Gimme Dat Swing: Desert Golf

Offering a new twist and a novel challenge to golfers around the world, Dubai's desert courses are quickly gaining popularity among the golfing fraternity.

Gimme Dat Swing: Desert Golf

Culture Facts

Where: Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Middle East.
What’s It About: Creating an opulent state of the art golf course in the least likely surroundings.
Who’ll Be There: Rich Arab Sheiks, businessmen, Tiger Woods & Ernie Erls.
Who Won’t Be There: Jimmy Tarbuck. Please, this is a classy joint.
Remember To Bring: A set of nines and a motorised caddy.
Watch Out For: Burrowing lizards and the very large sand trap. Or should that be grass trap?

The United Arab Emirates take their sport and leisure very seriously; and being in the middle of the desert is no drawback to them from building a 18-hole, par-71 desert sand course. Offering a new twist and a novel challenge to golfers around the world, these desert courses are quickly gaining popularity among the golfing fraternity.

Quick Guide to Desert Course Lingo

Here, the ‘greens’ are known as ‘browns’ and there is hardly a problem with filling up your divots. Oiled sand is used on the ‘browns’ and players carry a piece of AstroTurf with them when on the fairway.

Apart from the usual water hazards and the rough, golfers must also contend with the numerous burrows dug by desert lizards known as dhubs. And be warned, it will be harder to spot a sand trap.

All in all desert golf is a fun way to unwind in the dry-arid locations.

The ‘Desert Miracle’

Known as ‘The Desert Miracle’, Emirates Golf Club became the first championship all-grass golf course in Emirates, way back in 1988. The brainchild of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Club was built as an attraction to business men and international tourists. Within a month of opening, the most important regional golf tournament – the Pan-Arab– was taking place on the newly named Majlis course.

Designed by Florida architect Karl Litten, the original 18-hole Majlis course was built in and around the dunes of a beautiful site on the edge of Dubai, donated by Sheikh Mohamed, on whose instructions the desert flora was maintained in its natural state. Now encompassing a mammoth 36 holes, Emirates is the Middle East’s original and biggest ‘desert course’. The Majlis Course, with its lush fairways and large greens, is a formidable test of golf while the second 18-hole Wadi Course adds further interest, with superbly positioned water hazards and desert rough.

The club’s international recognition was confirmed in 1989 with the Club’s first European Tour event: the Dubai Desert Classic. Fourteen years later the tournament reaches hundreds of millions of TV screens around the world every year, and most of the world’s top players, including Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, have taken part in what is now one of the European PGA Tour’s top events.

A traditional Arabic warm welcome combined with superb tennis and squash courts, an extensive gymnasium, a beautiful swimming pool and spectacular outlets and shops, makes the Club a haven for the sporty and casual visitor alike. You can even visit the fully-fledged Golf Academy which features high-tech video swing analysis, flood-lit driving range and a putting green.

So if you’ve got the cash to flash, don’t be putt off, desert golf is a great way to experience the beauty of the Emirates, and will suit golfing die hards to a tee!

Anyone for tennis?

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