Dubai Hills Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Richard Moore
Dubai Hills is an estate set a few miles in land from the coast roughly in line with the famous Burj Al Arab Hotel. It has many new houses and a new golf course which opened at the end of 2018, but except for many of the incredible houses still under construction around the course, you would never tell the course is only in its fourth year.
All of Dubai’s courses have been created from scratch literally carved out of the desert - a blank canvas - so no natural water. But the design of Dubai Hills draws on the natural topography of the location, and no doubt has had some additional earth moving to help create such an undulating course. The attention to details is outstanding, immaculate tees, fairways and greens - many of them firm and undulating - but not overly fast! There are valleys and lakes aplenty and a lot of strategic bunkering in the fairways.
A large part of this region is still under construction, with new roads being built, so a word of warning - it was not easy to find. Although my taxi driver told me he knew where he was going (culturally the taxi drivers in Dubai always say ‘yes’ and never admit to not knowing), so we ended up in the middle of a construction site at one point. I’d advise handing the taxi driver the exact spelling of the destination on a piece of paper. Google Maps doesn’t always pick up the roads either, Dubai Hills is that new!
The entrance is pretty grand once you do arrive, driving through an impressive gate with security. The clubhouse is large, modern and impressive and the golf reception is more akin to a hotel, leading you to a brasserie for a pre-match breakfast/lunch and a bar to the right for watching sport and pint after the round overlooking the 18th, with a nice veranda area.
Included with the green fee are GPS buggies, tees, pencils, and access to the practice range, which is around 250 yards long, but they request no drivers. Most driving ranges you see in the region are flat like at Emirates GC, Jumeriah Estates, Dubai Creek etc, but this one has mounds and undulations - a hint for what is to follow at the aptly named Dubai Hills.
Front 9 Overview
The first hole is inviting, a gentle opener at 378 yards off blues, where the longer hitters just need to avoid fairway bunkers before an uphill approach to a generous green. The second gives an indication to the hills with a par 3 of around 160 yards to an elevated green over a valley of shrubs. Very picturesque. The views of some of the houses around the course are indicative of the scenery around the course, you often imagine who would be living in them when they are finished (many still under construction which if I’m being harsh is my only criticism of the course as it is still new!)
The third is unique hole. Directly in front of the tee sitting at 354 yards is the green which will tempt some of the boomers as the only danger is wasteland that runs for 300 yards in front of it. The mere mortals take aim at the fairway down the left that runs adjacent to the wasteland.
The fourth is a long par 4 at 425 yards running through a valley and then up to an elevated green. It is here we saw our first wildlife - a small herd of small gazelle-like animals often see basking in the sunshine in the wasteland areas on the course. A nice touch.
The fifth provides your first view of the Burj Khalifa from the tee - so no doubt everyone pauses for a few photos before they take on what is a reachable par 5 (at 520) for the bigger hitters. There is a refreshment centre (sorry ‘hut’ is not a worthy enough description) so you can pick up supplies. I tried a can of coconut water (with bits of coconut floating in it!), before the short par 4 6th (299 yards). A brilliant short hole to test your strategy off the tee. Loved it (I guess the par helped). The 7th is a dog-legging right par 4 needing precision drive to avoid the wasteland set more than 10 feet below the level of the fairway, which needs to be avoided to make par on this 421 yarder. The 9th must be one of the toughest par 3s I’ve played. At 206 yards from blue tees with a huge expanse of water to carry, it is a real nerve jangler. A great looking hole. And the green is large but with a big slope back down towards the water. Proper three-putt territory!
Back 9 Overview
Lots more of the same style holes to start the back nine, but some nice unique holes follow which are to be enjoyed. On the par 3 13th I saw my first tree! One of the iconic indigenous ‘Ghaf’ trees stands to the left of the hole. The 15th is a brute of a par 5 at 554 yards straight then up to an elevated green. But it is the last three holes that are the best part of the course in my opinion. The 16th is a dog-leg right to left around a small copse of palm trees, for the big hitters to clear; but water lies to the right for any big push! It features a nice-looking elevated green again surrounded by wonder houses. Then the 17th provides another hazardous par 3 of 191 yards all over water to jangle the nerves once again. Bail out to the left into wasteland is an option!
Finally, the par 4 18th is a glorious finish. A long hole at 439 yards finishing with the 18th in front of the clubhouse, and a hugely undulating green - provided you circumnavigate the lake short right of the green for your approach.
Shooting 29 points on a new course wasn’t too bad. Interestingly one of the two holes I blobbed was the SI 18 10th. A very straightforward hole but going bunker to bunker can make a real mess of your card. Even the easiest holes on paper pack a hidden bite. So, beware.
If you want to play a really manicured course, which does not quite have the hefty price tag of the Emirates or Dubai Creek Golf Courses (which can get fully booked - even for members trying to play them!) then this is a must. You’ll pay £130 in the morning and this drops to £65 after 2pm.
It does not have the varied views of the Creek or the iconic ones of the Emirates GC, but seeing the Burj Khalifa (the largest building in the world) on most of the holes is really awe inspiring. It was pretty hazy the week I was there, so the view was not clear for photos but still impressive and still has you reaching for your camera.
Dubai Hills is a great test of your golf, and even for high handicappers I’d encourage to play. You won’t actually lose many balls! Instead of rough the course designers tend to leave sandy wasteland and low scrubs around the course - which adds to the attractiveness/visual contracts on the holes. So wayward shots can often be found, and you can play off the firm sandy waste areas.
For more information on Dubai Hills, please visit https://www.dubaihillsgolfclub.com/.
Overall Rating - 9
Course (Conditions) - 10
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 8
Course (Green Condition) - 10
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9
Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 10
Practice Facilities - 9
Friendliness/Hospitality - 9
Pace of Play - 10
Value for Money - 9
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|Dubai Hills Golf Club
from 14 reviews