Yas Links: a true desert gemJanuary, 2012
The best way to describe Yas Links in Abu Dhabi is as a 'hot Kingsbarns'...
Countless courses the world over are built and claim to play like genuine Scottish links courses, but very few (if any!) live up to the billing. One that very much does, however, is Yas Links.
Designed by Kyle Phillips – mastermind behind Kingsbarns in Scotland – the course is built among impressive sand dunes that were manually dredged from the water alongside the course. It almost looks as though they’ve been airlifted from the Fife coast.
Yas has plenty of length (it measures 7,414 yards off the tips) but relies more on its rough (a mix between thick grass and sand that, believe me, is tough to get out of) and wind than hazards to punish visitors. That’s not to say there aren’t any hazards though as several holes demand carries over water and play alongside the drink.
As it is still maturing, its fairways, which are still to settle, snag the ball on bump and run shots and prevent you from playing authentic links golf. But this will soon change as the course gets older.
The finish is a arguably the highlight, with the hardest hole on the course – the par-4 16th – preceding a tough 200-yard par-3 that could be mistaken for the 14th at Kingsbarns, and the extremely long 18th – a 646-yard par-5.