Best Golf Courses in Dubai

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What are the best golf courses in Dubai? The Golf World Top 100 panel ranks and rates the finest designs in the United Arab Emirates’ most famous city.

Seeing pictures of the some of the world’s best starting their DP World Tour seasons in Dubai may well have given you a taste for a golf holiday in glamourous and intriguing Dubai. You might then have reflected that organising a golf break here would be at best an exciting step into the unknown, but very possibly fairly intimidating.

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The skyscrapers of Dubai have been on the Tour scene for more than 30 years now but it is still not a path especially well-trodden by golfers and a lack of knowledge about what a golf break here is like is likely to be the reason. We know it is flashy, enjoys year-round sun and is built on sand, but what are the courses really like and which ones should be on your list when you visit?

Els Club is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

How we ranked the best golf courses in Dubai

We assessed the courses in the usual categories of Design, Setting, Memorability, Playability, Consistency and Presentation. Panellists (with allegiances noted): Stephen Hubner (Jumeirah Estates), Jeremy Slessor, Gary Johnston (both EGD), Elliott Gray (ex-Dubai Hills), Clinton Norris (Troon), Chris Dodd (Ayla), Graham Davies (Go Desto Dubai), Phil Henderson (Al Zorah), plus club golfers Steve Thomas, Fergal O’Leary (both UAE based) and Adam Muttley.

Design (40 marks): The key category, split into three sub-sections: Does the course make the most of its landscape (20); the green complexes (10); the routing (10).

Setting (15 marks): The aesthetic value of the surrounding views and the course itself. And the overall ‘atmosphere’ of the course – not the club.

Memorability (15 marks): How easy it is to recall holes? Are they distinctive, varied and interesting. Are they strategic and heroic?

Playability (10 marks): Is it just too tough, possibly even unfair, for the majority? Or is it able to be enjoyed by all?

Consistency (10 marks): Does every hole deliver all of the above, or is it let down by a few poor ones?

Presentation (10 marks): Two aspects: is maintenance at ease with its surroundings; plus, the conditioning. A relatively small number of marks because conditioning is so variable – but this category does reward especially flawless courses as well as alert you to the less manicured, more raw venues.

We love to hear your feedback on our lists of the best golf courses so get in touch via email, on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

And, once you’ve enjoyed reading about Dubai, please do take a look at some of our other rankings – from the best courses in EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesEurope and USA, to GB&I’s best links, the most fun courses to play and the finest resorts in Europe and the World, we’ve got it covered.

Chris Bertram, Golf World Top 100 Editor

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Can I join the Golf World Top 100 panel?

Yes! If you have knowledge of lots of resorts and courses, we’d love to hear from you. Whether you’re male, female, young, old, low handicap, high handicap, if you’re well-travelled then get in touch with us, here.

Golf World Top 100’s Best Courses in Dubai

The Track, Meydan is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

12. The Track, Meydan

Design 26 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 68

A very different vibe to historic Musselburgh, but a horse racing track and golf course also sit cheek by jowl here. Some great holes on a fun course where natural lakes are a regular feature. It would be rated more highly but for so many great 18-holers so close by.

Jebel Ali is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

11. Jebel Ali

Design 27 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 6 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 69

Nine holes that are part of a complex that came very close to getting into our World Top 100 Resorts. Often hosts Tour players in Dubai events, which speaks of its quality. Much tighter than most, very quick greens and can get a little bouncy. A little oasis minutes from Dubai. 

Address Montgomerie is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

10. Address Montgomerie

Design 27 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 9 Consistency 6 Presentation 8 Total 72

Wide fairways help to produce some birdie opportunities here but there are also some tough examinations such as 6 and 13, which are almost island greens surrounded by water. The 5th, 7th, 12th and 16th are all excellent – as is the iconic, long 18th.

The Faldo course at the Emirates is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

9. Emirates (Faldo)

Design 29 Setting 12 Memorability 11 Playability 6 Consistency 7 Presentation 8 Total 73

Redesigned from the old Wadi (meaning valley) course by Sir Nick Faldo, this is now one of the hardest tests in the region. It is not short, there is water, that valley to contend with and more slope on the greens compared to the Majlis. A real test under the noses of Dubai’s skyscrapers.

