TIME FOR TEE
Those looking to putt in a round or two in Dubai need only recite a list of some of the world’s top golfers and course designers to identify their preferred order of play – from Ernie Els and Colin Montgomerie to Robert Trent Jones and, to come, Greg Norman and the Tiger himself.
It all started in 1988 with the Emirates Golf Club, designed by Karl Litten and located on the far edge of the city where the desert landscape was innovatively incorporated in to a lush green 18-hole course – and now the skyscrapers of the city frame the still verdant grasses and turquoise lake.
Home of the famed Dubai Desert Classic, it has been joined by a colony of equally prestigious championship courses from the Dubai Creek Golf Course occupying a tranquil spot mid-town to the Al Badia Golf Course managed by IHG with its equally impressive clubhouse, The Montgomerie with lakes, links, the world’s largest green, and a luxury resort and spa on-site, and the Ernie Els’ course at The Dunes located in Dubai Sports City, with a challenging 60 bunkers surrounding the 18 holes.
All boast signature holes, multitudinous tees and visually stunning environments, and a Nakheel project in association with Greg Norman set to add a further six courses to Dubai’s score-card, the emirate continues to prove a magnet for players of all capabilities.
And, for those with just a few hours to spare, pencil in a round at the nine-hole course at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa – where partners can while away the hour on the beach, in the spa, playing croquet or potting a clay pigeon or two at the shooting range – or opt for a short pitch’n’putt at the Hyatt Regency.
WET AND WILD...
With a location on the coast, in the Arabian Gulf – and a nearly year-round record of sunshine - it would be criminal to visit Dubai and not take advantage of its beach and sea attractions.
Most beach hotels offer extensive facilities to cater to group activities, including staging energetic beach Olympics or mini regattas, while more thrilling options include jet ski-ing, parasailing, wake boarding, kite surfing and even deep sea fishing.
There’s snorkelling and diving sites just offshore, plus a flotilla of boats available for hire including dhows, catamarans and luxury yachts catering to every requirement from sunset cruises and tours of The Palms and The World to team-building races.
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
There’s dune dinners and city tours and shopping, but for those with a yen for something authentically Arabian, there’s now camel polo...
The sport of kings in Dubai has a new angle, with horses replaced by camels and a large inflatable ball providing play. Organised by Gulf Ventures at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, there are 10 polo-playing camels, each of which is ridden by two players (one driving and one aiming for the ball), with the roles reversed after each ‘chukka’.
According to Gulf Ventures, groups of up to 100 can be accommodated in a fun tournament, with breakfast or dinner options at the club to provide a prize ceremony.
More sedate, but equally thrilling, Seawings offers a distinctly different panorama of Dubai, ideal for those on time-pressed visits.
The tour operator with a fleet of nine-seat Cessna 208 seaplanes provides sightseeing tours departing from the Jebel Ali Golf Resort taking in Dubai icons including Burj Al Arab, The Palm Jumeirah and The World, as well as the creek, marina and Jumeirah beach ... but all from a bird’s eye viewpoint at 1,500ft.
In addition, the company offers group charters and organises trips to neighbouring emirates, reaching the places land transport cannot reach and combining flights with activities including spa and beach downtime, mountain safaris, dhow and dolphin cruise or deep-sea fishing.
Others qualifying for an adrenalin kick include hot-air ballooning over the desert; kayaking in the mangroves; car and bike racing at the Dubai AutoDrome, go-karting and the ultimate treasure hunt, at night, in the desert.