Hole 1 Par 4 405 yards 370 metres - Jeev Milkha Singh (India)
Son of the Flying Sikh, one of India's greatest Olympic athletes, Jeev has 19 wins worldwide including three on the European Tour and four in Japan.
I normally use a driver here and, depending on the wind, my alignment for that hole is to try and keep the ball to the right of the left bunker. If there's no wind I can get it into the left bunker, but normally my line is the right edge of that bunker. That gives me enough margin of error so that, even if I push my driver out, I can get over the bunkers on the right and at least I have a shot to the green.
It's normally a sand wedge or wedge to the green. If it's against the wind it's a wedge.
When we've got a wedge in our hands we're looking at being within at least ten to 15 feet from the flag and having a very good chance for a birdie.
When the pin's tucked on the right you want to be more aggressive, even if you hit it past the hole you can spin it back. Although if you leave it short, it's a tough bunker shot. Wherever the flag is on the green you just go for it!
I'm thinking birdie every time I tee it up here. On this hole, realistically, it's a chance.
Hole 2 Par 5 600 yards 548 metres - Pablo Martin (Spain)
The first amateur to win on the European Tour (2007 Estoril Open de Portugal); the 25-year-old from Malaga also has back-to-wins at South Africa's Alfred Dunhill Championship in his resume.
If you're a long hitter you've got an advantage on this hole because the wind tends to be helping on most of the days. With a really good drive you might have a chance to get it on in two, but they put a new bunker in on the left side which is right in play and makes the fairway really narrow right around the landing zone.
Most of the time I think most people will play it as a three-shot par five. It's very tough to keep it on the fairway because it's very narrow if you're a long hitter. If you want to get there in two it's very tough. It's a little wider if you're a short hitter, but then you won't be able to reach it in two.
The green: there's not much to it. The whole green runs down from the back to the front and slightly to the right towards the water. It's quite tough to hit it in the water though; I don't think you'll see many balls down there. If you hit a really bad shot you might find the water but it's not really tight over there.
I think it's a good birdie opportunity.
Hole 3 Par 4 439 and 392 metres - Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain)
One of the most popular players on the tour, this bon viveur has 18 European Tour wins including the 2010 Omega Dubai Desert Classic and four playing appearances at the Ryder Cup.
It's a big elevated tee and a long hole. Medium hitters like me need to aim at the right side of the fairway bunkers. Even the bigger hitters can't fly those bunkers; it's 330 yards to get over them, so it's almost on the limit.
The worst mistake is not to hit the fairway because the rough is tough and it's very difficult to control it from the rough.
Then you hit something like a nine iron into the green. The green slopes left-to-right and you have to fly over the first bunker. You need a precision shot because everything slopes away to the bunker behind. With a nine iron in your hand you're looking to get within five metres and putt for birdie.
It's a nice hole. It fits me as a draw player, you know?
Hole 4 Par 3 174 yards159 metres Ross McGowan (England)
The 2009 Madrid Masters winner, University of Tennessee graduate and a rabid fan of Birmingham football team Aston Villa, despite having been raised in Surrey.
This is a very tricky par three. It has got two shelves – front and back – most of the time the pin is up the back. They've extended it out to the right and brought the bunkers in, so it's made it a lot tougher especially for the back-right flag. For the front pin, there's also a bit of danger around it.
The bunkers are deep, very deep; I was in them a couple of times last year but fortunately managed to get up and down both times. It's one of those holes where you're happy to hit the middle of the green and give the putter a chance, but you're also happy to walk off with a three.
Anything on the left side above the pin leaves you very, very fast putts. It's just so fast. It rolls and rolls and rolls and you're just hoping the hole gets in the way.
The biggest mistake here is, probably, short-siding yourself above the hole. At the end of the day you're happy with a three and get on to the fifth tee.
Hole 5 Par 4 469 yards 428 metres - Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa)
Winner of the 2010 Open Championship at the "home of golf", St Andrews, Lodewicus Theodorus Oosthuizen also finished in the top ten at last year's US Open.
From the tee, you're trying to avoid the rough on the left because it's really thick, but even a slight push with the driver means you're going in the bunker on the right, which is not the worse place to be. It all depends on the wind, but you want to hit the fairway and you favour the right side.
I think the bunker on the right is relatively new. It was always thick rough on the right. Now, if you go in the bunker at least you know you'll feel you can get to the green.
It's quite a long green. If you're playing into the wind you normally go into there with a four, five or six iron. Down wind is a bit different. To me, the green always feels a bit quicker than the rest.
