|007 booking hotline||+852 2180 2963 or book-on-line|
|No. of Holes||18|
|Yardage/Par||7,691 (Back) / 72|
|Designer||Ian Baker-Finch / Nicklaus Design|
|Course Transport||Golf Carts (with GPS)|
The course is located a fair way (not fairway) out from the glitzy skyscrapers and hotels and resorts of Dubai, amid the expatriate encalve of Arabian Ranches. A taxi from Jumeirah Beach will take around 45mins; travelling from the Deira (the city centre) will take at least an hour.
Fairway & Green maintenance
Like the other courses in Dubai: exceptional. The faiways run hard and fast while the greens are cut low – meaning, of course, super slick putting surfaces. Also like the other courses in Dubai, Arabian Ranches uses millions of gallons of water a day keeping the grass green. This makes green fees higher than in most other countries but it’s worth the extra cash if you get to play superbly conditioned courses the whole time. (Take note Chinese course owners!).
Caddy Service & knowledge
There are no caddies at Arabian Ranches. Although it’s unlikely that a caddie service will be implemented, a well-trained caddie would certainly help here.
Arabian Ranches (formerly known as the Desert Course) has something of a reputation among Dubai’s golfing populous. Why? Well, it’s unquestionably the toughest course in the emirate and high handicappers (in fact anyone who can’t keep it straight) are advised to stay away.
The course is routed through unforgiving wild desert scrub and its rippling fairways, which can be hard to make out from the tee because of the flatness of the land and the encroaching scrub, are relatively narrow compared with Emirates GC and Dubai Creek G&YC. When the wind whips off the desert – as it usually does throughout the year – it wreaks havoc on anyone who isn’t in control of their game.
Although this isn’t a really long course from the blue tees (from the tips it’s an absolute monster at over 7,600 yards) the premium is on accuracy off the tee. Miss the fairway and it’ll definitely cost a shot at least (if you’re lucky enough to even find your ball). The desert scrub is in play on every hole and the greens feature some frightening slopes. Interestingly, there isn’t a defined bunker or water hazard on the course. The sand that you see is where the designers have allowed the desert to remain; these are treated as ‘waste areas’ which means you’re allowed to ground your club if you end up in them. On the flip side, however, these are seldom raked which makes them true hazards for even the best sand players.
Given the difficulty in actually seeing the landing areas from the tee – they’re not hidden exactly but the flatness of the land certainly affects depth percecption – this could be the most befuddling course to play for first timers. Fortunately, all the carts feature GPS technology which gives a pretty good idea where you should be aiming. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a help. If this was a walking course (with no GPS) I think we’d still be out there playing.
A gentle dogleg to the left. As you’ll learn, you definitely need a good drive on every hole here or else you’ll be playing from the desert scrub (if you are lucky enough to actually find your ball).
Wickedly sloping narrow green on this mid-length par-3.
Narrow fairway on this relatively short par-5. It’s actually very difficult to spot the desired landing area here so check the GPS system in the golf cart. Pay attention on your second shot: the desert scrub impinges on the fairway meaning you have to know your yardages.
Fairway is a bit more generous on this par-4. Difficulty lies with the approach to the well-guarded green.
A tough par-4 that requires two excellent shots to reach the green in regulation. Again, accuracy here is imperative.
Don’t risk the driver here. Fairway wood and a short iron is all that’s needed.
Supremely difficult par-3. Huge greenside bunker swallows any shots underhit. Green features two tiers. Good luck!
Straightaway par-5. Open green allows run up shots.
When do the tough par-4s stop? Another two mighty shots required here. Undulating fairway means you could be faced with an interesting lie.
Fairway narrows at around 250-yards so this might not be the time to hit driver – penal desert bushes and scrub await. Although it’s a short hole par is never a bad score.
A bit more room on this par-4 so give it a rip with the driver. You’ll need a good one to reach in two.
Another nice, but deadly, par-3. Desert encroaches in front of the green so going long is a better option than short.
A reachable par-5. Again, the fairway narrows at the length of a good drive (from the blues). Approach is played uphill to a tilted green. As good a birdie chance as you’re likely to find here.
Straightaway par-4. Massive bunker – although it’s not designated a bunker, but an extension of the desert – sits short of the green and is definitely not the place to be.
Potentially rechable with the drive, this par-4 offers a great birdie opportunity. Watch out for the wind though. It normally blows from the green to tee so consider bailing out to the right with the drive. From there it’s only a short pitch.
Long punishing par-5. Accuracy is vital. Miss this fairway and you’ll do well to make bogey.
Black – 236, Gold – 195, Blue – 177, White – 143, Red – 131
Par-3, Index, 17.
Mid iron tee shot required on this par-3 with its narrow green. Not easy but classed as index 17 which gives an idea how tough this course really is.
Good finishing hole. Drive over the desert and hope the ball runs down the fairway because tackling this green with a long iron is dicey.
The Golf007 rating panel are a little at odds with each other on this one. We all agree that the clubhouse and accompanying facilities are first class, the maintenance superb, and the experience traumatic, but we’re divided on the quality of golf here. This English reviewer thinks the course, although an incredibly demanding test for sure, could, in time, become one of the best in this part of the world – although the surrounding real estate, which catches the eye on a number of holes, is pretty grotesque – and low handicappers should definitely pay it a visit. Actually, that should read visits because it becomes a lot more enjoyable (and easier to play) once you get your bearings. Higher handicappers should stick to the easier tracks at Emirates Golf Club, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and the Montgomerie Dubai.