If it’s golf you want, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Abu Dhabi. Immaculate courses, luxurious resorts and year-round sunshine make it a damn good choice for some quality tee time – it’s no wonder the city has played host to some of the sport’s most prestigious events. Once you’ve finished on the course you’ll probably want to refuel at a nice food spot or maybe enjoy some beach time. Well, good news – Abu Dhabi isn’t short of those either.
But now, back to golf. Here’s how to get your fix during your trip to the emirate.
Fancy going all out and staying within swinging distance of the course? Treat yourself to a stay at one of these Abu Dhabi golf resorts. Go on, you deserve it.
The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa
Forget taxis and buses – The Westin is perched right on the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Finish your breakfast and be teeing off within minutes. With three swimming pools, three restaurants, three bars, and a spa, the resort has all of the amenities you’d expect from a 5-star hotel, but with a surprisingly affordable price tag – rooms start at around 425 AED (£90/$115). All rooms overlook the course, so you can stare lovingly at it during your down time.
St. Regis Saadiyat Island resort
If you’re after a more beachy vibe, The St. Regis is the way to go. It sits between the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Saadiyat beach – arguably the city’s best. A stay here means you can just hop on a golf buggy outside the hotel and get straight to it. The five-star resort has plenty of other sporting facilities too, including tennis and squash courts – should you have the energy for it after all that hardcore golf action.
Abu Dhabi golf courses
As a city known for luxury, it’s not a huge surprise that the golf courses here are some of the world’s finest. One of the best things about playing here – along with the meticulous maintenance and great service, of course – is the variety. From beachside courses to greens in the desert, golf in Abu Dhabi is far from boring. Here’s our pick of the very best.
Yas Links Golf Club
You may as well play at the number one ranked course in the UAE while you’re here, right? Designed by architect Kyle Philips, the beachside Yas Links course comes with some seriously impressive views – what’s more Abu Dhabi than being able to snap a shot of a Formula 1 racetrack and Ferrari World from a golf course? The 18 holes here offer plenty of challenges, even for the pros. Newbies take note: while visitors are welcome to play, you need a handicap certificate to book a round.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club
Come for the golf, stay to snap photos of the only-in-Abu-Dhabi falcon-shaped clubhouse. As the home of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Abu Dhabi Golf Club has every right to be less than humble. Play where the pros do on the tricky 18-hole National course, or opt for the slightly more gentle nine-hole course. Get some practice in beforehand at the driving range, putting green or chipping green, and be sure to pack your handicap certificate.
Abu Dhabi City Golf Club
Abu Dhabi City Golf Club offers a unique experience for visitors – the chance to play a round with the city’s impressive skyline as a backdrop. The nine-hole course may not be the newest or flashiest, but it is the most accessible and affordable – hence it’s earned the title of ‘The People’s Golf Course’. Beginners are welcome here too; there’s no handicap required, just make sure to book in advance.
Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
Who better to design a golf course than a professional golfer? The 18-hole Saadiyat course is the brainchild of none other than Gary Player, and he sure hasn’t given players an easy ride. With over 65 bunkers, three lakes and several par-four holes, this 300-acre course offers challenges galore. It’s not a bad spot to do a bit of wildlife watching too; dolphins and gazelles are regularly seen nearby. Visitors need a valid handicap certificate to play here.
Not enough time for a game? No worries – most Abu Dhabi golf courses have a driving range onsite, so you can still get your fix in between all that sightseeing. Here’s where to go get swingin’
Abu Dhabi City Golf Club
As the only two-tiered driving range in the city, Abu Dhabi City Golf Club is a great choice if you’re serious about practicing your swing. There’s a short game and long game area, and most of the bays are shaded so you’re unlikely to keel over from heat exhaustion in the summer.
Al Ain Golf Club
Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club is home to a 40-bay grass driving range, with multiple shaded areas. It’s open seven days a week and floodlit so you can keep firing off shots until closing time at 9pm.
Yas Links golf club offers a floodlit driving range in addition to two indoor swing studios, so you can really hone your inner Tiger. It’s open until 10pm, giving you plenty of time to squeeze in a bucket of balls at some point.
Abu Dhabi golf doesn’t stop when the sun sets. Floodlights and late openings mean you can get your beach time during the day and still fit in a round after dinner. Here’s where to go for a top-notch night golf experience.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club
It’s the most famous course in the city, of course it offers night golf. Great quality lights and tee times until 9pm mean you can enjoy this championship course even in the sweltering summer months.
Abu Dhabi City Golf Club
If you’re staying in the Downtown area, this is the place to go. Just five minutes from Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, an evening here means you don’t have to leave the city. Last tee time is 9pm.
Best golf club dining
Abu Dhabi golf courses aren’t just about tee time, you know. The clubhouses and golf resorts here are home to some really special food spots. Whether you’re fueling up before a round or unwinding after, here’s where to tuck in before teeing off.
If you’re after a casual atmosphere, Cafe 28 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club is a good choice. The dishes are international – everything from Mexican and Japanese to Italian and, of course, Arabic. If you’re teeing off on a Saturday you could even pop over for the popular Saturday roast – probably better to save it for after the game, though.
A Japanese restaurant inside a golf club doesn’t exactly scream authenticity, but Matsu is happily an exception. Head up the stairs at Yas Links Golf Club to find this (thankfully) lesser known spot, where Japanese chefs serve up the best sushi and sashimi in the city. There’s also a bar serving sake and shochu, along with all the usual non-Japanese tipples.
If you’ve really outdone yourself on the course, Fairways is the perfect place to fill up. Set inside The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, there are both lunch and dinner buffets available here, although they offer something far fancier than regular all-you-can-eats. Take your pick from the roast, grill and seafood stations, all serving up a range of beautifully presented international dishes.
Need a hearty brunch to fix you on the morning after? Take a look at our guide to the best brunch spots to visit.
Looking for thrills and adventure in Abu Dhabi? There are plenty – you just have to know where to look. It all starts with sending the Orbzii app to your phone, and get ready to dream, plan and book your once-in-a-lifetime trip to the emirate.