Thank you for signing up to Golf Monthly. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is just a little bit different as Jeremy Ellwood, a veteran of five Middle East campaigns, reflects...
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and having personally notched up half of the five stagings to date since Chris DiMarco lifted the inaugural title in 2006, I thought I’d spend a little time reflecting on five things that make my now-annual January trip to the Middle East such an enjoyable part of my golfing calendar…
1) The city and surrounding Emirate is just such a fascinating place architecturally, boasting some of the most stunning, state-of-the-art buildings you’ll find anywhere. But amid all the futuristic designs, one building stands out – the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (main image), which my room in the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel overlooks. Despite vowing every year to pay a visit, thus far I have been unable to find time in our busy schedule, and sadly this year looks set to be no different. Maybe next year…
2) The hotels are, without exception, excellent and often extremely progressive architecturally, with this year’s Fairmont Bab Al Bahr no exception. It was here two years ago that a certain Mr Mcllroy first swore allegiance to the Nike throne!
3) The iconic ‘Falcon’ clubhouse is one of the most instantly recognisable on tour. This year our two photographers, Messrs Kevin Murray and Paul Severn, both declared that the falcon’s head – if you look very closely – is angled slightly to the right. I will be heading out tomorrow to verify that this assertion is borne out of reality rather than overtiredness or overindulgence.
4) The players are all very relaxed, hugely approachable and in generally good spirits. I think there are two key reasons: 1) Who wouldn’t object to a little January sunshine and warmth, especially those from the UK & Ireland? And 2) It’s a time to start afresh, full of hope and enthusiasm, with the slate wiped clean and everyone venturing out into the new season’s voyage of discovery together.
5) The range and practice facilities are undoubtedly among the finest on tour. The range is vast and well laid-out, the putting green immaculate and well-sized, and the chipping, pitching and bunker area just perfect. It’s the ideal place for your average tour pro to shake off the post-Christmas rust and really get in the mood for the long season ahead.
Get the Golf Monthly Newsletter
Tips on how to play better, latest equipment reviews, interviews with the biggest names and more.
Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
Zach Johnson Explains Why He Didn't Call Bryson DeChambeau Over Ryder Cup
The Team USA Ryder Cup captain has responded to the LIV Golf player's criticism of him
By Mike Hall Published
7 Things The Ryder Cup Captains Will Have Learned From The Solheim Cup
Having the Solheim Cup so close to the Ryder Cup will have reminded Zach Johnson and Luke Donald of some key factors heading into Rome...
By Elliott Heath Published