The Emirates GC
By Neville Leck Last updated: 28th January 2014
The Majlis course at The Emirates Golf Club where the Dubai Desert Classic is to be played this week, was called 'The Desert Miracle' when it emerged as the Gulf's first all grass championship course in 1988.
And it's still called that today, despite the fact that it has inspired a host of other green courses to mushroom throughout the gulf region
Indeed the brainchild of his Highness, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is today ranked among the world's Top 100 courses and still inspires awe amongst all who play its verdant green golf layout, as well as those who simply visit its unique and ageless Clubhouse or use its many other world-class facilities.
These include outstanding wining and dining facilities, a gymnasium, floodlit tennis courts, glass-backed squash courts, a temperature controlled swimming pool, a children's pool and an air-conditioned play area and a floodlit nine hole Par-3 mashe course which is ideal for beginners and experienced players alike.
The Club was initially built to attract the growing corporate sector and the burgeoning tourist industry - and attract them it certainly has.
Designed by Florida-based course architect Karl Litten, the original 18-hole Majlis Course was built in and around the dunes of a beautiful site on the edge of the city of Dubai, donated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on whose instructions, the desert flora was to be maintained, as it is to this day, in its natural state.
The Club's international recognition was confirmed in 1989 when it was awarded its first European Tour event - the Dubai Desert Classic.
Nineteen years later the tournament reaches hundreds of millions of TV screens around the world every year, and most of the world's top players, including Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, have taken part in what is now one of the European Tour's most high-profile events.
The famed course is now also the venue for the Ladies European Tour's important season-closing finale, the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.
In 1996 the second 18 holes - the Wadi Course, designed by Nick Faldo - were completed, bringing the Emirates Golf Club to its current 36-holes.
Emirates Golf Club says it is proud to boast that it has managed to retain the traditional Arabic warmth of welcome and quality of service, not just for golfers, but also for all members and visitors.
THE MAJLIS COURSE
The flagship course at Emirates Golf Club, The Majlis is a challenging par 72, 7,211-yard layout. Sculptured around the original tall desert dunes in 1987, The Majlis was the first grass course in the Middle East and takes its name from the Arabic word for 'meeting place'.
One of the most prominent features on the course is the Majlis positioned between the 8th and 9th holes, while one of the most challenging holes on the course is the par 4, dogleg 8th.
A stroke 3 and playing a full 434 yards, it has the unusual distinction of playing uphill and requires a long, well directed drive to leave a reasonable second shot to its small, undulating green where the dreaded 3-putt is always a threat.
The Majlis has developed a worthy reputation worldwide as a testing layout for even the best golfers.
This 'desert miracle' features hundreds of indigenous species of flora and fauna, beautifully complemented by meandering fairways and seven fresh and salt water lakes.
EGC Majlis Course 18 Holes:
High season - AED995 (€200)
Low Season - AED795 (€160)
EGC Faldo Course 18 holes:
All year round - AED695 (€140)
Night golf -AED425 (€85)
Equipment hire: (fees for the following can be obtained on the club website at www.dubaigolf.com)
- Golf clubs
- Practice Balls (per bucket of 50 balls)
- Shoe Hire
- Trolley Hire
Emirates Golf Club's distinctive clubhouse is home to a great selection of restaurants and bars, including the award-winning classical French restaurant Le Classique.
More casual dining options include The Conservatory, which serves a selection of pastas, pizzas and international dishes. The Sports Bar is an ideal venue for watching sport with a large round bar, seven flat screen TV sets and over 20 channels of sport. No Clubhouse is complete without a 'Spike Bar' and at Emirates Golf Club, it is the heart and soul of the clubhouse; offering a friendly and relaxed atmosphere with an extensive international menu ranging from breakfast through to dinner.
- A floodlit, nine-hole Par-3 mashe course ideal for beginners
- A floodlit driving range with pitching and putting greens at both the Majlis and Wadi Championship courses
- A world-class pro shop
- A teaching academy
- Men's and women's locker rooms and golf bag storage
- Golf club and shoe hire
- On-course refreshment huts
- Air-conditioned on-course comfort facilities
- A state-of-the-art gymnasium
- Four floodlit tennis courts
- Two glass-backed squash courts
- A temperature controlled swimming pool
- A children's pool and air-conditioned play area
- Maximum Handicap required: 28 for Men, 36 for Ladies (Players are requested to bring their handicap certificates)
- Tee times are based on 10-minute intervals, with four players maximum per tee time.
