The well designed 3rd green
Looking across the 14th green Risk & reward at the 18th
Next up is the Kyle Phillip-designed Al Maaden resort which opened in 2008, and I must say off the bat that Iím a big Phillips fan, so itís no surprise that I enjoy this course. I love the movement Kyle has got on the fairways: this comes into play on the first where the fairway gently moves from left to right and on the second where if you catch your tee shot right you can you use the slopes to gain an extra 10/20 yards on your tee shot, leaving you only a wedge in.
Again you have five tee options ranging from 7,184 yards to 5,212 yards so there will be a set of tees to match your ability and to challenge you. One of the features that I really like is the way the water reservoirs have been built into the course and become a design feature of this track. These huge concrete structures feature on a number of holes as water hazards, and form part of a great risk-and-reward feature on the 18th hole.
When you consider that these courses have been build on barren flatland, and that everything else comes from the golf course architectís imagination, you begin to understand why some designers stand out from the rest Ė and what Kyle Phillips has produced here is nothing short of stunning. Throw in the mountain views and itís a track that has everything.
Stand-out holes for me; apart from the first two, are all the par-3s, especially the par-4, 408-yard fifth which plays to a semi-island green with water coming into play on the right. Another enjoyable hole is the par-4 eighth which measures 417 yards: you drive over a bunker that sits on a rise before the fairway goes back downhill to a green nestled between four bunkers and runs across you, to make a very narrow target.
I really enjoy the back nine. In fact I just love this track and am very happy we get to play it twice. Arguably best of all are the finishing holes of 17 and 18. The 445-yard, par-4 17th is played over a stream that then runs down the right-hand side of the fairway to a raised green. The 18th as mentioned is all risk-and -reward from the tee shot over the concrete reservoirs to the second shot over a stream placed 40 yards short of the green. A fitting crescendo to a great track.