Saadiyat Beach Golf Course

Beth’s dad loves to golf. So for Christmas this year, we bought him a round of golf at Abu Dhabi’s new Gary Player designed course on Saadiyat Island. It’s currently one of the few functioning attractions on the island that will eventually be our home.

I’m not a golfer, so it’s hard for me to compare this course to others—primarily because I haven’t seen v many golf courses in my life, but also because I don’t really understand what makes one course better than another. It would seem easy to make a course “difficult” simply by covering it in sand traps and water hazards, by making the fairways unnaturally narrow, or by shaping the topography in a way that prevents you from knowing where you’re trying to hit the ball. In my estimation, a good golf course would be one that presents a very obvious objective (“Oh look, there’s the hole.), but requires strategy and skill to achieve it while offering for multiple equally valid approaches.

John and I were joined by our two friends, Pete Dicce and Tucker Russell. I was going strictly as an observer.

After we arrived at the club house and were all signed in, the guys went out to the driving range to warm up. The golf carts were lined up nearby, so we decided to stop and drop off our gear. Pete and Tucker were to share one cart, but the second cart showed Victor Lindsay and Ron Herman. At first I thought it was some kind of crazy typo. It seemed difficult to imagine, but perhaps someone had misinterpreted “John Daniel” over the phone as “Ron Herman.” The names are the same number of syllables at least.

The steward was as equally confused as we were. In his mind, Ron Herman was a player and had already put his golf clubs on the cart. This meant that they didn’t know John existed. After a few radio calls back and forth with the club house, we decided that Ron Herman might be a figment of someone’s imagination. And then “what to our wondering eyes did appear,” but a nice man who introduced himself as the mythical Ron Herman. Luckily for everyone involved, Ron likes to walk when he golfs. That meant that we had a full four-man compliment and that John and I could just chauffeur his clubs across the course for him while he walked. Everyone won.

I must say, the course was beautiful. One can only imagine the amount of water needed to keep a golf course in shape during the summer here. It was lush and certainly well manicured. Technically, John was very complimentary of the design. They certainly took advantage of the local landscape when designing some holes as the sand traps accounted for 50-75% of the area. It required a very deft touch to leap frog from one grassy patch to the next on your way to the green.

The course runs parallel to the ocean and several holes are practically on the beach itself. On one hole in particular, you tee off facing directly into the ocean. The scope is a bit deceptive as you feel like you’re intentionally shooting right into the water.

All four guys enjoyed their game and I had quite a nice time driving the cart and taking pictures.

  • Warming Up at the Range
  • John Practices His Drive
  • John Addresses the Ball
  • Tucker on the Putting Green
  • Tucker on the Putting Green
  • John's Long Putt
  • John Goes Long
  • John Watches His Shot
  • Pete Stuck in the Sand
  • Tucker Feels the Green
  • John in a Sand Trap
  • John Works His Way Out of a Trap
  • Tucker Chips Up
  • Where the Course Meets the Beach
  • John Attempts a Long Putt
  • Pete Holds the Flag
  • John Drives for the Ocean
  • Pete Drives for the Ocean
  • Tucker Drives for the Ocean
  • Tucker Drives Again
  • John's Drive
  • John Drives Again

2 Responses to “Saadiyat Beach Golf Course”

  1. Mom/Judy says:

    Thanks, Victor, for these pics. It was fun seeing the course, and John’s Arnold Palmer swing.

  2. Erin says:

    Funny story about that Ron Herman. Although I don’t see any photos of him, so I’m not sure he really exists after all.