Yas Links is like nothing you have ever seen in the UAE. It’s a nod to tradition in a wonderful setting.
When it comes to Abu Dhabi’s grand masterplan, Yas Links Golf Club is something of an anomaly. You only have to look at the neighbouring structures of Ferrari World, the Yas Marina Circuit and the chameleonic Yas Hotel to appreciate the emirate’s taste for the futuristic. And yet Yas Links is a tribute to an era where golfers played in plus fours, smoked pipes and answered to names like Old Tom Morris: An era about as far removed from modern Abu Dhabi as you can get. The most amazing thing about the course is, simply, that it works. In this hot, desert climate, the concept of emulating a seaside Scottish links appears absurd at first, but Yas Links is remarkably authentic, from the wispy fescue grass to the crumpled dunes and the hickory flagsticks. Yas has forgone the extravagance so pronounced in other new golf courses here with a minimalist approach that is both welcome and refreshing.
Credit must go to the developers, Aldar, for having the willingness to attempt such an audacious project, but American designer Kyle Phillips is the star, bringing his vision of a modern links course to life in dramatic fashion on the gently curved shoreline of Yas Island.
“What makes the course so intriguing is how traditional it is, because nothing like that has ever been attempted before in the UAE,” says Phillips (who is the designer behind acclaimed modern Scottish classics Kingsbarns and Dundonald).