Golf in Dubai: The Els Club
The Els Club opened in 2007 to announce the launch of the multi-billion dollar Dubai Sports City, which also features mega cricket, soccer and tennis projects. Open Championship winner Els designed the golf course to reflect his passion for the great links courses of the UK to a desert landscape. The result is a “desert links” course which is described as a combination of a links and traditional classical-era courses.
If Ernie himself is known as The Big Easy, the course which bears his name is fitting of only one of those designations, because easy it is not. But this course is big, at 7,538 yards, with large fairways to match the course’s length. Holes are made up of features from Els’ favourite courses from around the world, including bunkers from Royal Melbourne and greens resembling Pinehurst No. 2. The wide links fairways may lull you into a false sense of security, but steep bunkers will soon taunt you from their spots aside distinctive greens. Quick, perfectly manicured putting surfaces require a deft touch once you do make it onto the short stuff. The course loops around the luxury Villa Heights community. The course has five sets of tees to allow a challenge for players of all standards.
Facilities and activities
The club’s Butch Harmon School of Golf, one of the leading academies in the region, had a rebrand at the start of the year to become the Claude Harmon Performance Golf Academy Dubai. Butch is widely considered one of the world’s top coaches and hands the brand over to his son, who was based in Dubai for many years. The facility features state-of-the-art computer and video equipment to analyse the swing of any player, while work on a new state-of-the-art leisure facility is also under way. Managed by The Troon International brand, it will have a large resort-style swimming pool, gym, children’s play area and an additional restaurant.
The 19th and beyond
This quaint bar and restaurant overlooking the course features a fantastic balcony area from which to take in the beautiful views. The menu is filled with favourites from Els’ native South Africa, including boerewors, lamb shank bunny chow, guinea fowl and ostrich, while drinks prices are reasonable considering the grand surroundings, while the friendliness of staff is genuine. 261 Restaurant - named after Els’ PGA Tour record-breaking 72-hole aggregate in the 2003 Mercedes Championship - is a tidy spot for post-round refreshments.
Rack rates: Until April 27 2019 AED995 rack rate, AED835 (Fri-Sat, 14-day booking window), AED680 (Sun-Thu, 14-day booking window).
Summer rates to be confirmed. Including buggy and bucket of sharing balls for practise, club hire AED250 per player.
Where: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road
Contact: +971 4 425 1000, elsclubdubai.com