By Golf Monthly
If you're planning a trip to the UAE, include Ras al-Khaimah and one of the country's finest courses at Al Hamra Golf Club
A Golfing Oasis - Al Hamra Golf Club
At the northern tip of the United Arab Emirates , Ras al-Khaimah has a more relaxed and laid-back feel than the bustling metropolis of Dubai, just an hour to the south.
Only 25,000 people live in the emirates and there's little traffic or pollution.
It is famed for its sprawling, white sandy beaches, fertile plans and the striking Hajar Mountains.
It may not be such a well-known golfing destination as neighbours Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but in Al Hamra Golf Club, Ras al-Khaimah possesses a golfing facility of exceptional quality.
Set around four beautiful inter-connected lagoons that merge with the Arabian Gulf, the course at Al Hamra is a Peter Harradine creation.
The famous Swiss architect is a specialist when it comes to desert courses and he has been responsible for the design of some of the very best layouts in the gulf, including those at Abu Dhabi and Doha Golf Clubs.
The course at Al Hamra is a testing championship track that can be stretched to 7,325 yards for the very best players, and those with a masochistic streak.
But, a variety of teeing options means the layout is playable for most golfers of most abilities - from the red tees it measures less than 6,000 yards.
The original plan was for the course to be built on the salt flats bordering the Arabian Gulf, but five million cubic metres of sand were shifted to reshape the terrain and create changes in elevation as the course flows around the lagoons.
There are some wonderful holes to negotiate at Al Hamra, particularly those hugging the water.
The 3rd is a stunning par-5 where you msut carry a section of lagoon to reach the putting surface.
The 10th, 11th and 12th holes are known as Al Hamra's 'Amen Corner' where the wet stuff is a constant threat.
Nine of the holes are lit up at night by state-of-the-art, zero-pollution lamps - a nice option when the temperature rises.
Other facilities include a floodlit driving range, a nine-hole par-3 course and a golf academy staffed by PGA professionals.
There are also a selection of fine restaurants - Lagoon's Sports Bar is considered the '19th hole' for the course and the Belgian Beer Cafe is also well worth a visit - watch out for the strong ones though!
Al Hamra Golf Club has associations with a number of hotels close to the course, making this an excellent play-and-stay destination. The Hilton Al Hamra Beach & Golf Resort has its own private beach and is set alongside the course.
Overlooking the track, the Waldorf Astoria has 346 opulent rooms and suites, many with great views of the Arabian Gulf or the Hajar Mountains.
Off course there's a great selection of activities to try. including tennis, a range of water sports. horse riding and desert safaris.
If you're planning a holiday to the United Arab Emirates then including Ras al-Khaimah will add an extra dimension to your trip.
Just a short drive from Dubai it delivers a beautiful coastline with stunning views inland, excellent hotels and one of the country's finest golf courses: that's quite a package.
For more golf course reviews, check the Golf Monthly website and follow our social media channels
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