Dubai golf icon celebrates landmark anniversary

The Middle East’s first all-grass 18-hole golf course is 25-years-old today…

Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, underlined its status as a pioneer for golf in the Middle East when it celebrated its 25th birthday today.

In 1988, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced radical plans for the Emirate, including the construction of Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis Course.

Today the club sports two of Dubai’s best golf courses, including the Faldo Course – the only 18-hole course in the region where you can play night golf.

Both courses wind across natural rolling desert terrain ending at an innovative eye-catching clubhouse built in the shape of Bedouin tents.

Emirates Dubai Clubhouse shaped like Bedouin style tents

Clubhouse at Emirates Golf Club Dubai

Tagged the ‘desert miracle’, over its 25-year history Emirates Golf Club has welcomed many of the world’s top players who have competed in the European Tour sanctioned Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Past winners include Ernie Els (three times), Tiger Woods (twice), Severiano Ballesteros, Fred Couples, Rory McIlroy and Colin Montgomerie.

George O’Grady CBE, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “It was Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to turn Dubai into a major golfing destination that proved the catalyst for what has been a remarkable 25-year journey and we congratulate everyone associated with the Emirates Golf Club – and Golf in Dubai – on reaching this notable milestone.

The Majlis Course has been presented with numerous accolades over its 25-year history, the most recent of which were its 2012 ranking by Golf World magazine as one of the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in the World’ and its award for ‘Best Course Middle East’ in the Asian Golf Monthly Awards 2010.

Golf is booming in the UAE

Golf booming in the UAE says Dubai Golf (photo David Cannon Getty Images)

Christopher May, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Golf, said: “Emirates Golf Club is an iconic venue and a much-loved symbol of Dubai.

In a relatively short period of time it has witnessed, and been a significant part of, the region’s success. With the continued support of our owners, wasl Asset Management, we look forward with great optimism to build on the heritage and reputation that has been created over the past 25 years.”

To underline its commitment to uphold and enhance the quality and consistency of its courses, Emirates Golf Club recently completed a multi-million pound upgrade to its irrigation systems, installing state-of-the-art, environment-friendly technology.

The new system includes:

  • 8,800 metres of mainline piping
  • 33,500 metres of lateral piping
  • new state-of-the-art pump station allows up to 6,500 gallons of treated sewage effluent (TFE) water per minute to travel through the network

Top Facts about Emirates Club

The designer’s ambition for the Majlis…

Designer Florida-based Karl Litten’s main aim was to preserve as much of the land’s natural character, with numerous patches of desert and natural vegetation that are consistent with this terrain.

The Majlis’ iconic 18th hole…

The most famous victim to the 18th on the Majlis course is Tiger Woods. Seemingly on his way to victory in the 2001 Dubai Desert Classic, Woods punched his third shot into the lake allowing Dane, Thomas Bjorn, to see out the hole and win the trophy.

Majlis course record…

The course record of 61 is held by Ernie Els (in 1994), three-time winner of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Youngest winner of the Dubai Desert Classic…

Northern Ireland teenager and current World Number One, Rory McIlroy, at 19 years and 273 days, became the youngest winner of the Dubai Desert Classic 2009.

Flora, desert and water combine…

The Majlis course features hundreds of indigenous species of flora and fauna, beautifully complemented by meandering fairways and seven fresh and saltwater lakes that come into play on 10 holes.

After 24 appearances…

Englishman, Barry Lane, a veteran of 23 Dubai Desert Classics said, “It’s incredible,” before his 24th appearance. “When I first played here in 1989, the Emirates Golf Club was right out in the desert and now – as you see with the skyscrapers all around it – it’s right in the middle of town.”

Commemorative book launched to mark club’s Silver Anniversary…

Emirates Golf Club and Motivate Publishing have released Rodney J. Bogg’s much-awaited book ‘The Desert Miracle’, marking the occasion of the golf clubs’s 25th anniversary. Rodney J. Bogg was the first General Manger of Emirates Golf Club.

Emirates Golf Club’s sister course, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, is also celebrating a significant milestone – its 20th anniversary.

Incorporating an 18-hole championship golf course, a nine-hole Par 3 course, golf academy, six restaurants, and a newly refurbished Fit Lab, it also boasts 92 residential executive villas and a 121-berth marina.

For further information about Emirates Golf Club and its sister course, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, visit

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Global Golfer is a magazine for anyone who simply has to tee it up on their travels - from a sheep-shorn 9 holer on a Scottish island to luxury resorts in the Caribbean - we take you inside the ropes of the world's golf courses, resorts and bucket-list buddy trips.

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