Josh Hill on Yas Links
Josh Hill on Yas Links Image Credit: Supplied

This is the first of a series of regular articles in Gulf News giving an insight into my preparation for playing in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links from January 20-23.

Last week I travelled the one hour’s drive to Yas Island with my mother from my home in Dubai to continue my preparation to play in the $8 million DP World Tour Rolex Series event.

After a short Christmas break, I went out with two friends and my caddie Pete Hartley for a nice relaxed round over the golf course.

It is good to get a feel for the course and how it might play during the tournament week. I have played Yas Links a number of times, but we all know that when it is in a tournament, especially a DP World Tour event including many of the world’s best golfers, everything seems somewhat different to a social round with friends with no tournament buzz, and that is the reason for this visit, and hopefully more rounds prior to the tournament week.

I loved the set-up at Yas Links and was amazed at the golf course conditions already, with still a couple of weeks to go before the tournament starts. You could play the event today, the conditions seem to be tournament ready.

The yardage of the Kyle Phillips-designed golf course is up to 7,425 yards, but with the recent rain in the UAE it will be interesting to see if this has any impact on the firmness of the fairways.

This visit got me especially excited and this trip helped prepare me for what lies ahead, it is now tournament time in a couple of weeks, not “next year”!

A big thanks to Matt Waters from Troon Golf in Abu Dhabi who made sure all the arrangements for practising at Yas Links were all in hand.

I took two days off from the gym at Christmas and I am now back into my health and fitness routine.

Hopefully, I have shaken off a few cobwebs and have also had time to go through the numbers and statistics of my recent rounds and trying to find areas I can improve on.

It is a great start for my 2022 and a new year with such a significant event, not just on the UAE and regional calendar but on the world’s golfing calendar.

I know I am very fortunate and privileged to be able to play in this tournament. It is exciting to go into my last few weeks of tournament preparation. Now it is back to the gym!

Josh Hill is a leading amateur, born, brought up and based in Dubai, a member of Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, who is a full England International and plays off a handicap of +5.8.