As the world's elite golfers gather at the Old Course at St Andrews this weekend, local hackers will be able to benefit from the recent flowering of fairways and greens around the Emirates. There are now 21 courses in the UAE, and the increased competition for players means better deals could be there for the taking. And if you can take the heat, summer specials are in full swing. We took a shot at the best deals at top local links.
Lay of the land Dubai's oldest club includes two 18-hole tracks, the Majlis and the Nick Faldo-designed Wadi course, as well as a nine-hole par-three course. The Majlis is considered the gold standard of UAE golf, in part because it's the course where a young Tiger Woods twice won the Dubai Desert Classic. Penalty strokes The par-three course is little more than a pitch-and-putt and only the Faldo course is open at night. Scorecard The club stays in tip-top shape, with fairways like carpets and greens that roll true. At these prices, though, it's best for those that take their golf seriously.(For those willing to play the Wadi course during the day, you would pay the special price below - but playing at night will cost you Dh425.)
Lay of the land South African legend Gary Player designed this beach-front gem that opened earlier this year. It may be the hardest course in the country, with bunkers dominating the landscape on virtually every hole and heavily mounded greens that can make putting an adventure. Penalty strokes When the wind is howling off the Arabian Gulf, the course can be punishing. And without the night golf option, duffers will have little choice but to brave the heat. Scorecard The summer promotion gives players a free round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where the European PGA Tour stops each year, making a tough-to-beat package for two of Abu Dhabi's top courses (applicable Sunday through Thursday; the second round must be played within seven days of the first).
Lay of the land The oldest course in the country, founded in 1987 as an 18-hole sand course, it now features a nine-hole grass layout. The course covers the infield of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, which in the morning presents the unique opportunity to tee off adjacent to running thoroughbreds. Penalty strokes The greens are bumpy and the pace of play can be slow. The floodlights at night miss patches of the course. Scorecard A solid budget option for beginners. Top players will find the layout uninspiring but the location in the centre of town makes it an ideal spot for a quick nine.