x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Caught at the creek

A feeling of trepidation engulfs you, especially if you have come to grief on any of the first five holes.

The water on the right, the gardens of the houses that flank the hole on the left and the massive pond in front of the green ensure that there is no relaxing on the second shot.
The water on the right, the gardens of the houses that flank the hole on the left and the massive pond in front of the green ensure that there is no relaxing on the second shot.

A feeling of trepidation engulfs you, especially if you have come to grief on any of the first five holes, as you walk towards the imposing 800-metre Burj skyscraper across a raised platform on to the tee which is actually perched over the water. You realise that you will shortly be up the Creek without a paddle if your driver fails you and leaks the ball to the right. Even a good hit to the left is not necessarily safe because the gardens of the houses bordering the course are within reach and so - for the big hitters - is the massive pond which runs all the way up to the green to ensure that there is no relaxing on the second shot, even with a dry ball.

Stephen Hubner, one of a team of professionals at the club which borders the famous Dubai Boardwalk leading to the yachting part of the complex, has recently altered his approach to this potential card-wrecker. Hubner, a Glaswegian who finished third in the UAE professionals' order of merit, said: "When I first came out to the Creek I would normally play a mid iron to be short of the water and then have an eight or nine iron to the green because the hole is generally down wind.

"I have now started going for it a bit with a driver but it's not really a clever shot. "It is not really a birdie hole so play it with two irons and have your two putts and walk on. "The Creek on the right is not really in play but the water down the left is." Hubner's colleague David Gray, another Scot who finished one place higher at second in the order of merit, remarked: "The sixth is a fantastic hole off the pontoon tee. You have the marina and boardwalk in view. It is a spectacular tee shot that puts you in two minds. If you hit short left you have water to carry into the green. Driver to the right is the other option."

@Email:wjohnson@thenational.ae