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18 holes Guide

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Hole Number 1

Batty’s Burn

Batty’s Burn is such an appropriate name for the number one. The burn offers a dog leg and you can get yourself all sorts of trouble especially if your tee shot goes wide right or left. If you go right you may find yourself out of bounds. If it’s not O.B., forget about a good second shot. You will be in the trees with a punch-out shot to the fairway as your only option. Be careful your punch-out shot may land your ball in the water hazard. If you go left have fun getting out of the rough if you can find your ball. If you go way left you will have to deal with the access road. Some like to lay up short of the hazard then go for the brown. Others take the driver out and attempt to clear the hazard. Both options even after a good shot will not mean your troubles are behind. You big hitters who can drive the ball three hundred yards or more will most likely play your next shot from the rough after your ball lands on the fairway. Don’t be surprised if your ball takes a good bounce and runs in the rough. Going for the brown on the second shot does have its setbacks. If you can get your ball to stick on the brown after your approach shot, congratulations! Most of the time when the ball lands on the brown it will just roll off. How far the ball keeps rolling will determine if you finish with a bogey or worse. When it comes to playing Batty’s Burn there is no shame in getting on in three. If you walk away with a four or a five, Batty’s Burn is being kind.

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Hole Number 2

Dhubs’ Corner

Dhubs’s Corner is a man’s par 4 and a lady’s par 5 and yes you can see Dhubs on this hole especially if you’re looking for your ball in the right rough. Dhub’s Corner was not always a par five for the ladies. When the men’s white tee box was built, Dayle felt it would be safer for the ladies to tee off with the men on the men’s blue tee box making the hole longer but safer for the ladies. How right the was!

If you are a big hitter and can clear the palm trees to the right, you will be in a very good position for a short approach or a chip shot. If you go too far right or left do yourself and your playing partners a favor and hit a provisional. If you’re on the fairway make sure your alignment is set up to your target line. If not, your approach shot will land either left or right of the brown and that could spell trouble especially if the ball goes left. There are plenty of dense bushes just waiting to eat your ball.

It’s not a bad idea to lay up and give the ball a chance to roll up onto the brown especially if the pin is at the front. If you want to attack the brown do so when the pin position is at the back. Just make sure you don’t fly over the brown. If you do fly over expect to walk away with at least a double bogey if you find your ball.

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Hole Number 3

Small Fill

Small Fill is the first of the par threes at the AGGC sand course and it is the shortest, measuring 122 yards. Over the years there have been changes made to the Fill. Undulations were added to make putting more of a challenge and the tee box was shifted. Years ago the number 8 tee box was the original Small Fill tee box. To relocate it to its present position the number two brown also had to be shifted over to the left.

Making a shot to the brown is pretty, straight forward. Depending on the conditions a sand wedge, a pitching wedge or a nine iron will do the trick. What ever club you use don’t come up short of the fairway and don’t fly over the brown or this stroke index 18 hole will turn out to be more of a challenge than you expected. If your ball does land on the brown hopefully it will not roll off the back. If it does, hopefully you will be chipping from the mat.

Now if you ‘re hoping to ever achieve a hole in one this is the hole to get it on. Of all the par threes at AGGC the number three has produced more holes in one than any other.

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Hole Number 4

Cargo Road

Cargo Road is a short 370 yard par 4 and is the fourth easiest hole on the course. The tee shot from the blue tee box requires a 100 yard carry before the fairway is reached so don’t look up early. If you aim down the middle and your ball draws, the fairway slope will feed it into the left rough. Any shot from the left rough will require you to navigate your approach shot over the high mounds that protect the short fairways in front of the brown. If you leave your approach shot short not only will you have mounds but trees to deal with also. If you fly your shot right expect to have a difficult approach shot to the brown provided you find your ball.

A good tee shot does not necessarily mean one reaches the brown easily with two shots. The approach shot will be tricky and depending on the conditions the correct club is necessary to get the ball to stop on the brown. If the ball lands short of the fringe the soft sand will prevent the ball from rolling on. If the ball lands on the brown there’s a good chance it will roll off. If the ball does roll off the back and into the rough be prepared to take a drop. So accuracy is critical if you want to putt for the birdies. It all depends on the pin position. If it’s to the back don’t be too eager to attack it.

When playing this hole there is no shame with laying up and chipping to the pin. This hole knows how to ruin a good drive when your good approach shot turns into disaster.

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Hole Number 5

The Dig

The Dig is the first par 5 and is the second hardest hole on the golf course. This holes has got a lot harder to play after the water hazard on the left side of the ladies tee box was added a few years ago. Before it was added going left was not a bad thing because you certainly didn’t want to go right. Well, nowadays you don’t want to go left or right. A tee shot down the middle is what you are aiming for. That does not apply to the long ball hitters. If you are a long ball hitter it’s best to hit your shot over the palm trees on the right. That will set you up for a possible eagle putt if you make the brown in two.

