IN PICS: Golfing paradises

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A general view of the 9th hole on the Montgomerie Course in Dubai. Designed by former European number one golfer Colin Mongomerie, it combines the design traditions of truly great Scottish links courses. Surrounded by the palatial homes of the affluent Emirates Hills community, the Championship course covers more than 200 acres and features 14 lakes and 81 bunkers. (Getty Images)
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Hole 18, par 4 at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club National Course. An oasis of tranquility carved out of the desert, just 10 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport. Home to the largest sporting event in the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi Golf Club plays host to the PGA European Tour Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. The inaugural Abu Dhabi Golf Championship was played at the National Course in January 2006, and received record attendances for the 2007 event, with one of the world’s leading golfers Paul Casey taking the honours. (ITP Images)
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A view of play on the 7th green during the Dubai Desert Classic Challenge Match, held on the par 3, course at the Emirates Golf Club. Emirates Golf Club's second championship golf course was opened in 1996 and was christened The 'Wadi', taken from the Arabic word for 'valley'. In 2005, The Wadi was redesigned by six-time major winner Nick Faldo and the new 'Wadi by Faldo' re-opened in October 2006. A natural wadi running the length of the course comes in to play without being classified as a hazard. (Getty Images)
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A view of the 9th hole at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht club. The par 71 course that measures 6,857 yards is a memorable journey from the first tee to the 18th green. The superbly manicured fairways are undulating, demarcated by mounds, date and palm trees, and most other times by water. Apart from the Creek, which comes into play on at least four holes, several artificial lakes add to the beauty and difficulty of the course. (Getty Images)
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The seventh hole during the Pro-Am for the Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club. The flagship course at Emirates Golf Club, The Majlis is a challenging par 72, 7,301-yard course sculptured around original tall desert dunes. It was the first grass course in the Middle East and takes its name from the Arabic word for 'meeting place'. The Majlis has developed a worthy reputation worldwide as a testing layout for even the best golfers. The course, which hosts the Dubai Desert Classic, features hundreds of indigenous species of flora and fauna, complemented by meandering fairways and seven fresh and saltwater lakes. (Getty Images)
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Tiger Woods lining up a putt on the 13th hole during the rain delayed third Round of The Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The club has about 300 members at any given time. Initiation fees are reported to range between $25,000 and $50,000.Membership is strictly by invitation. (Getty Images)
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The world famous clubhouse on the 18th hole at the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. The game has been played here since at least 1457 when it was popular enough for King James II to ban it on the grounds that it interfered with archery practice. \n

The Old Course is the most famous golf course in the world, and is regularly ranked in the top five golf courses on the planet.
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Cypress Point Golf Club has a single 18 hole course, one of eight in Pebble Beach near Monterey, California. The course is well known around the world for its series of three holes that play along the Pacific Ocean: the 15th, 16th and 17th, which are regularly rated among the best golf holes in the world. The 16th (pictured) is a long par three that actually plays over the ocean. It formerly was one of the courses used for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, last doing so in 1991. Cypress Point Club was ranked number two on Golf Magazine's List of The Top 100 Golf Courses in the World.
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The 2nd green of the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. Royal County Down has been the scene of many wonderful championships, particularly in the very early days when the greats of the day such as Vardon, Taylor, Ball and Kirkcaldy came to play "for a purse of sovereigns". The course continues to present a major challenge to the amateurs and professionals (Tiger Woods included) alike. (Getty Images)
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A view taken of the Pine Valley Golf Club, in New Jersey, USA. Pine Valley has arguably the best collection of par fives and par threes in the world. The course prides itself in being one of the toughest challenges in all of golf. Pine Valley's trademarks are "Hell's half acre" (a barren wasteland on the 7th hole which is probably the largest non seaside bunker in the world) and the famous 18th, which incorporates many different elements of golf into one spectacular finishing hole. Although it is regarded as one of the greatest courses in the world, Pine Valley has not played host to any major professional golf tournaments. This is because there is not enough room on the course to accommodate tens of thousands of spectators. In fact, the only time Pine Valley has ever had mainstream exposure was a 1962 Shell's Wonderful World of Golf match between Gene Littler and Byron Nelson. (Getty Images)