Where to play golf at discounted rates in Dubai this summer
Time Out Dubai staff
Al Badia Golf Club Phenomenal summer rates at this 18-hole course in Festival City are available every day of the week, with the discount rising later in the day. On weekdays, rates for UAE residents (depending on tee time) range from Dhs250 to Dhs95, while weekend rates range from Dhs325 to Dhs95 after 5.30pm. Until September 30. Dubai Festival City (04 601 0101).
Arabian ranches golf club With the Ranches' summer membership deal, get unlimited rounds of golf, food and beverage discounts, tuition fees at The Academy, preferential tee time booking slots and rewards from Troon Golf. Dhs3,995 (single), Dhs5,995 (couple), Dhs2,195 (junior). Until September 30. Arabian Ranches (04 366 4700).
Emirates Golf club Summer night golf is back at the floodlit, 18-hole Faldo course. Tee times are available until 9.55pm on weekdays and 7.55pm on weekends. Nine holes Dhs280 (EGF member), 18 holes Dhs450 (non-member), Dhs365 (member). UAE residents deal: In addition to tee-off after 8pm for nine holes, the special rate of Dhs275 includes a burger and hops beverage in Spike Bar. Until September 30. Emirates Living (04 417 9800).
JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort The ‘Midweek Swing’ deal, priced at Dhs2,295, includes unlimited green fees, cart fees, balls and a 20 percent discount on food and beverage. The full, seven-days-a-week Summer Swing card is priced at Dhs3,395. Until October 15. Jebel Ali (04 814 4023).
Par 3 courses Fancy something shorter and a little more accessible? Try one of these academy spots
Dubai Creek Golf Club This floodlit, nine-hole par 3 course at Dubai Creek Golf Academy is open until 10pm every day and a great place for beginners to gain confidence. Dhs70. Until September 30. Deira (04 380 1234).
The Montgomerie Head to The Academy by Troon Golf to play this nine-hole par 3 course. The rate includes unlimited access to the driving range. Dhs120. Until September 30. Emirates Hills (04 363 1209).
But can you play golf under the summer sun? There are some amazing deals on golf being offered at Dubai courses right now, but is it actually possible to play 18 holes in the midday heat? We teed off to find out.
For golf enthusiasts of all handicaps, living in Dubai is a dream. The city is packed with championship courses designed by an array of the sport's key figureheads – from Faldo to Els to Montgomerie and more – and the sun shines all year round. And as far as 19th holes go, Dubai similarly boasts some of the very finest bars and clubhouses to celebrate or commiserate in after a few hours spent working on your game.
There are two problems, though. The first is that golf isn’t the cheapest hobby around – memberships at clubs in Dubai are on the steep side and a single round for a non-member can, in peak season, set you back as much as Dhs900.
The second is that the balmy weather golfers enjoy so much for nine months of the year becomes their nemesis during the summer months, when temperatures inch towards 50°C.
But every summer, clubs across the city slash their rates on green fees, helping with the first of these issues and enticing golf fans without deep pockets out onto the course.
So far so tempting. But what about the heat? Given the walk from your front door to your car of a morning can have you drenched, is really possible to squeeze in a full 18 holes without actually expiring?
And, sheer survival aside, is the experience actually enjoyable?
There seemed only one way to properly find out. And so it was that we donned our most luminescent orange trousers (we would like to offer our sincere apologies for any offence these pictures may cause) and hit the fairway.
‘The key is to prepare fully before you go out,’ says Martyn Hamer, a local PGA professional. ‘Your best chance of having an enjoyable round during the summer is to do as much as you can to combat the elements before you get on the course. That starts with what you’re wearing. Make sure your clothing is light-coloured and a lightweight material, and is relatively loose fitting.’ Which makes it unfortunate we didn't speak to him before making our strange sartorial statement.
Nevertheless, to the first hole we go. It's 11.15am and 41°C, but the heat doesn’t feel too oppressive. Yet. We tee off full of confidence and surprised at both how relatively cool we feel and at the handful of other golfers also braving the elements. Not to mention the fact that our drive appears to have actually cleared the ladies' tee for once.
Fifteen minutes into the round, however, and everything changes. A wave of heat envelops us. Out of nowhere we’re sweating buckets, and we’re even feeling a little short of breath. We have hit a weathery wall.
But here's the interesting thing: one big glug of water under the shade of our buggy, accompanied by one of the cold towels provided draped across our forehead for a few seconds, and our body starts to acclimatise. Our pores cease their outpouring (almost). Our chest gets lighter (for now). Our focus narrows and our concentration kicks in (a first). Could this actually work?
We press on. And with every minute that goes by, coping becomes easier and easier. Come the end of the third (which we miraculously even manage to par), we feel settled and ready to spend the next three hours out on the course. Which is precisely what we do.
As much as we generally tend to be the pub bore (in the traffic cone trousers) who goes into forehead-spanking detail about every single shot we played, we will, for the purposes of pride and space (but mainly pride) keep the details of our final scorecard to ourselves. However, we can officially report back that our game was categorically not affected by the heat or humidity. We hit some good balls and some fairly awful ones, but that’s just the game. At no point, unfortunately, could we blame the weather for our inconsistent play. And, given that this year's Open at St Andrews was forced to drift – to the dropped jaws of many pundits – into a fourth day of play due to poor weather conditions, isn't it fair to say that battling the elements are as much a key component of the game as personal psychology and terrible fashion choices?
One thing is for certain: by the time we stroll off the 18th green, ready for a well-earned beverage at the 19th, we’re exhausted but buoyed by the experience, and convinced that a round of summer golf here in Dubai is no more challenging than winter ones across the other side of the world. We’re confident that with proper preparation, any average golfer would cope comfortably with playing under the midday sun.
Stick to the obvious precautions and playing golf at the height of a Dubai summer isn’t only possible, it’s a joy. Stay in the shade of the golf cart as much as possible. Drink way more water than you think you need to. Don't wear orange trousers. And make the most of the fantastic discounts available at the city’s golf courses. It’s going to be an exhausting experience, but a thoroughly satisfying one. And seriously cost effective, too. For details on some of the fantastic golf deals and discounts across Dubai this summer, check the box out.
Must-try 19th holes Birdies Sports Lounge With sports shown all day on screens around the room and refreshments served from 6.30am to 10.30pm (though the bar is open until midnight, if you're teeing off later), cool off here after working on your handicap. Arabian Ranches Golf Club, Arabian Ranches, off Al Qudra Road (04 360 7935).
Boardwalk It’s not technically Dubai Creek Golf Club’s designated post-round bar, but for a cool drink, great Creek views and seriously satsifying grub (including pizzas fired in a special oven), there’s nowhere we’d rather go. In cooler months, be sure to grab a seat on the deck. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
Spike Bar Conveniently located right next to the floodlit driving range, this place has a relaxed vibe, and serves a great buffet breakfast (Dhs75 per person) if you’re up early to practise your swing. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Living (04 417 9999).