Earth course - jumeirah golf - 16 POINTS
The Race to Dubai. The thing they talk about on Sky Sports for the whole year. The pinnacle of European Golf. And it all ends here.
When the course first hosted the season ending event here the houses were still half built and it was all a bit of a joke really. Well, now the houses are built, the course has fully matured and this is probably as good as it well ever be - and it's just fine.
One word of caution, before we start, would be leave yourself plenty of time to get here - when you enter the Jumeriah estate the courses is still some way away and bizarrely there are virtually no signposts to the golf, it's a good 10 minutes drive from entering the gates.
Something that surprises is that from the first tee this doesn't look like just a golf course in the middle of a housing estate. The vegetation looks far more established than just a few years old and the course is well defined around the edges with the housing being actually fairly discreet when you are playing
The condition of the course in early February was tremendous - as good as I've ever seen from tee to fairway to green. The fairways were lush, the bunkers brilliant white and the greens perfect, this was a golf course in the very best condition.
The problem with this golf course is that until you get to hole 16 there is absolutely nothing memorable about it. The holes tend to merge into each other and they feel very samey. You drive from a slightly elevated teebox to a fairway dotted with bunkers which look hard to miss. f you do miss then you then have an approach shot to an elevated green which is very well protected with sparkling white sand. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing particularly wrong or bad about that and it is perfectly satisfactory - it's just not something you are going to be remembering for years to come.
The 16th was one of the first really memorable holes, unfortunately not for the right reasons. Three of us hit fantastic drives, melted right down the middle just to find they had hit the sloping fairway which took the balls into a pond on the right hand side - a hole you would play very differently the second time. The 17th is a great par 3 over water - the pin was on the right hand side when we were there and you can see why it plays such a part in the end to the tournament when the pros are here.
The 18th is a cracking par 5. Stenson famously hit a 3 wood to 6 inches to win the Order of Merit in 2013 and won 'Shot of the Year'. There is a plaque on the fairway to mark the spot. Rory and Justin Rose have both had famous moments here as well and there's a nice video from the European Tour to remind you of those moment to whet the appetite. It certainly makes for a great finish to the round. I played my second up the right hand side with a mid iron rather than going for it and wedged on with 2 putts on this huge green for a par. It's a great setting to end the round.
So I can see why so many people like this course. It was immaculate, the service on the course and in the clubhouse was very good (if eye-wateringly expensive - 4 small cans of Heineken and 4 of the most basic cheese sandwiches set us back £60 on the course). The finish is a great one and you won't hate the other holes - it just doesn't have the wow factor of Yas or the Emirates but it's well worth playing if you are in the area.
BOOKING THE COURSE
You can book the course via the club here. It is an expensive tee time at 1095 Dirham (£225) on the weekends (which are Friday and Saturday here) and 995 Dirham in the week - but there are discounts for twiglight times This included a GPS activated buggy.
Given the cost this is one of those occasions when it may be worth getting a quote from an operator to see if they can do you a good deal - see below!
If you want to see the details of our trip which took in the Dubai Dersert Classic, a round on that Emirates course, the magnificent Yas Links and the Abu Dhabi Golf Club then check out the tour tips of my Emirates review here.
Tee times on these courses are expensive and hotels can be so this is one of the occasions where I think it can be worth using a tour operator - Yourgolftravel and golfbreaks will both be able to help you out and probably
Jumeirah Golf Estates
United Arab Emirates