GCA visited Yas Links, Kyle Phllips’s recently opened course in Abu Dhabi today, and found what must surely be considered the Middle East’s best golf course.
Located right next to Abu Dhabi’s new Formula 1 racing circuit, on the enormous Yas Island development being created by the state-owned company Aldar, Phillips’s course breaks the Gulf mode. It’s a total core golf experience: there is no real estate on the interior of the course, and, rather than the waterfront space being saved for property, there are golf holes all the way down the 3km coastline.
In fact, Phillips did more that just design the course – he designed the coast as well! Yas’s waterfront is built up using fill dredged from the sea, and part of Phillips’s task was arranging for that fill to be placed in such a way as to enable him to create exciting waterfront holes – which he has certainly done, with the par three thirteenth and seventeenth both being among the most photogenic golfers will see anywhere in the world. Phillips’s staff shaper Dave Smith has done a wonderful job in replicating the contours of a true links course; the challenge will be for greenkeeper Mike Clarke to get the Platinum paspalum grass, supplied by Jennings Turf International running quickly enough to make the contours stand out.
For a more detailed report on Yas Links, subscribe to receive the forthcoming October edition of Golf Course Architecture.