A new golf course designed by Gary Johnston of European Golf Design has opened at Dubai Hills Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates.
The club is part of the new Dubai Hills Estate community developed by Emaar, the company behind much of Dubai’s best-known real estate, including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
The 2,700-acre Dubai Hills Estate will include residences, schools, healthcare, retail and recreation facilities. It is located close to the Al Khail Road, half way between the downtown Dubai area and Jumeirah Village. It is a short drive from many of Dubai’s other golf courses, including Jumeirah Golf Estates, The Els Club and Emaar-owned Arabian Ranches.
GCA visited the new layout in late November, the week before it officially opened.
“The golf course design evolved to create three subtly different landscape characters,” says Johnston. “The front nine has some dramatic elevation changes with wadi-style features, the holes leading back to the clubhouse (the eighth, ninth, seventeenth and eighteenth) are built around a series of lakes (which double as irrigation storage) and are lusher in their planting style, then the back nine, which is more desert-like in the shaping and planting.
Holes are generally set below the level of surrounding residences, and the routing twists and turns to give each hole its own setting. This – combined with interesting, strategic hole designs and the ever-present Dubai skyline – creates a memorable experience that is likely to rank highly among the United Arab Emirates’ golf offerings.
“The finishing holes that feature the risk-reward carries over water will probably be amongst the most memorable,” says Johnston. “But personally, I’m a big fan of short par fours and was pleasantly surprised with how the sixth hole turned out. At 330 yards from the back tee and with a helping slope on the right, I would imagine there will be plenty of golfers who try to drive the green, but the bunkers and slopes on and around the green will still make it interesting.”
The course was constructed by Desert Group, the Dubai-based firm that also handle the construction of Jumeirah Golf Estates, and uses the latest salt-tolerant paspalum grass varieties supplied by Atlas Turf. The irrigation system is from Rain Bird and the club is operated by Troon, with Elliott Gray as general manager.
A full report on Dubai Hills will appear in the January 2019 issue of Golf Course Architecture. Visit our subscribe page to make sure you receive a copy.