La Cala Golf Resort, Costa del Sol
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La Cala Golf Resort, Costa del Sol
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Fantastic golf courses, year-round sunshine, excellent beaches and world-class hotels and restaurants have transformed Abu Dhabi into an outstanding golf vacation destination. More affordable than Dubai and with an array of outdoor activities and incredible cultural attractions, the modern, cosmopolitan capital of the United Arab Emirates is now a premier option for the adventurous golfer.
Host of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA on the European Tour, the National Course at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club provides one of the best golf experiences in the Middle East. Leading designer Peter Harradine has carved out 18 exceptional holes with perfectly manicured fairways from the surrounding desert. The Falcon clubhouse is a must-see and there’s an enjoyable nine-hole option at the Garden Course. There’s also floodlit golf with tee times up to 9pm. Close to the airport and the city centre, Abu Dhabi Golf Club is an essential element of your golf trip to the UAE.
Yas Links, set on the western shores of Yas Island, should also be an essential element of your trip. Ranked by All Square as one of the top 100 golf courses in the world and the best in the Middle East, it’s a superb Scottish-style seaside links course where each one of the 18 holes has views of the ocean. Designed by the renowned Kyle Phillips, it also has one of the best finishing stretches in golf, with the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park and the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in the background. Facilities include a nine-hole course, luxurious clubhouse and a golf academy.
Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, home to the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (FBM Ladies Open) on the Ladies European Tour, is another must-play course. Designed by legendary golfer Gary Player, it was the Arabian Gulf’s first ocean-side course when it opened in 2010. The clubhouse’s Hawksbill restaurant – named after the endangered turtles that nest on the beach – has lovely views of the city skyline.
For a unique test of golf, there’s also the Al Ghazal Golf Club, one of the world’s best sand courses where the greens and fairways are made of compacted sand. For a nine-hole option, Abu Dhabi City Golf Club is also worth visiting. Located right in the heart of the city, it offers night-time floodlit golf at one of the world’s best urban courses.
Generally more affordable than Dubai, hotels in Abu Dhabi are suited to families and groups of friends – perfect for a golfing getaway. Most leading hotel chains have four and five-star properties here. The most spectacular is the W Abu Dhabi (pictured above), located at the centre of the Formula One racetrack. A great location for those playing at the Yas Links Golf Club.
For those teeing off at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, the five-star Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas is an exclusive sanctuary located on a 9km stretch of beach on Saadiyat Island, adjacent to the golf course. The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is another five-star option offering its own private beach on the island, right next to the course. A great stay and play option is the five-star Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, where luxury combines with a round at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (pictured above), one of the world’s largest mosques, is an absolute must-see, with its incredible architecture. The Louvre Abu Dhabi, on Saadiyat Island, is a stunning art and civilisation museum that is worth a visit too.
Billed as Abu Dhabi’s entertainment district, Yas Island features the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park with rides and attractions centred on the Italian sports car brand. There’s also the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the finale of the F1 season held each year in November/December. For the adventurous, a 4×4 safari across the dunes should be on your itinerary. But if you prefer a stroll or bike ride, then visit the Corniche, a promenade that stretches the length of the northwest shore of the city with views of the skyline.