Dubai’s lesser-known world-class golf courses

The world-class golf venues of Dubai Creek, Emirates Golf Club and Jumeirah Golf Estates are internationally recognised, but Dubai has other golf courses to rival them, as well as some off-the-beaten-track hidden gems. Let’s take a look…

Dubai Hills

Dubai Hills is part of Dubai Hills Estate, one of the most exclusive residential complexes in the city and just 15 minutes away from downtown Dubai. Carved out of the desert, the layout is challenging with elevation changes on the front nine, valleys and lakes, and plenty of strategically placed bunkers and undulating testing greens. But with five tee boxes, taking the course from a daunting 7,283 yards down to a more playable 5,130 yards, players of different skill levels are catered for. Though perhaps the best aspect of this course is the superb views of the Dubai skyline which feature on most holes, especially of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Montgomerie Golf Club

The Championship Course at Montgomerie Golf Club, which is part of The Address Montgomerie Dubai Golf Resort & Spa, is a links-style course that encompasses over 265 acres, about a third of which is beautiful landscaped gardens. Designed by Scottish golfing legend Colin Montgomerie in association with Desmond Muirhead, the course also features 114 lakes, 81 large bunkers, huge and speedy greens with clever run off areas, and highly manicured links-style fairways which undulate and roll. The par-3 13th has a 360 degree teeing area around an island fairway and green, allowing for a different golf hole to be played each time. Typical of many golf courses in the area, the views of the Dubai skyline are breathtaking.

Jebel Ali Golf Club

Part of Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, Jebel Ali Golf Club is a championship standard golf course despite only being nine holes. It’s a par 36 layout, originally designed by Peter Harradine in 1998, but each hole has four different tee boxes which allows golfers to play an 18-hole round with a different challenge on the front and back nines. It fights above its weight, having hosted the official curtain raiser of the Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour in 2008. It’s impeccably maintained with devilishly quick greens and a large lake that features on half the holes. It’s surrounded by exotic trees, shrubs, and panoramic views that look out over the Arabian Gulf.

Arabian Ranches

Situated in the heart of the Arabian Ranches Community, this course was designed by former Open champion Ian Baker-Finch in association with Nicklaus Design. Arabian Ranches is an 18-hole, par 72 championship course which was the first in Dubai to have no water hazards or sculpted bunkers. The course was instead laid over the natural undulating terrain of desert dunes with plenty of large sandy waste areas with shrubs and bushes to punish wayward shots. It plays up to 7,658 yards, but with different tee boxes all levels can enjoy this course. The fairways and greens are immaculate and the views of the surrounding desert are glorious.

Accommodation options

We’ve picked out two accommodation options, both within easy reach of all these golf courses.

One & Only Royal Mirage Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach is a luxury resort on a stretch of pure white sand facing the bay of Palm Island and overlooking the Arabian Gulf. This Arabian style resort is made up of three distinct areas, The Palace, Arabian Court and Residence & Spa, each with unique rooms and several themed restaurants. With fantastic dining and oasis-like swimming pools, this is the ideal location for a luxurious golf holiday.

Park Hyatt Dubai is a low-rise, sprawling resort set on the shores of Dubai Creek and boasts a 100 yard infinity lagoon leading into a beautiful private sandy beach. It also features a huge pool set among palm trees, an award-winning spa, luxurious rooms and suites facing the creek and marina, and several top-class restaurants. Combining Moorish and Mediterranean influences, this is ideal for an opulent, indulgent trip.

If you want to get away from the busy city…

Al Zorah Golf Club

Located about 20km north from the hustle and bustle of downtown Dubai in the Emirate of Ajman, Al Zorah Golf Club is set in a naturally preserved environment of mangroves and dunes, making it a peaceful, tranquil golf retreat. Plenty of sandy areas, an abundance of wildlife and over 10km of waterfront add to the sense of calm and escape. The constantly changing tidal system presents a unique challenge for players, altering the look and feel of the course on an hourly basis. Crafted by Nicklaus design in 2015, it’s an 18-hole, immaculate championship layout and well worth going off the beaten track for.

Al Hamra Golf Club

About 40km north of Al Zorah Golf Club, Al Hamra Golf Club is one of the finest links layouts in the UAE. Water hazards feature throughout the course with four interconnected lagoons and the Arabian Gulf coming into play on most of the 18 holes. The final hole with water down the right and a three-tiered green is a highlight, and with five tee options this is an enjoyable course for all levels. As you would expect from a Peter Harradine design, this is a high quality and fun golf course.

Accommodation options

Set on a quiet stretch of beach in Ajman, 2.5 miles from Al Zorah Golf Club, Oberoi Beach Resort has a private beach, 74 spacious rooms and suites with private terraces, indoor and outdoor restaurants and a spa offering massage therapies, various treatments and Turkish hammams. It’s an opulent, ultra-modern place to stay with Scandi-style interiors, 15 glass-fronted villas and an 85 metre infinity pool.

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is just a stone’s throw from Al Hamra Golf Club. It’s a huge and grand hotel that has a luxurious spa, a kids club, huge swimming pools, 10 restaurants and lounges, tennis courts, and a 400-yard private beach looking out over the waters of the Arabian Sea. The luxurious and palatial rooms and suites have views of the sea, golf course or gardens from floor-to-ceiling windows or balconies. Staying here will make you feel like visiting royalty.

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