If you are a mere mortal a good drive followed by a good three wood shot will leave you about 100 yards for your approach. If your approach shot is beyond 100 yards, make sure not to ho left because another water hazard will be waiting to take your ball.

The tree line on the left side borders the driving range and is out of bounds and the right rough can be extremely difficult to recover from. There’s also an archaeological site to the right side that must be avoided.

If you make good shots on this hole your birdie chances increase significantly because there are no bunkers on this hole to deal with.

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Hole Number 6

Hill 45

Hill 45 is the second par 3 on the sand course layout and is approximately named due to its steep incline. The 178 yards to the brown can be achieved with either a long iron or fairways wood, depending on conditions and of course on one’s abilities. In order to reach the brown the water hazard at the front of the men’s tee box must be cleared and so must the pampas grass plants that lie just short of the fairway. There was a time when you could take a driver out, hit it low and roll the ball up the hill onto the brown. Well the pampas grass took that shot away so you have to settle for a conventional golf shot.

Laying up short of the fringe and rolling the ball onto the brown might work but if the ball does not clear the fringe it will just roll down the fairway. That will leave you a tricky blind chip shot to the pin.

If you miss the brown the best spot to miss it is at the front. Missing left will send the ball down the left side slope into the rough or a pampas plant. Miss to the right and more pampas plant awaits you along with mounds, and palm trees.

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Hole Number 7

The Coastline

The Coastline is a straight par 4 that measures 372 yards from the men’s tee box. This hole along with the rest of the front nine is where the original coastline once was, hence the name Coastline.

A good tee shot may not be good enough to keep the ball on the fairway since it slopes to the right. If you are a big hitter the slope will be taken out of play but your ball could find the fairway bunker that lies just in front of the brown.

If you’re not a long hitter do try and keep the ball on the fairway then choose a longer club for your approach shot because of the upward slope. If the wind is behind you a longer club might not be necessary.

Pin position will determine what your score will be on this hole. If the pin is to the right and back of the brown scoring a par will not be easy and birdie will be even harder. This pin position was added a few years ago when the brown was extended for the express purpose of making your golf more challenging. Your best chance for par is to get on in regulation to the left of the pin and two putt. Your first putt will be at least a 25 footer hopefully followed by a tap in. Attacking the pin in this position is a bit fool-hardy because there is not much brown to work with. It is better to be faced with a long putt rather than chipping over the bund and getting your ball to stop. The second option could force another chip shot.

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Hole Number 8

Ali’s Rest

Ali’s Rest is a par 4 measuring 327 yards and is a dog leg from right to left. This is a great hole for the big hitters who can easily clear the trees on the left leaving only a chip shot to the pin and a birdie putt. If you’re not a big hitter your good drive will leave you an approach shot within 150 yards. From there an attacking shot is not a bad option. Laying up and hoping the ball will roll on will only be disappointing. The sand in front of the brown is just too soft and will kill ball roll. On the other hand ball roll is not a problem if you land it on the brown. If the ball rolls off, the chances are your next shot will be from the rough. The fairway at the back of this brown is not enough to keep the ball out of the rough.

If your tee shot goes into the left rough hopefully your next shot will be from quality rough and not a bush lie. Either way in order to get the ball back on the fairway or to the brown the shot will either have to be over trees or under them.

If you’re in the right rough, take your medicine and try and get it back on the fairway then approach the brown from there. You could still make par and you should be content with bogey anytime a shot is played  from the rough.

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Hole Number 9

Spectacles

Spectacles is a 360 yard par 4 that ‘doglegs’ from left to right. Long hitters can cut the corner on the right side and set themselves up with a chip shot to the brown for a chance to make a birdie. Don’t even try it if you’re not a big hitter or your ball will wind up out of bounds or in some nasty rough.

A good tee shot that is right or left of the tree situated in the middle of the fairway is the best option. If your ball lands just behind this tree a low shot might be your only choice left for the approach shot.

Whatever approach shot you’re left with, the right and left side bunkers will have to be avoided if you want to get on in regulation. This is one of the few browns where you will have the luxury of choosing a longer club. There is a steep slope at the back of the brown that can be used to bring the ball back toward the pin. If the ball does roll up and off the brown, a tricky down hill chip shot awaits you.

Hitting your shot into the rough on the right side of the brown will create all sorts of problems. There are plenty of bushes and some palm trees that will happily add strokes to your score. Even with a good shot out of this rough the chances of your ball holding the brown when it lands are slim.

Putting down or from the side to the pin will also present additional challenges due to the brown’s slope.