- All courses in Dubai are "spike free", with no metal spikes allowed. Only rubber soled golf shoes or soft spikes are permitted.
- For safety reasons and strict control of the golf course operations, non-playing guests are not allowed to accompany players.
- Dress Code: Players must adhere to the dress code. The Club reserves the right to refuse admission to the course to any person considered inappropriately dressed.
Details of the fees to be paid and the facilities on offer to the various types of members can be obtained by visiting http://www.dubaigolf.com/egc/Membership/MembershipRates.aspx
PO Box 24040, Dubai, UAE.
- Phone: +971 4 380 2222 Fax: +971 4 380 1555
- E-mail address: www.dubaigolf.com
MAJLIS - HOLE BY HOLE:
Hole 1 - Par 4
Despite the dogleg left, from the elevated tee there may seem to be too much fairway to miss, but bunkers within range on the left and right are waiting to swallow up wayward drives. The green is well bunkered at the front and to the left and the target looks small, even after the perfect drive. This is a good opening hole by any standard and a particularly tricky one when the wind blows in from the sea. You may well need two clubs more than you think for your second shot.
Hole 2 - Par 4
With trees to the left and a water hazard to the right, the tee shot provides a test of character. Big- hitters may try to get close to a green, which is well guarded by sand, but visions of birdies, and even eagles can easily be replaced by the reality of bogeys or worse. If you don't have a putt for a three, you will be disappointed, but this is a short hole that can't be taken lightly.
Hole 3 - Par 5
With a prevailing wind, a good drive sets up the chance to reach the green in two, but with the trees and desert scrub to the left, picking the right line for the tee shot is all important. Hopes of breaking par can be buried in the deep fairway bunker to the left or lost among the thick clumps of desert grass to the right, which continue to the fringe of the green, spelling trouble just a few feet off the putting surface. Approach shots must carry over sand bunkers curving along the front and left sides of the green, and boldness is required to go for the flag.
Hole 4 - Par 3
A splendid short hole, and one that can make or break a good round, even as early as this, for a number of reasons. The tee shot is downhill, so it's easy to over-club and find the deep bunker behind the green. It is not difficult either to cause a splash in the lake to the right, particularly when the flag is placed tantalisingly close to the water.
Hole 5 - Par 4
Few can resist the temptation to go for a big drive here, but beware of a landing area that tapers up to the rise in the fairway before sloping down to the water. The stroke emphasises how difficult this hole can be, and it always commands a great deal of respect. The approach shot is very testing, with the green resting behind another of the lakes. Dead ground between the far edge of the lake and the fringe of the green creates deception, and a gusting breeze can make second shots particularly tricky. Making par is the prime objective, but shots can slip away so easily
Hole 6 - Par 4
The drive across water should be aimed away from the expanse of sand cradled by the mounds that rise beside a fairway turning right into a dog-leg. It can be tempting to try and cut too much off the corner and fall into the trap. Set at an angle to the fairway, the long, narrow green is the biggest on the course and has a large bunker sunk into its right side and running the full length of the target area, making it difficult to attack the pin. Most will be happy to leave the green with a par and birdies are rare.
Hole 7 - Par 3
A beautiful hole that all players should look forward to. With a gleaming lake stretching from the front edge of the tee to the green's apron, the tee shot is a real character builder. Tee shots just reaching the front of the green can slip back into the water, and over-clubbing with safety in mind will bury your ball in sand or on a steep grassed bank. When the wind whips up and blows back across the water from the green, the flag seems a remote and distant target, and you can add at least two club lengths to the shot. You may hate your score but love the hole at the same time.
Hole 8 - Par 4
One of the most attractive par fours on the course, which retains much of the character of the desert. The fairway curves right and rises sharply with an expanse of desert catching drives aiming to take too much off the dog-leg. From the fairway, only the front edge of the well-bunkered green is visible, and the slope and wind further complicate club selection.
