Your guide to: Dubai
Amid Dubai’s elevation to a major player on the golf scene, it is difficult to recall a time when it was once a small fishing and pearl-diving settlement. It has rapidly become one of the world’s most luxurious and cosmopolitan cities – the modern-day crossroads of the Middle East.
World-class hotels and resorts have shot up into the cloudless skies, amazing beaches have been developed and attractions ranging from golf to water parks to shopping have been created.
The common denominator that accompanies all these activities is the year-round sunshine which beams down on this Emirate – one of the seven that make up the United Arab Emirates.
Without these hundreds of days of rays each year, surely none of this would have happened; because while the city has shown amazing energy and determination to establish itself as one of the ‘go to’ destinations for adventurous travellers, it is the amazing weather that has helped the UAE take off. Dubai benefits from sunshine basically every day of the year; the only difference in the year-round weather are cooler evenings and occasional showers between November to March.
This sub-tropical, arid climate with infrequent and irregular rainfall (less than 13cm a year) and temperatures ranging from a low of 10C to 48C does of course lend itself to golf. Most importantly is the fact the temperature can get up to 24C in January – at a time when everywhere in Europe is freezing.
Set down next to the pristine blue waters of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai is a city of contrasts as a result of it being exposed to a myriad cultures; it retains its own heritage but it is impossible to escape the conclusion when visiting it that this is a unique harmony between East and West.
Dubai has something for everyone, from sedentary holidaymakers seeking a relaxing break away from the rain at home, to more active visitors seeking thrills and excitement. Known as ‘the city of merchants’, Dubai has welcomed surfers and traders to its shores for generations and this tradition has been accelerated in recent decades with expatriates making up nearly 85 per cent of Dubai’s near one million population as thousands of newcomers were tempted by the weather, the activities and streets that are clean and safe. The city is now home to almost 200 nationalities.
Even if we aren’t ready to up sticks for the Middle East, we can all enjoy these attractions for a week at a time, indulging in five-star luxury, spectacular beaches, lavish resorts, first-class service and an oasis of duty-free shopping.
While Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the UAE – one of the world’s wealthiest countries, with the third-largest oil reserves on the planet and a broadening portfolio including property and tourism – Dubai remains its commercial centre.
You can travel here and expect a warm welcome from the people and be able to converse in English with most in the hospitality sector (even though Arabic is the official language). And other than avoiding revealing clothes in places of worship, visitors are free to dress as they please.
The legendary luxury of the hotels needs little emphasis, but it is worth pointing out that there is much more to do than just laze by the pool or shop in the malls if you visit Dubai; from water parks and desert driving to dune buggies and even skiing, Dubai can cater for most tastes – even if your family has very wide-ranging ideas of what makes for a good holiday!
Of course, golf plays a big part in Dubai’s attractions and while a golf holiday to the Emirate might only have been a real possibility to European golfers for a decade or so, it’s been very much in our consciousness for over twice that period of time. It was 25 years ago that the first course opened in the Emirate, when Dubai Golf opened the Majlis course. A year later, it hosted the European Tour and a new era of tournament golf began for players and viewers of the European circuit.
Very quickly it became established as an indicator that the season had begun and for us back home, shivering as we played our golf (if we were able to play any golf at all), the action was a most welcome boost in the midst of a bleak winter.
The tournament was (and still is) competed for as we gazed out of the window to look at frosty early mornings, and the sight of tanned golfers in shirt sleeves playing on a beautifully- manicured course reminded us that warmer and drier days weren’t too far away.
The morning slot is also conducive to settling down in front of the television, and for many it is the tournament outside of the majors that gets most of their attention.
From this start 25 years ago, golf in Dubai has exploded, with a plethora of immaculate parkland courses waiting to tease and transfix you.
Dubai Golf lead the way with the Emirates – Majlis and The Faldo – and Dubai Creek clubs (which we expand on in detail over the page), and these have been joined by stellar names such as Arabian Ranches, The Els Club, The Address Montgomerie and Jumeirah Estates.
Make no mistake Dubai can cater for every taste, both on and off the course.
Planning your trip to Dubai
Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts have teamed up with Dubai Golf to offer special packages for travelling golfers, making it easy to enjoy a golf holiday under the sun and in affordable luxury.