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Hole Number 10

The Runway

The Runway is a 375 yard par 4 from the men’s tee box. This is one of the few holes that offers good ball run when it lands on the fairway. Ball run was so good on the Runway that many big hitters could actually make the brown in one. Not any more, since large bunker that protects the entire front of the brown has been added.

A good drive will leave you within 130 yards of the brown. From that point the approach shot is straight forward. Leave the approach shot short and your ball will find the bunker. A short shot is much better than a long one on this hole. At the back of The Runway is a two-tiered fairway followed by nothing but rough that continues to slope downward. This is why you don’t want a long shot on this hole. Two extra strokes or more can be easily added to your score trying to get your ball onto the brown from the back rough. Just pray a back rough shot will not leave your ball in the bunker you successfully avoided moments ago.

If the pin position is at the back try and land your ball so you’re putting up slope. If the pin position is at the front you will be left with very little brown to work with, between the bunker and the pin. Most likely you will be putting down the slope if your ball holds the brown. Many golfers have putted down this slope just to see their ball roll into the bunker.

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Hole Number 11

Sky High

Sky High is a 166 yard par 3 that requires the golfer to make his tee shot from an elevated tee box. The tee box offers some great views of the back nine and the eleventh brown. From this point you will see a water hazard to the front and one to the right of the brown. Included for your viewing pleasure are deep right and left side bunkers that are difficult to avoid if your ball lands on the brown. The bunkers are even more difficult to get out of because of the high bunds one needs to hit the ball over. If you do land your ball on the brown and avoid the bunker, it is highly likely the ball will roll off the back of the brown.

Of course the water hazards must be cleared first before putting or chipping can begin. While you are standing there gazing down, one can’t help thinking: “Oh! No problem clearing the water with an 8 or 7 iron! After all it’s downhill and the wind is at my back.” Well before you get too comfortable know that more golf balls have been lost to the water on this hole than any of the others. Hitting a ball into the water on this hole will also cost you Dh5 per ball which go to the Captain’s charity and the charities do very well. Perhaps they should rename this hole “Charity”.

Clearing the water the first time doesn’t mean your water hazard problem is over. If you fly your ball out of the bunker guess where it’s going if the water hazard is behind the pin? If you’re not careful your charitable contribution can cost you Dh15 or more.

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Hole Number 12

Daly’s Devil

This 404 yard par 4 dog leg (to the left) requires a nice tee shot down the middle. A slight draw to the left will add to your approach shot advantage but too much draw or a hook and your ball will find the out-of-bounds markers. Missing the fairway to the right is the better option only if you’re not a long ball striker. If you are, a bad tee shot to the right may require a provisional. Naturally a long ball hitter will attempt to cut the corner down the left side. If done successfully, a short chip or pitch shot to the brown will set you up for a birdie putt. For those less powerful, your good tee shot will leave you with an approach of 150 yards or less.

If the pin position is at the front a lay-up shot is a good option. Most of the time the ball will land short of the brown and roll on. The same strategy will work if the pin is at the rear but be prepared for a longer putt on this two-tiered brown.

Scoring par or better can be easily spoiled if you hit into either the right or left side bunker or if your ball rolls off the back of the brown. This will require a chip over the high bund which happens to be the highest of all the browns on this sand course.

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Hole Number 13

Long Stretch

The Long Stretch is indeed that. This is the longest of the par five holes at Al Ghazal measuring 558 yards from the blue tee box. Normally, you will be hitting into the wind which makes this hole even longer. If you can manage it, a good tee shot with a slight draw will put you in a good position to clear the water hazard in two. A tee shot to the right will require a lay-up followed by a long iron or wood shot to the brown.

There was a time when some clever golfer would hit their tee shot down the fourteenth fairway and play their second shot to the brown from that position. That option has been taken out of play now that out of bounds markers have been added.

The thirteenth brown has probably undergone more changes than any other brown on the course. The latest changes include undulations and bunkers to the right and left of the brown. The added undulations to the front of the brown make it difficult for the ball to roll up and attack shots usually roll off the back or into the left side bunker.

All three pin positions will require a good read while putting. Each one of the pin positions does not allow straight putts. The further your ball is away from the hole the more undulations you will have to negotiate while putting,

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Hole Number 14

Lost and Found

Lost and Found is the second longest par 4 on the course measuring 427 yards from the blue tee box. The fairway is a straight forward layout but the hole offers plenty of features to frustrate you.

Most of us will not use the driver from the blue tee box due to the small water channel that winds its way through the middle of the fairway. A long ball hitter will take on the channel without too much difficulty but may wind  up on or between the two mounds that extend into the right side of the fairway.

