Opening in 2000, Abu Dhabi Golf Club is the most mature golf course in the capital of the UAE. Since the recent arrival of Yas Links and Saadiyat Beach it has become the elder statesman of Abu Dhabi’s three world class golf courses.
The strong relationship between the UAE and the European tour has helped put golf in this part of the world on the map. The early season desert swing always attracts strong fields and often produces great champions. The Abu Dhabi Championship, which has been held at Abu Dhabi Golf Club since it began in 2006, is a shining example of this. In 2011 six of the world’s top ten golfers competed in the event where Martin Kaymer claimed the title for the third time. Like many of the best in the world, Kaymer seems to relish the test on offer at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. This is no surprise given that it is a tough but fair test presented in immaculate condition. If Tiger Woods finds some early year form it could be a course perfectly suited to him when he makes his debut here in 2011.
From any of the tee boxes strong driving is the key to good scoring here. This is due to the intelligent fairway bunkering as well as lakes and palm trees that line the fairways and punish the wayward hitter. Another strength lies in the wide variety of holes on offer, including short reachable par 4′s and longer two shot holes that require shot shaping off the tee to find the shorten the route to the green.
The 9th and 18th will live long in the memory of anyone who plays at Abu Dhabi Golf Club as they are played under the breathtaking falcon-shaped clubhouse. This already iconic design is one of the most recognisable clubhouses in the world and is as luxurious on the inside as it is grand on the outside.
As well as the 18 hole Championship course there are another 9 holes at Abu Dhabi Golf Club that aren’t as challenging but offer a completely different experience, particularly after nightfall. Night golf at Abu Dhabi is an experience not to be missed. Floodlights surround each of the 9 holes, which feature wider fairways than the Championship course but plenty of water and sand to make it a good test. When combined with Yas Links and Saadiyat Beach, Abu Dhabi forms an integral part of a golfing area that offers variety and quality in equal measure.