 GT and Formula Yas 3000.
For those looking for a bit of ‘R & R’ then Yas Mall is the place to be.
Designer labels galore as well as a huge number of restaurants. fast food chains, as well as a Cinema, this place is ideal to spend a lazy afternoon away from the golf course looking for bargains.