Sitting 6 miles north west of Abu Dhabi International Airport, Yas Links is only a 10 minute drive which is need given the flight time is twice that compared with many popular golfing destinations in Europe from the UK. That said, once you’re here you’ll realise that this isn’t like European golf resorts, and all the wives tales you’ve herd about the UAE, its time to throw them out the window. Yas Island, home to the Links is also home to Yas Marina F1 circuit, Ferrari world with the worlds fastest rollercoaster, Warner Bros World, waterparks, huge shopping malls, bars and clubs, not to mention a host of luxury hotels.
Being in Abu Dhabi makes Yas Links a perfect location for the end of the year when most of Europe is falling into a freeze, Yas will still be seeing heat most Brits would call positively barmy! This makes it not only a superb holiday getaway but due to its local surroundings its a perfect destination for intimate corporate events. From one to one meetings or smaller team sales events, Yas Links has a fine tuned private and personal approach thats symbolised from the first moment when you collect the keys to your personally named changing locker.
Open in 2010 Yas is a first class golf facility boasting a world top 50 course designed by Kyle Philips and a floodlit 9 hole academy course and practice area. With beautiful view of the Arabian Gulf to one side, Yas Marina F1 circuit, Ferrari Wold and probably your hotel to the other, its an amazing setting for an equally amazing golf course. Playing up to almost 7,500 yards its got five tee positions for those looking to adjust the difficulty making it perfect if you’re out on business as you’ll not want to talk a deal if the course is giving you a beating. The front nine plays wider and probably easier to score compare to the back nine which slowly tightens up to offer some real risk and reward golf, particular the final stretch.
With such a quality course there are almost too many standout holes to mention but an early favourite is the dogleg 3rd which hugs the coast-line for 400 yards with your approach shot to the eight bunker guarded green. Bunkers are something that you’ll have to get used to seeing at Yas Links with game management of the upmost importance, particularly if the wind wants to blow, things can get tricky. The 4th is a great long par 3 with an amazingly undulating green making for some testing pin positions. Its the 9th where things start to change, and from the off your first tee shot is a tight one over the water calling for great accuracy otherwise you’ll give yourself a tricky second.
The whole back nine slides down the strip of land besides Ferrari World and the Yas Marina circuit until turning back on its self, tightly hugging the waters edge. The 12th and 15th have a nice links double green touch so if you miss the serious bunkers guarding the green you could still be left with a lengthy put of some distance. It’s the closing holes that you’ll go home remembering, even if its because you left a few balls in the Arabian Gulf due to the typical head on wind. With small greens and thin fairways the 16th is a nervy test. The 17th is a majestic par three and with all the carry and a fair bit of wind it’s a good result to hold the green. Slightly right sided shots will end up in the dip leaving for a tricky piece of short play to get down for par. The the round is then topped off with an epic finish at the lengthy par 5 18th. You’ll be given a few questions on where to play before you even get to the green and will play really long especially if that wind comes in head on which it usually does.
Uphold your brand values on the fairway?
Yas Links is defiantly a venue worth traveling to, even if you’re visiting Dubai as its well within a two hour drive. At the end of the game you’ll need to freshen off in the rainfall shower even if you did take the cart guy up on a much need cool lolly and enjoy the Spanish style clubhouse. The food is superb and often supported by events, but if that not your thing then outdoor seating has a beautiful view across the back nine for a perfectly relaxing view with a beer. Just don’t forget your sun cream and plenty of water.
As a PGA Professional who hosts Corporate Golf Events and Holidays I have seen first hand that not everyone is aware of basic etiquette most of us take for granted on the golf course. With this in mind I thought I would put together my top etiquette tips so you know next time your out on the course, you won’t annoy your playing partners or letting your company brand down. Especially with corporate events it’s important that you represent the values of your business both on and off the course.
Pace of play;
It’s always important for you and your playing partners on the course to keep up with the group ahead. If you find yourself in a position where your group has lost an entire hole of those players in front, please let the group behind through if you are holding them up.
Stand still and in silence when other people are taking their shot;
This one is an important one if you want to keep on friendly terms with your playing partners. From the moment your playing partner is choosing their club it is etiquette to stay silent until they hit their shot. No player wants to be put off halfway through their swing as it’s hard to pull out and almost always results in a poor shot. The last thing you want is to be blamed for them mishitting a shot even if your chatting wasn’t the reason, they’ll still blame you, even if they don’t say it.
Repair the golf course;
It’s our duty as golfers to make sure we repair the damage we create on the course. How would you like it if you’ve hit your Sunday best only to find yourself in an old fairway divot. Even if you take the fairway divot and bits fly all over the place, just make it look like you’ve tried to fix it. These are a few of the most common:
• Pitch marks on the green
• Divots – Just not on tee boxes
• Rake bunkers
When to play your shot;
The person who is farthest away from the hole plays first. To speed up play try to prepare for your shot whilst other people are playing. The player who had the lowest score on the previous hole tees off first.
Etiquette for when you are on the green;
This is where everyone has to be a little more aware of where their playing partners are. Thankfully fully spiked shoes aren’t really worn anymore so the damage you can make to a green and accidentally sabotage your partners chances of holing a putt are limited. Still there are ways players will expect you to respect their upcoming shot and stepping across and on their line before their putt isn’t one of them. Other ways you can respect your playing partners around the green are:
• Mark your ball with a coin so the other players aren’t distracted
• Don’t stand in eye view of anyone whilst they are taking their shot
Lend a hand;
Who’s happy after hitting a poor shot resulting in them stomping through the trees or thick grass looking for a ball. Chances is they’re not so happy so if your partner finds themselves not being able to find their ball, then be on hand to help them find it – its always handy to have the favour returned should you need it!
Keep your cool;
We all know golf is a very frustrating game, but you need to make every effort for your playing partners sake to manage any frustration in as silent way as possible. Particularly when playing a corporate event you’re not only representing yourself but the business brand you work for. Your company no doubt works hard to portray a brand image and a culture, so it’s your responsibility that you try and uphold the business values at all times. Not to mention, it’s not the most pleasant experience playing with someone who loses their temper but whilst you are vocalising your frustration your playing partner might be trying to concentrate on their shot routine.