Sponsored: It’s about so much more than just golf…

One of the biggest events on the Middle East sporting calendar, and a true legacy sporting event in Dubai, the Hero Dubai Desert Classic will celebrate its 35th edition this January.

With major attractions on the course at Emirates Golf Club, and off it in the family-friendly Tournament Town, there is plenty to attract both sports fans and casual observers from January 18 to 21.

Here’s 8 reasons to visit the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

1. A stellar line-up of golfing greats

Of course, at the heart of the event is the on-green action, and there’s some top talent competing in the 35th anniversary tournament. World No.2 Rory McIlroy and defending champion headlines the field. He’ll be up against stiff competition though. American Major winner Brian Harman and rising PGA Tour star Cameron Young will both make their debuts at the tournament, while European Ryder Cup stars Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton are both returning to tee it up. Also teeing off will be European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald, Rolex Series winner Ryan Fox and Major Champions Padráig Harrington, Francesco Molinari and Adam Scott

2. Free access

The tournament is renowned as a family-friendly event, packed full of great entertainment for all ages to enjoy, and there’s still a limited number of free tickets remaining. Register now and download the new app, available on App Store and Google Play, which you’ll need to retrieve your tickets.

3. Something for all ages

Whether your little one is into golf or not, there are plenty of free, fun entertainment and endless activities. At the kids zone, think bouncy castles, glitter art face paint, arts and crafts, roaming acts and much more.

4. Food glorious food

There will be plenty of options for foodies to try this year, with more than 25 culinary options to sink your teeth into. From fan favourites such as Pickl and Topgolf to healthy options at Pinza and Acai Spot and sweet treats from Baskin Robbins and House of Pops, there’s something for everyone.

For an Instagrammable option, Jones the Grocer is bringing back its Picnic Lunch with a golf twist at the 2024 Hero Dubai Desert Classic. Enjoy the picturesque views of the top golfers playing whilst indulging in Jones’ beautifully curated wicker picnic basket and set up on the grass filled with an artisanal cheese or charcuterie board and drinks.

5. A fun fancy dress competition

To mark the momentous 35 year anniversary, there’s a fancy dress competition that invites you to dress to the nines in top golf attire from across the decades. Choose your favorite era, from timeless vintage sophistication to bold retro styles, and you could stand to win fantastic prizes at Retro Vintage Saturday’s ‘Best Dressed’ competition. You’ll need to be following the Hero Dubai Desert Classic account on Instagram, share a picture of your outfit, and be sure to tag them in your snap with the hashtags #DubaiDesertClassic and #35thedition . Winners will be announced the following week.

6. Prime viewing for all 

There’s plenty of great vantage points all around the greens to watch the masters at work, with a new public bar and viewing terrace on the back of the 14th green, inviting prime views of the 14th green as well as the 6, 12 and 18 tees.

Elsewhere, popular spots for catching all the golfing acton include the Grey Goose Bar on the driving range, where you can watch players practice before they play; and the grandstands at the 15th and 18th greens. There’s also the 1st tee grandstand where you can see the players tee off on the 1st hole.

7. Sustainability sessions

The Hero Dubai Desert classic has made a three-year commitment to becoming more GEO-certified. As part of that journey, the tournament has its own sustainability corner, with activities for all ages. These include DIY workshops to create eco-friendly beauty products, upcycled tote bags and seed balls to take home and plant.

Remember to bring your re-fillable water bottle with you, as there are free drinking water stations set up in Tournament Town.

8. Easy access

Due to the central location of Emirates Golf Club, there are a variety of ways to reach the Hero Dubai Desert Classic by using public transport, further helping the go green initiative. Al Khail Metro Station is located directly outside the front gate and bus number 83 which runs across the city, also stops right at the entrance of Emirates Golf Club.

For those who really want to drive, there’s limited on-site parking for Dhs50 per car. The fee will be used towards planting three mangrove trees locally, which during their lifetime will offset 2,000 miles of car travel emissions.

Emirates Golf Club, free general admission, January 18 to 21. dubaidesertclassic.com