Qatar has taken a back seat to Dubai when it comes to the acceptance of golf, with interest in the game only really developing in the decade following the establishment of the nearby Dubai Desert Classic in 1989. Three full 18-hole layouts are currently open for play in the country, of which one is entirely turfed and two are of sand. There are also popular 9-hole courses at Doha the Doha Golf Club, which is equipped with floodlights, Ras Abu Aboud and, most recently, Ras Laffan, where the fairways are of sand and the tees and greens are of turf.
The country's first course, Peter Harradine's design for Doha Golf Club a few miles north of the capital, remains the main attraction, and is open to non-members. This 6686-meter championship course was constructed with the aim of hosting a yearly competition, and the royal family began sponsoring the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in 1998, a tournament that has since steadily increased in terms of the standing of the players that it attracts. Adam Scott was the winner in 2002, before he had emerged as a top player, but Ernie Els was the victor in 2005, and when Scott won again in 2008, he was on his way to the great success he would enjoy in the 2010s. The tournament, which is held every January, is now a major stop on the Middle East leg of the European and Asian Tours.
Having become a major tourist destination, Qatar boasts plenty of space and possibilities for new courses, so it will only be a matter of time before more courses are built that will take advantage of the country's enormous financial resources and its beaches and dunes.
Top 1 golf courses in Qatar
The All Square ranking of the best golf courses in Qatar