You can now plan a unique luxury golf holiday with the help of Jumeirah’s experienced team, who know the courses and can organise your tee times at any of the most established and internationally renowned golf clubs in Middle East – Emirates Golf Club and the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.
Boasting three world-class championship golf courses, luxurious clubhouses, restaurants and golf academies, Dubai Golf’s courses offer some of the most spectacular locations for golf, events and entertainment in the region.
And with a wide selection of over 2,000 hotel rooms, suites, private villas or luxury homes, your golf holiday will be both a relaxing and fun-filled experience by staying at any of the eight participating properties of Jumeirah Group in Dubai: the Madinat Jumeirah (Al Qasr, Mina A’Salam, Dar Al Masyaf), Jumeirah Beach Hotel (pictured above right), Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Jumeirah Creekside Hotel and the Jumeirah Living World Trade Centre.
A package with Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts and Dubai Golf – which is available all year around – can comprise either: a two-night stay and a round of golf; a five-night stay and three rounds of golf; or a seven-night stay and four rounds of golf.
Within all of these packages, the following are included: complimentary golf club and shoe hire; exclusive private beach access; complimentary breakfast; complimentary Wi-Fi access and complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark and Sinbad’s Kids Club.
Visit jumeirah.com for further details on how to plan your dream golf holiday to Dubai.
The climate: Beautiful all year round – but very hot in the summer (same as ours)
Getting there: It’s a seven-hour flight and Virgin, Emirates, Etihad and BA now fly from various UK airports
Time difference: GMT +4
More information: www.dubaigolf.com
A hole you would relish...
8th: par 4, 434 yards
This dog-leg is stroke index 3 and plays uphill, requiring a long, well-directed drive to leave a reasonable second shot to its small, undulating green. It is regarded as one of the most exacting holes in Middle Eastern golf.
Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club have just celebrated landmark birthdays – and are even more impressive than ever. There has simply never been a better time to visit...
The culmination to the European Tour’s Middle East Swing in 2014 was in Dubai, where golf in this part of the world started and where it remains at its most compelling.
It was back in 1988 that Dubai Golf unveiled Emirates Golf Club – the first grass championship course in the region and when it celebrated its 25th birthday last year it was difficult to overestimate how far the region has come in the last quarter of a century; it is now one of the world’s finest golf destinations.
A year after opening, Emirates hosted the European Tour for the first time and at the start of this year the 25th anniversary of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic was marked by a star-studded field of previous champions including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Fred Couples and Ernie Els.
A winner of the ‘Golf Destination of the Year – Africa, Gulf States and Indian Ocean’ title in IAGTO’s annual awards, Dubai’s courses continue to set the benchmark for quality and service, backed by luxury hotels, leisure and cultural attractions.
Under the management of Dubai Golf, Emirates Golf Club has been at the heart of Dubai’s rise to fame, offering members and guests a diverse and challenging golf experience as well as first-class leisure facilities and a host of international-standard cuisine.
The showcase Majlis course, ranked in Golf World magazine’s Top 100 Courses of the World, and the highly-acclaimed Faldo Course continue to captivate, blending the natural rolling desert terrain with strategic design, offering an enjoyable and diverse challenge.
The Faldo may not be quite as well known, but it is one of the best challenges of course management and accuracy in the region. It is also the only course in Dubai to offer a full 18 holes under floodlights. The clubhouse at Emirates, in the shape of Bedouin tents, is one of the world’s most eye-catching golf landmarks.
As well as the Dubai Desert Classic, the Majlis also hosts the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour, luring the very best players based on the ladies’ circuit in America for a rare foray onto the European Tour.
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club has also celebrated a key birthday – its 20th. Located in the heart of the city it incorporates a championship layout, voted one of the world’s ‘Top 100 Must-Play Golf Courses’.
It also boasts an exceptional new nine-hole putting course designed by Peter Harradine and modelled on the 18-hole championship course, a state-of-the-art golf academy, six restaurants and bars, a gym and tropical swimming pool.
More details: Visit dubaigolf.com to learn more about both clubs, experience ‘walk throughs’ of the courses, read about dining and leisure options, and access offers.
Getting there: A seven-hour flight from London, Manchester and Glasgow with BA, Emirates and Virgin.
Time difference: GMT +4
When to go: Dubai is a truly all-year-round destination.