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We played the Bahrain Championship Pro-Am at The Royal Golf Club – and this is how we did it

The return of the DP World Tour to the Kingdom of Bahrain in early 2024 not only saw the return to form of the winner, Dylan Frittelli of South Africa, but also served as a reminder that the Royal Golf Club is a place worth visiting. .

Bahrain is an often forgotten golfing region in the Middle East. After all, it is a small island in the Persian Gulf, located between Qatar and Saudi Arabia – and for a long time the only golf that was played there was in the desert “brown” than the greens (oil is poured into the sand. to produce putting areas).

The Royal GC features a 7,101-yard course designed by the European Golf Design team in collaboration with European Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie.

It is a modern course that first hosted the DP World Tour in 2011 and on its return after 13 years players realized that changes to the course had elevated it to world-class presentation standards.

Golf365 received an invitation to play the Bahrain Championship Pro-Am and lucked out, playing nine holes with Scotland’s Grant Forrest and another nine with Danish veteran Soren Kjeldsen.

On a damp Wednesday morning we warmed up a bucket of balls on the range and 15 minutes into the putting green. Would it be enough to avoid embarrassment?!

The ninth front

Reserve some early surprises at Royal.

From the first tee, the course gives every impression of being a classic resort course, but the second shot is spectacular. The green is placed below the fairway, slightly hidden behind the mound to the left, and the formation is far and narrow – it feels very unattractive and very similar to the linksland shot. It is a welcoming site and it was no surprise to learn later that the design team had golf links in mind with the project.

Royal Golf Club's first green of Bahrain

If that’s one shock, the view from the par-3 second is another because – brace yourself – you have to carry a fairway (or canyon) to find the steeply sloping back left. Two holes in and the challenge was on.

The required blow from the par-5 third tee needs to be tight, too, but it sweeps left to right and if you pick a good line you’ll catch the ridges and wave your ball toward the dogleg, planning for it to happen. of hitting the green twice for long hitters. No chance of that for us, but another nice hole.

The fourth hole continues to drift from the clubhouse and calls for an accurate hit to the treacherous green.

The fifth head is in the opposite direction and is another hole that reminds, despite the surrounding houses, the linksland of Scotland. A short par-4 that requires a big hit from that ward (not within our arsenal) or a careful hit from a narrow fairway (job done, safely).

The sixth also requires a consistent tee shot while the eighth allows big hitters to open their shoulders – the further the shot goes, the more likely it is to catch the important slopes that open up the short fairway. In the middle, the short par-3 seventh allows everyone to take a dead aim at the pin.

It was getting hot now and we stumbled upon this frame.

The par-5 ninth is an interesting prospect. A long tee shot rattles into a small hole in the fairway but the risk is worth it because the green will not be reached in two otherwise. The green is elevated, protected by deep bunkers and rough grass.

Hitting the cabin in the middle of nowhere felt tested but in a fun way. The front nine is pleasantly flexible and negotiates the wadi at least three times – if your ball avoids disappearing into it, you’ll probably feel good about making the turn.

The back 9

There is an interesting pattern on the back nine because it has four sets of paired holes.

It starts with the 10th and 11th both short par-4s. Great hitters will pay close attention to where the wind is going and think about going to the green. If they go to the 10th, they will also go to the 11th because they live almost on the same side.

Short hitters won’t have that potential advantage, but they will accept hitting short irons to the green. But, like all good short holes, both of these holes retain a threat despite many temptations.

Indeed, our group found that hitting a long shot to the green on 11 was a better option than trying to hit it with a short flip – and both greens are protected by significant slopes.

Following another beautiful par-3 the 13th and 14th holes are both par-5s, one away from the clubhouse, the other towards the other side. It ensures that the wind will provide a different test on all and the greens are an additional protection of the par – 13 is especially tricky with high run-offs on all sides.

Another feature of the back 9 is the many oil pipelines that run above ground and give the impression of being a large railroad. It’s an unusual idea and it gives the lesson something of a Mad Max theme.

The next connected holes are 15 and 16 which surround the lake. The first is a par-4 with water that threatens the drive and fairway, a threat repeated on the par-3 16th.

The final duo is 17 and 18, a medium length par-4 that is again protected by water but this time down the right side. From both tees, a bold drive, near the water, will provide an easy approach to the green.

It was a hot but fun day of golf with those unpredictable linksland vibes and typical, DP World Tour-standard conditions.

18th hole Royal Golf Club Bahrain


In addition to the main course, Montgomery has created a nine-hole par-3 course called Wee Monty that is perfect for students and children.

Both the back nine of the main course and this short course are also floodlit for evening golf.

The club also has a modern golf club, outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, pizzeria and cafe.


The club is located in the Riffa Views area of ​​the capital Manama which is enjoying an increase in tourism. Bahrain Fort is a UNESCO protected archaeological site and the Manama Souq has excellent shops and restaurants, as do many of the city’s modern shops.

The city is a popular meeting place for newcomers from the Middle East and hosts the annual Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Bahrain may rank behind Dubai, Qatar and Oman as a golf destination, but this is as good a golf course as you will find there.

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