Fresh from creating links masterpieces including Kingsbarns, just down the road from age old St Andrews, and the Dundonald Links in Troon, Kyle Phillips, the leading light in modern golf course architecture, has created this genuine, traditional links course out of a flat desert wasteland. It’s the first of its type in the Middle East – and it’s a corker.
Such a corker in fact that American magazine Golf Digest has recently named the Yas Links in their list of the world’s best golf courses…at the lofty position of number 25! A highly-respected voting panel of experts ranked the two-year-old course 24th in the world, making it the best new course outside the United States.
By all accounts Yas Links is every bit a traditional links course…just with the added bonus of blue skies and glorious sunshine!
“To be recognised so soon in their international rankings is a huge achievement and one we are all humbled by,” said Yas Links’ general manager Chris White.
Philips is renowned for his ability to make his brand new courses, which he creates by moving vast amounts of earth, seem totally natural and as if they have been around for centuries and it seems that at Yas Links he has pulled it off again. Somehow Philips has managed to capture the mysteries and nuances of a classic links course in a very untraditional and infertile desert environment.
The rugged bunkering at Yas Links is a far cry to the pristine, manicured bunkers usually found on desert courses in the Middle East.
Abu Dhabi has been making waves in the golfing world, thanks in part to the European Tour and stars like Tiger Woods including it in their schedules, and in an emirate famed for the high standard of its golf, the Yas Links now stands alone as one of the world’s finest golf courses. Featuring an impressive opening nine and an even more stunning sequence of back nine holes, this modern links classic demands solid course management and creativity in equal measure.
Where there were rolling dunes and wasteland, there’s now a collection of rolling verdant fairways, deep bunkers, wispy rough and inviting, sloping greens with their traditional heartbreaking run-offs.
Rolling fairways and undulation changes add to the fascinating challenge at Yas Links.
The testing par-72 track measures 7,414 yards off the back tees which, let’s face it, is too long for your average golfer. Thankfully a number of different tee positions make the course accessible to the golfing masses who, if they have their wits about them, will place the Yas Links firmly at the top end of their golfing bucket list.
Yas Links is also memorable because it’s situated on the spectacular Yas Island, strategically located between the coast and city of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with a range of world-class hotels, theme parks, golf courses, mega malls, apartments and villas, and much more. There’s a Ferrari theme park, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, featuring the world’s fastest roller coaster, and if you want more excitement the Warner Brothers theme park and Yas Water Park should suffice. This is also the home of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Playing twilight rounds in Abu Dhabi means you escape the heat of the day and are treated to some spectacular sunsets.
Yas Links is also in close proximity to the emirate’s other two championship courses, Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, making it an easy choice for anyone looking to combine the thrill of old school links golf with modern desert courses and, of course, blazing sunshine and a heady blend of an age old culture and modern attractions of the highest order.