GOLF COURSES

REVIEWED: AL ZOHRA GOLF CLUB AJMAN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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THE SETUP

The Al Zorah course is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful golf courses in the region.

Nestled amidst the mangroves, water is a constant presence throughout the course. It’s surrounded by approximately one million square meters of mangroves, presenting a unique challenge for players as the tides transform the course with each season.

Al Zorah is a world-class course specially designed by the renowned Nicklaus Design group. The spectacular par 72 Al Zorah Golf Club course features perfectly maintained fairways and greens, giving you the sensation of playing on a billiard table throughout the course.

AL ZORAH GOLF CLUB

The beauty of the location is undeniable, with breathtaking backdrops such as the grand mosque of Ajman, the city’s skyscrapers, or the expansive mangroves.

We tried Al Zorah during our stay at the Fairmont Ajman and were amazed by the unique gaming experience offered by this course.

Visitors to Al Zorah Golf Club can also enjoy a beautifully structured pavilion housing several restaurants, the pro shop, and locker rooms.

AL ZORAH GOLF CLUB AJMAN

“Nestled amidst the mangroves, water is a constant presence throughout the course. It's surrounded by approximately one million square meters of mangroves, presenting a unique challenge for players as the tides transform the course with each season.”

We tried Al Zorah during our stay at the Fairmont Ajman and were amazed by the unique gaming experience offered by this course.

Visitors to Al Zorah Golf Club can also enjoy a beautifully structured pavilion housing several restaurants, the pro shop, and locker rooms.

PRESENTATION

Al Zorah is becoming a destination, much like Jumeirah or Yas Island, with a focus being on relaxation,serenity, and a natural environment. Dubai is indeed a remarkable place, but Al Zorah provides a welcome tonic with the option to stay at the impressive new hotel at The Oberoi Beach Resort.

As temporary clubhouses go, the slate-grey structure overlooking the vast mangroves and Nicklaus Design golf course is very impressive. A permanent clubhouse will soon be the centrepiece of the golf course, but for the time being, the set-up is more than adequate. 

Sitting out on the terrace that overlooks some of the early holes and the occasional passing heron inspires you to want to swing away, your eye drawn to the course by a raised buggy track that snakes its way out across the tidal flats. It’s an early introduction to the nature of what lies ahead. 

Opened in December 2015, the course bears all the hallmarks of a Nicklaus design – the expansive bunkering, wide fairways, and large green complexes – and was created with particularly sensitivity to the environment. While the layout might be typically Nicklaus, it’s the tidal lagoon or “khor” that provides the true character of the course. At high tide the water laps at the edges of many fairways, adding to picturesque qualities of the course as well as the drama and challenges. 

At low tide, however, you might be prepared to stroll out and play what would otherwise have been a submerged ball. One might assume that time will be needed to mature the course, but the tees, fairways, and greens are all in superb condition already. The tight, pristine turf rewards crisp striking, and the greens roll as purely as any you’d find in the world. You might need time to acclimatise to the nature of the platinum paspalum grass and the grain but learning how to putt and chip into such grasses is a skill to develop and enjoy.

 

AL ZORAH GOLF COURSE

Al Zorah presents some of the best value golf in the UAE, especially given the quality of the design and conditioning. Green fees are roughly a third less than nearly every other course in the UAE.

Beyond the course, the newly opened Oberoi Beach Resort is a luxurious beachside haven just minutes from the golf club. It’s the perfect place to stay locally, where every one of the 89 rooms has floor-to-ceiling windows presenting the finest views of Ajman. As you’d expect, dining options are numerous, and the spa, pools, beach, and gym facilities are more than enough to keep you relaxed when you’re off the fairways.

Al_Zorah_Golf_Club_Course

THE COURSE

Al Zorah boasts a captivating presence. From its meticulously maintained tee boxes nestled within the mangroves to the sharp, expansive bunkering that separates land from water, the visual appeal is impressive. What truly sets Al Zorah apart, reminiscent of the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, is the tide and its transformative effect on the landscape. The course was designed with this in mind, and its play changes significantly depending on the tide level. While the hazards remain consistent, the water’s presence at high tide adds a psychological challenge.

Unlike other UAE courses that might be comparable to each other, Al Zorah’s course stands in a league of its own. It is notably lush, featuring wide fairways winding through the mangroves. Despite being constructed on predominantly flat land, the undulations within the design are so pronounced that the flatness is quickly forgotten. This aspect draws parallels with many traditional links courses.

AL ZORAH GOLF COURSE

The course offers a multitude of challenges – raised greens, deep bunkers, and demanding green-side run-offs are recurring themes. However, the course’s greatest strength lies in its suitability for golfers of all skill levels, a testament to its quality design. Al Zorah won’t overwhelm you; instead, it offers fairways to hit, greens to reach in regulation, and reasonable recovery options when things go awry. This doesn’t imply the course is easy, but it’s fair.

The par-three holes stand out, and the par-fives, characterized by wide fairways, offer a chance for all players to unleash their swings.

AL ZORAH GOLF COURSE

FINAL VERDICT

Al Zorah exemplifies modern golf course design done right. The era of constructing exclusive “championship” courses that challenge the average golfer beyond enjoyment is waning. Today, the emphasis is on playability and enjoyment for golfers of various skill levels. While the course can be tailored for professionals, its inclusive philosophy aligns well with the future of the sport.

The impressive bunkers, tidal areas, platform tees rising from the water, and the connecting buggy paths contribute to the visual appeal. Al Zorah’s departure from the traditional desert-style courses, immersing players in the greenery of the mangroves, offers a distinct golfing experience.

Certainly, golfers visiting the region will prioritize playing renowned courses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but overlooking Al Zorah would be a mistake. It delivers comparable quality, tranquility, and a unique Middle Eastern golf experience, all at a better value than its counterparts. Al Zorah is a must-include destination on any UAE golf trip.

 
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