Rory McIlroy, who, like Luke Donald last season, has clinched top spot on the money lists of both the European and PGA tours, tees off with other stars at the Greg Norman-designed Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates November 22 to 25. Prize money totals $8 million (all figures in U.S. dollars), with $1,333,300 going to the tourney’s winner.
A Middle Eastern fantasyland of visually stunning and outrageously expensive architecture, Dubai teetered on the brink following the worldwide financial crisis of 2008. Tiger Woods Dubai, a typically grandiose golf course and private residential development, featured prominently among hundreds of cancelled building projects. But Woods himself was reported to have walked away with at least $20 million in advance fees.
Dubai is finally showing signs of economic recovery. Recently announced high-profile projects include a replica of India’s Taj Mahal about four times bigger than the original, a skyscraper with nine swimming pools, and a canal that snakes around downtown office towers for 1.6 kilometres.
Fortunately for golfers, an impressive roster of championship courses blossomed like desert flowers during the good times. Here, three must-play courses in still-fabulous Dubai:
Home of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, the Greg Norman-designed Earth course features generous fairways and treacherously sloped greens. Beware the 18th, a par-five beast where a rock-lined stream splits the fairway. Norman also designed Fire, the property’s excellent second course.
Designed by Florida-based architect Karl Litten, the flagship Majlis Course, which weaves around seven lakes, is famous as the home of the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic. The challenging 18-hole Faldo Course, meanwhile, is floodlit for nighttime play.
Surrounded by some of Dubai’s most exclusive homes, The Mongomerie is a no-expenses-spared desert oasis, featuring 14 lakes and 93 acres of landscaped gardens. The signature hole is the par-five fifth, dubbed the Snake for its dogleg saddleback fairway and the twin bunkers behind the green that terrify like a serpent’s unblinking eyes.
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