Hole 9 - Par 4
From a tee perched near the highest part of the course, the biggest of the four lakes is a serious threat on this superb par four. Drives aimed right for safety are in danger of finding trees and a large bunker beside the fairway. With a huge double green (shared by the 18th) skirted by water, the approach shot is one of the most testing on the course, while the clubhouse provides a magnificent backdrop. Bravery can be rewarded with an excellent birdie chance, but the sloping front edge of the green can send shots spinning back into the water.
Hole 10 - Par 5
A helping breeze will often "shorten" the smallest par 5 hole on the course, but it is still a good distance from tee to green, and the tee shot can be intimidating with only a thin strip of fairway showing at the landing area. Drives straying right will finish among the desert shrubbery and trees hugging the fairways so tee shots must be placed with care. The green presents a good target, but is almost entirely ringed by sand and all approach shots need height. There are enough problems on this hole to ruin a good card.
Hole 11 - Par 3
An attractive and deceiving par 3, which looks from the tee and stroke an easy par! But, under - hit tee shots are common, especially when the flag is positioned well back on the 3-tier green. If you pick the correct club, but find the yardage hard to believe, a shot that finds the green can mean a very long two- putt for par. The line of trees to the right will seem much closer when the wind is blowing from the left.
Hole 12 - Par 4
For no small reason, this is rated as one of the toughest holes on the course, reaching on, as it does, close to par- five status. The tee shot is probably the most demanding of all, with the slim fairway angling left and fading from view close to the landing area. Getting the perfect drive away will still leave a long and challenging approach shot to the elevated green, with the fairway falling away on both sides. A par here may well seem like a birdie.
Hole 13 - Par 5
This is a challenging par five, requiring a long and accurate drive to create an opportunity to go for the low-lying green in two, at the risk of finding water on the right of the green. With the fairway turning into a left-hand dog-leg, tee shots can easily drift out to the right, or fall into the stretch of desert to the left. A protective bunker virtually dismisses the possibility of chasing a shot onto the green from a fairway that dips sharply towards the target area.
Hole 14 - Par 4
Picking the right line for the tee-shot is all-important and big hitters can take on most of the corner but beware the desert area to the left of the fairway that will leave you without a view of the green. Turning sharply left into a dog-leg, the fairway contains bunkers on both sides that swallow up loose drives. Following the left side of the green and sunk into its front right edge, more bunkers beckon drifting approach shots. Another hole where shots can quickly slip away.
Hole 15 - Par 3
Rated the toughest of the par-3 holes, there is much more to this charming hole than meets the eye, and the expected birdie chance can easily become a vain scramble for par. With the tee set at an angle to the green and pointing away to the right, shots drift in that direction with surprising regularity. It should be no more than a straightforward medium iron, the shot often assisted by a breeze from the right, but this is another short hole that demands much respect.
Hole 16 - Par 4
With a wide landing area for drives, be careful not to let one drift away here. A good tee shot will set up the chance to attack the pin, but one slipping right or left will bring trouble among the sand, trees and desert grass. From a fairway curving gently to the left, the green presents a generous target area. But missing the putting surface could mean an awkward recovery shot, with the ground falling away on both sides.
Hole 17 - Par 4
One of he shortest par fours on the course but long on character. Being brave and attempting to go straight for the target can lead to a great birdie opportunity - or all sorts of trouble. Keeping left opens up the green unless your tee shot drifts too far and leaves you without a view of the flag. A generously proportioned green can be a tricky read and a positive putting stroke is required if you are destined to finish your round in style.
Hole 18 - Par 5
All great golf courses feature a great finishing hole and this is one to compare with the best. A birdie here will bring a marvellous climax to any round, but a par is always satisfying. With the fairway turning left 90 degrees, cutting the corner from the tee is a temptation difficult to resist, even if your best drive still leaves the green well out of reach. Following the second part of the fairway and curving in front of the green, a gleaming lake stands in the way of approach shots aimed towards a safe landing in full view of the clubhouse. Anything short will disturb several thousand fish.
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