Our monthly guide to taming the region’s stroke index 1 holes has gone off-piste. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club professional Matthew Brookes heads to arguably the toughest finishing hole in Middle East golf
Survey the scorecard for the stroke index 1 hole at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and your gaze needn’t wander past the 12th. But few would argue that the 18th is the club’s hardest hole. Indeed, few who play here regularly don’t have at least one tale of a score ruined by this deceptive stroke index 3 brute.
The closing par-4 is 421-yards off the blue tees and the majority of the time plays into a one and even two club breeze. It’s looks a very straight hole to the eye but the fairway has a slight left to right shape, most certainly for the bigger hitters. With The Creek running down the left side, your tee shot is easily pushed to the right but that in turn nudges you towards waste-land that is hugged by yet more water. Any ball leaking right is in as much danger of getting wet as a pull or hook.
Off the tee: Let’s talk about how to play the hole in the predominant wind. That’s a breeze that’s relentlessly into you, making the closer play up to 40 yards longer. Bigger hitters can get a driver away with a fade being the safer shot shape to leave somewhere around 140 yards into the green.
Shorter hitters could do worse than to play the hole as a par-5. A 220-yard drive will leave you a 170-yard shot to carry the water and when that wind is blowing that can be very daunting. Those feeling confident can go for it but the safety-first option is to hit a 100- yard lay-up, which will then leave a similar distance to the middle of the green.
Approach & closing out: The green isn’t an easy target and pin-hunting doubly difficult with it being two-tiered. There’s bunkers to the left side and the water that wraps around the front and right hand side of the putting surface. Aiming your approach to the middle of the green is always the safest bet but watch a shot that starts out a little too close to the bunkers…the wind here can easily suck your shot towards the water.
Clubbing up is almost always the prudent play with your approach and especially when The Creek is huffing and puffing. Remember, when it’s breezy, swing it easy. Get that ball flight down with less spin and more control and you’ll have the best shot at escaping this brilliant closing hole with a number to be proud of. Just ensure you concentrate till the last putt drops – the challenge on the 18th keeps coming at you with the large, undulating surface the scene of more than a few three-putts on any given day. Enjoy! – With Kent Gray
BE AT 1 SERIES:
Tame ‘Sea View’, stroke index 1 at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
Tame the 15th, stroke index 1, at The Els Club Dubai
Tame the 5th, stroke index 1, at Tower Links Golf Club
Tame the 15th, stroke index 1, at Yas Links Abu Dhabi
Tame the 7th, stroke index 1, at Dubai Hills Golf Club
Tame the 12th, stroke index 1, at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club
Tame the 13th, stroke index 1, at Al Zorah Golf Club
Tame the 10th, stroke index 1, at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club
Tame the 5th, stroke index 1, at Abu Dhabi Golf Club
Tame the 5th, stroke index 1, at Arabian Ranches Golf Club