The friendly Montgomerie staff set me up for “Four Ball” with Alex, Brenda and Rob, expatriates of Australia and the United Kingdom. Feeling a little rusty despite playing a few rounds in China the week before, I wanted to hit a few drives at the range. Pleased with my performance, I met up with the other players at the first tee.
The Montgomerie course, designed by Desmond Muirhead and world-renowned professional golfer Colin Montgomerie, features Tiftway 419 fairway Bermuda grass and TifEagle ultradwarf Bermuda grass on the greens. Developed before the building boom, the course now features spectacular views of the Dubai Marina and skyline.
The Address Montgomerie Hotel offers 21 generously sized guestrooms, most with stunning views of the course. I can imagine business travelers enjoying this hotel as a way to get away — but not too far away — from the bustle of Dubai.
Hole 4 | 519 yards, par 5
I was on a roll on holes 2 and 3 after butchering the first. I was making friends with my new R11S driver and killed a drive, to the oohs and ahs of Rob and Brenda. I must say it was a bruiser! Your drive here is straight forward with lots of room; the hole is tucked in slightly to the left and protected by a massive number of bunkers behind the green — I presume to punish the overzealous golfer going for the green in two. On my second shot, I laid into my 3-wood, sending a near-perfect shot over the right fairway trap just short of the green. I then made an easy lob wedge to the slightly elevated green in regulation and two-putted for par.
Hole 6 | 165 yards, par 3
Alex proclaimed this “an interesting hole — lots of balls end up in the water.” This little par 3 sits on a bullheaded green with a large pond on the front. Not only can your tee shot come up short and become wet, it can also hit the back of the green and roll into the water behind. I had the yardage, playing closer to 178, and teed up a fairway wood high, launching to the right side of the green. Alex landed on the green for an uphill putt to the hole. Rob used a little course knowledge and hit the stones on the left side of the pond, shooting his ball up and on the green. Brenda’s ball found the deep side of the pond.
Hole 7 | 380 yards, par 4
This is a fun hole, not only due to the design but also for the homes surrounding the tee box. Even with the blue tees is the former house of Colin Montgomerie. The new owners added Roman statues and columns, and I half expected Caesar to come out and greet us. To the left is the home of Benazir Bhutto, where she stayed when in exile. Micky Jagtiani of Landmark has his home just behind.
But we are here to play golf, not sightsee. You might want to cut off some of this dogleg right. The hole wraps around a large pond and has several traps to catch those who come up short, which happened to Alex. I took a safer route to the right center of the fairway and came in too far right but pin high. With a lob wedge, I had a “gimme” putt for par.
Hole 9 | 565 yards, par 5
At the tee box, Rob pronounced, “If you build it, they will come,” referring to the incredible growth in the Dubai skyline which forms a spectacular backdrop for the hole.
The left side of the fairway is lined with a lake, and the right side has a string of continuous waste bunkers. The hole doglegs left slightly, and at the green the water wraps around both sides. I was able to drive my ball right center, possibly fearing the water. My second fairway wood took a direct beeline to the far right bunker, losing distance. I felt I could get my 5-wood on the third shot and gain some much-needed distance to the green but came up short on my 190 yards. A chip and a two-putt kept me dry and earned me a bogey.
Hole 14 | 499 yards, par 5
After departing Hole 13, near the home of the Minister of Finance of Nigeria, we turned to this great driving hole. I unfortunately pushed my drive way too left, avoiding the large trap right but blocking my path to the green with a palm tree. I sliced a 5-wood to turn back into position without a hitch. This left me with about 105 yards to the green, but my sand wedge was not enough and I came up short. A decent chip saved me, and I carded a par.
Hole 15 | 363 yards, par 4
A common mistake here is to line up your drive with the tee box, which positions you right. Thanks to my new pals in Dubai and their local knowledge, I avoided driving into the large fairway bunkers. I selected the “tan home” left center for my aiming and drove to the right center, only a few feet from the bunkers but safe. From here, you are home free — just avoid hitting the large bunker on the left side of the green.
Hole 17 | 136 yards, par 3
I found what the locals call “the valley of death” on this par 3, which sits next to a pond. I took my 9-iron too far left and too long after seeing Alex, Brenda and Rob come up short. The ball landed in a four-crowned hill mogul with a grass bunker in the center — the dreaded valley of death. I cheated death with a lob to the green and landed one foot from the hole.
Hole 18 | 567 yards, par 5
I think Rob and Alex got inside my head when they said there was water on every shot. I took my stance on the tee box and saw water lining the left side and crossing in front. Water was also creeping in on the right. My ball turned to the right but not enough to find the water. Rob took a bath and Alex used a fairway wood to take a little off and keep clear. My next shot was a perfectly placed 3-wood down the center of the fairway, in a sweet position to attack the flag. Water comes in again at the front of the green and behind and to the left. I hooked my iron shot into the water, but took a drop and walked away with a bogey, not too shabby for the No. 1 ranked hole
The Montgomerie, Dubai
The Address Montgomerie
P.O. Box 36700
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
tel 971 4 390 5600
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
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