If your tee shot goes right or left expect to find the ball parked under the trees that line the fairway. If so your only option is a knock-out shot to the fairway, followed by a long approach shot.

To make matters worse the brown is protected with bunkers on the right and left and a water hazard on the right. Laying up and attempting to roll the ball onto the brown regardless of the pin position is smart play when dealing with this brown. You don’t want the ball to roll off on the right side of the brown. As the ball rolls down the high bund extra momentum is generated which could be enough to put it in the water.

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Hole Number 15

Liddell’s Hump

Liddell’s Hump is and has been the number one stroke index hole on the course and it has not gotten any easier to play over the years. The fairway was narrowed and humps have been added both right and left on this 430 yard par 4.

The hole gets its name from one of the three wise men who designed and built the sand course in the late 90’s. A golfer has to be wise in order to score par or birdie on this hole. It looks simple enough but in golf looks can be deceptive. “Hit the ball straight and long” is the best wisdom to use on this hole. If you get on in two from the white tee box you just performed a small golfing miracle.

Some additional wisdom to use is “don’t go left”. A perimeter fence is there and it’s O.B. if your ball goes over it. If you don’t fly it chances are your ball will position itself right next to it taking away any chance for a second shot to the brown.

A tee shot to the right of the fairway will mean negotiating your ball through, under, or over trees to a fairway that narrows. Oh! And pray your ball is sitting up and not in a foot print. Once on the fairway the brown makes a nice large target and the best wisdom to use is roll the ball up and on then putt.

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Hole Number 16

Himalaya

Himalaya is the longest of all the par threes on the course measuring 199 yards from the men’s tee box. This hole, like many of the rest, has undergone some changes to make your golf outing more of a challenge. Several mounds were added to stop those worm burner shots from the tee box. The fairway to the right is lined with trees and a water hazard behind. The left side of the fairway has not seen any changes because it’s O.B. if you fly the fence. The fence has been a card spoiler all on its own without having to change a thing.

Attacking the brown may land your ball on the putting surface in one shot depending on the pin position. If the pin is at the front, let your ball roll up onto the brown and putt for birdie.

A deep shot into the brown could spell trouble if back spin is not put on the ball. It will continue to roll off the brown, down the steep bund, gain momentum, and your next shot will be from a rough lie. If you don’t clear the bund a third shot will have to be made from the same position where you took your second shot.

There is also a left side bunker protecting the brown. Many sand golfers will not play a conventional bunker shot out of this sand trap. They will take advantage of the low bund and putt onto the brown. Take advantage because the rest of the bunker bunds on the course are higher and more difficult to putt from.

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Hole Number 17

Ferguson’s Tank

Ferguson’s Tank is a 551 yard par 5 from the blue tee box and is also named after one of the three wise men who built this course. Ferguson’s Tank took on a whole new meaning when more tank was added to the Tank a few years ago, thanks to Bernie Blanchard. Since then many a golf ball has made its way into the Tank. That has motivated the Captains to include the Tank as the latest charity hole.

As you look down the fairway to line up your tee shot you will notice the O.B. markers on the left placed about 10 yards from the fairway markers. Many a golfer who tried to line up their tee shot down the left side in the hope of crossing the tank to the brown went O.B. You will also see a water hazard which can be reached if you are a long hitter. To the right is open rough with mounds to make your second shot a bit harder. A well placed tee shot down the middle is ideal followed by an iron shot over the first water hazard. The closer you can get your ball to stop in front of the second water hazard, the easier the next approach shot will be.

The brown is another putting surface. The bunds have been reshaped to keep the ball from running onto the brown and a five-foot tier has been added. Putting up the tier can be a real challenge when the pin placement is at the back. Make sure your ball has enough speed to reach the top or the ball will roll back further from where it started.

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Hole Number 18

Falcon’s Hide

Falcon’s Hide is a 390 yard par 4 that can be a real golf nightmare for many golfer. The hole is a dog leg from right to left and a good tee shot will be needed. The big hitters will go over the palm trees on the left leaving them a chip or pitch shot to the brown. The rest of us will attempt to clear the left rough and place the ball on the fairway. If you hit a power fade or slice the ball will roll into the right rough and your next shot will be through the palm trees. That’s much better than being in the left rough where you will be hacking your way back onto the fairway if you can find your ball.

Getting on the brown has become more difficult since bunkers were added. Although they cannot be seen in the picture, rest assured: they are there and they are deep. At one point it was one large deep bunker protecting the entire front of the brown. Wisdom would later prevail and the middle of the bunker was filled in to create a bridge and two bunkers.

Being one of the more difficult ones, this brown is a real challenge to even the best golfers. The best position to putt from is below the hole. Putting from the side of above the hole will almost guarantee extra strokes on your score card.