Arabian Ranches is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

8. Arabian Ranches

Design 30 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 8 Total 74

A completely new set of greens have elevated Arabian Ranches in the last couple of years. It was designed by former Open champion Ian Baker-Finch in 2004 and was initially exacting, as it’s long and the rough gobbled up your ball. Now has a ‘linksy’ look as it moves over undulating terrain.

Jumeirah Estates' Fire is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

7. Jumeirah Estates (Fire)

Design 31 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 6 Consistency 8 Presentation 8 Total 75

Doesn’t have the exposure of its sibling course, but still a top track. Nice contrast in sand – from the whispy white silica of the Earth to the Fire’s burnt terracotta. The par 3s are probably the pick here, which is the tighter and more challenging Jumeirah course. It is preferred by many members.

Dubai Creek is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

6. Dubai Creek

Design 29 Setting 13 Memorability 13 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 8 Total 76

The marks tell the story of this Dubai golf icon; an awesome setting and memorable holes for part of the round, but also some more modest phases. The best stretches (4-7 and 15-18) are high calibre and it’s a challenge and strategic in places. Gusts off the glistening creek adds to the test.

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Dubai Hills is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

5. Dubai Hills

Design 30 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 8 Consistency 8 Presentation 8 Total 76

Laid out by European Golf Design’s Gary Johnston, this newcomer has already made a significant mark. Forgiving off the tee but asking good players to find the best angles of approach, there is plenty of fun around the greens. The 5th is a real standout hole, with Burj Khalifa as the target line off the tee.

The Jumeirah Estates' Earth course is one of the best in Dubai.

4. Jumeirah (Earth)

Design 30 Setting 12 Memorability 12 Playability 6 Consistency 8 Presentation 8 Total 76

The venue for the European Tour’s finale is every inch the modern ‘championship’ test. Its deep bunkers look nothing like their links counterparts, but do the same thing strategically – they are unforgiving. The greens are big and you need to hit the right part of them. Strong stretch of holes from 15-17.

The Emirates' Majlis course is one of the best in Dubai.

3. Emirates (Majlis)

Design 29 Setting 13 Memorability 13 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 9 Total 78

The panel felt the Dubai Desert Classic host lacked a touch of nuance to be higher. It’s a great test and a memorable experience with its famous backdrop, as well as interest in the slick, revamped greens. Shows its best face at the 4th, a subtle par 3, the 12th – with a great, bunkerless green – and the 17th. 

The Els Club is one of the best golf courses in Dubai.

2. Els Club

Design 32 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 8 Consistency 8 Presentation 10 Total 80

Playing firm and fast sets Els Club apart from target courses in Dubai. Short grass around the greens adds to the difficulty and fun.  Loses a mark for setting as a result of some holes surrounded by houses, but the use of the desert areas is more imaginative than other Dubai courses. Peerless conditioning.

Trump Dubai is the best golf course in Dubai.

1. Trump Dubai

Design 33 Setting 11 Memorability 12 Playability 9 Consistency 8 Presentation 8 Total 81

Trump Dubai gets mixed reviews – including among our panel – and we can’t help but feel that might be something to do with its owner, because this is a wonderful course in our opinion. 

It’s a close second behind Abu Dhabi’s Yas Links in Middle East terms for some, as a result of green complexes that are firm, fast and have huge interest in them. The depression in the middle of the 7th is a particular highlight. Their requirement for you to be under the hole dictates strategy a lot, and celebrated architect Gil Hanse also gives a lot of options off the tee so the course gets better with each play.

The highlight is arguably the driveable, bunkerless par-4 12th – one of the most simple yet strategic holes you’ll find. It epitomised the benefit of width and angles beautifully, as is Hanse’s style.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Bertram, Golf World Top 100 Editor

Chris Bertram is the Golf World Top 100 Editor.

He was born and brought up in Dumfriesshire and has been a sports journalist since 1996, initially as a junior writer with National Club Golfer magazine.

Chris then spent four years writing about football and rugby union for the Press Association but returned to be Editor and then Publisher of NCG before joining Golf World and Today’s Golfer as Senior Production Editor.

He has been freelance since 2010 and when he is not playing and writing about the world’s finest golf courses, he works for BBC Sport.

A keen all-round sportsman, Chris plays off 11 – which could be a little better if it wasn’t for hilariously poor lag putting which has to be seen to be believed.

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