What are the best golf courses in the Middle East and North Africa? The Golf World Top 100 panel ranks and rates the finest designs in the UAE, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan.
This is our inaugural Middle East and North Africa golf courses ranking and it feels not a moment too soon, the list illustrating the depth of quality and diversity in the region. I’ve played 51 of the 70 courses and chaired a panel that included architects, tour operators and club managers, as well as club golfers.
I hope you find this ranking illuminating.
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How we ranked the best golf courses in the Middle East and North Africa
We assessed 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.
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And, once you’ve enjoyed this ranking, please do take a look at some of our others – from the best courses in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Europe 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
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.