Oil-rich Abu Dhabi is really being put on the map of the sporting world in recent years. It already boasts a spectacular state-of-the-art Formula 1 circuit, as well as a Premier League football team which they’ve decided to base in Manchester.
And now Yas Links, the new Kyle Phillips-designed golf course, has been named the best course in the Middle East by Golf Course Architecture magazine.
The world-class development on Yas Island, home to Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, has received widespread critical acclaim.
It is the first Middle East design for leading course architect Phillips, whose portfolio includes World Top 100 course Kingsbarns, Scotland, as well as the highly-rated Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily, Dundonald, Scotland, and The Grove, London.
This extraordinary links track overlooks the Arabian Gulf that rides rolling sand hills along two miles of coastline, and features nine seashore greens.
Golf Course Architecture editor Adam Lawrence described Yas Links as “the first pure golf course in the Gulf” and “a golf experience like no other in the region.”
He added: “I am very confident in asserting that Yas Links is the best course in the Middle East by a distance, and that it has taken golf in the region to a whole new level.”
In a unique twist, Phillips was able to design not only the golf course, but the coastline along which the course runs. That’s because the channel along the western edge of Yas Island had to be dredged to produce the 1.8 million cubic metres of fill used to construct the golf course.
The result is a coastline that lends itself perfectly to exciting golf holes, and one that is also benefiting from an approved environmental programme that has introduced 130,000 mangrove plants.
Chris White, Yas Links general manager, said: “Kyle has created a breathtaking golf experience and one that is unique in the Middle East. It is a rolling, heaving golf course, weaving through sand hills and wending its way along the shoreline with views of the Arabian Gulf on all 18 holes.
“It is interesting talking to golfers as they come in from their rounds – you can see the exhilaration and enjoyment in their faces. They know they have played a very special golf course.”
Yas Links is peppered with 119 bunkers, while Paspalum Platinum links grass covers the sand hills and defines the fairways of the 7,414-yard, par-72 course, which has five different tee settings to make the course challenging from the Championship tees, while creating an enjoyable experience for members and visitors.
Yas Links is part of Aldar Properties’ Yas Island development, a global leisure destination. Golf facilities at Yas Links also include a 5,750 m2 (57,000 ft2) luxury clubhouse and world-class, floodlit practice ranges and golf academy.
Some of the world’s top golfers will experience Yas Links for themselves in 2011 when the world’s most prestigious one-day Pro-Am tournament moves to Abu Dhabi.
The Invitational, on January 17, 2011, will feature some of the world’s best players, including world number one Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Rory McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia.
For more information, visit the Yas Links website.