Five key holes this week at Dubai Desert Classic

Our choice of five key holes that will play a crucial role in the proceedings at this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic

By Joy Chakravarty

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Patrick Reed of the United Stated competes during the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai on Thursday. — AFP
Patrick Reed of the United Stated competes during the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai on Thursday. — AFP

Published: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 7:05 PM

The Karl Litten-designed Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club has proved to be a timeless classic. The first green golf course in the Middle East, it has always challenged the world-class field with its clever design and an incredible mix of risk-reward holes.

It also has a fantastic stretch of closing holes – all three heavily dog-legged and capable of producing wild finishes depending on how players approached these holes. A case in point is last year, when Norway’s Viktor Hovland edged ahead with a birdie-eagle-birdie finish.


Here’s our choice of five key holes that will play a crucial role in the proceedings at this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

PAR-4 FIRST


469 yards

2022 rank: 2nd toughest

The opening hole at Majlis is a strong one, with an elevated green that demands the perfect tee shot to become accessible. However, it is a difficult hole to attack. Fairway bunkers are difficult to escape, and they make the approach shot difficult. The hole becomes shorter if the tee shot is towards the left, but it also has a lurking out-of-bounds area in the form of the driving range.

PAR-4 SIXTH

484 yards

2022 rank: 4th toughest

The sixth hole has always proved difficult. It’s long, and requires extreme precision with a long iron for the second shot to what is probably the toughest green on the golf course. The green is long and slender, with a bunker running alongside left, and thick rough on the left. If you try and cut short the dogleg right hole, it makes the second shot shorter, but the angle of attack becomes difficult.

PAR-4 NINTH

488 yards

2022 rank: Toughest hole on the course

In fact, not just the toughest in 2022, but also the toughest on the course in 2021, and the years before that. The key with the ninth hole is that it requires a very good tee shot to the fairway, and then an equally good second shot with a mid-iron to the green that is guarded by water in front. With the fringe shaved off, any extra spin will prove costly as the ball will roll into the hazard.

PAR-4 12TH

476 yards

2022 rank: 3rd toughest

The 12th consistently ranks every year among the top-four toughest holes on the golf course. It is a notoriously difficult fairway to find, especially when hitting a driver. The fairway looks wide, but a slight push or pull can land you in trouble. The elevated green is long and wide, and has severe slopes. The approach shots need to be laser-guided to have any chance of making a rare birdie.

PAR-5 18th

584 yards

2022 rank: 3rd easiest

The par-5 18th doglegs severely to the left and if any player can cut across the clump of trees at the bend, it would leave them a very short second shot and set up an eagle chance. However, it has always created drama because it can also lead to a double bogey as easily as an eagle, thus making for wild swing in fortunes that has always characterised the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.


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