On any of the holes you don't want to miss the greens because the rough is a bit thick, but it is a pretty straight-forward green here. It's a tiered green, but as long as you're below the pin you're fine, especially when the pin's at the back or in the middle.
If the pin's at the front, being in the middle of the green isn't the worst spot to be, but you want to try and leave yourself an uphill putt.
Hole 6 Par 4 469 yards 428 metres - Noh Seung-Yul (Korea Republic)
20-year-old bright young star of Asian golf. Won the 2010 Asian Tour Order of Merit after his 2010 Maybank Malaysian Open victory made him one of the youngest winners in European Tour history.
Last year, every day I played three-wood except for one day when it was a strong downwind. Then I took five wood. The best place for me is to drop it at around 290 from the tee. But every day I missed the fairway and it's a tough second shot. The rough is too long, so you must hit the fairway.
For me the second shot is a seven or eight iron and, if you hit the fairway, it's a little easier. Miss the fairway and you'll maybe miss the green. It's difficult, number six; it's so long.
When the pin is on the right side, everyone plays to the middle of the green because it's wider. If you find the middle then that's an easy two putt for par. When the pin is on the back-left, around 18 (paces) on, I think that is more difficult.
The bunkers around the green aren't that difficult, the big thing is here is hitting the fairway off the tee.
Hole 7 Par 3 200 yards 182 metres - Soren Kjeldsen (Denmark)
A three-time winner on the European Tour, with a top-ten finish in the 2010 PGA Championship on his CV, Kjeldsen claimed a car on the 7th with a hole in one in 2011.
The Cadillac-winning way to play this hole is to get up on the tee, realise it is playing 172 metres to the pin and 2 metres downhill with a nice breeze off the right and that it is a perfect club for me; a nice little hold-up four iron. I hit a sweet shot, which pitched about five yards short, rolled a little bit right to left and straight into the hole. It was a good number for me and I hit a great shot.
Every other day, I try and do the same thing and it hasn't always worked out: the next day I chunked the four iron slightly and took two putts for a three and you move on.
You would think a four-iron par three is a tough hole. It is, but the thing is the green sits a little bit into to you, so if you hit a really solid shot it will stop dead because it is into a slope. But the front part of the green runs downhill, which means if you hit one where you don't get it 100 per cent it will still chase up a little bit. Even though it's a four iron, you feel you have an opportunity for a birdie chance.
When the pin is on the left if is pretty tough if you're in the left bunker... and when the breeze gets up if you mishit one then you're short in the water.
The bunker at the front might scare amateurs. When the pin is at the front and you hit it in that bunker, you're pitching onto a down slope. But like I said, the rest of the green is into you, so you shouldn't really come up short.
Hole 8 Par 5 597 yards 546 metres - Padraig Harrington (Rep. Ireland)
The Open Champion in 2007 and 2008 and winner of the 2008 PGA Championship, victories earned when Tiger was at his best, the Irishman enhanced his popularity in Abu Dhabi last year for the gracious way he accepted his disqualification for a ball-marking infringement.
This is an awkward hole! They've grown the rough in on the left, so you can't really the cut the corner on the left-hand side. If they move the tee box up, which they did one day last year, it does give us a little bit of an angle around the corner of the dogleg and means you could reach it in two.
If it plays into the wind, you've got to go down the right-hand side and it becomes a very long hole – a three-shot hole – a good drive and three wood and you're going to be left with a wedge to the green.
If you miss the tee shot there are a couple of bunkers that are about 150 yards from the green and you kind of have to lay up short of those, which will leave you kind of a six-iron third shot.
The green has got a little bit of undulation in it, but the really trouble is if you miss your second shot. If you miss the fairway, there are a couple of bunkers and some heavy rough. You will see some guys making bogey at this par 5, whereas usually they are birdie opportunities, purely because there's a lot of trouble in the lay-up area.
Hit a good drive and you're in A1 position; anything less and this hole becomes tough and becomes a real genuine par five hole.
Hole 9 Par 4 456 yards 417 metres - Lee Westwood (England)
Spent the first half of 2011 as the world number one, Westwood has 35 professional wins all over the world and a reputation as one of the sport's most consistent performers.
The ninth is a good hole; probably one of the strongest holes on the course! It's very tight up there. You have to hit a good drive and there's sneaky water on the left. I've never been on the right, so I don't know what's over there. It's a long hole as well and it normally plays into a bit of breeze. It's a tough hole.
It certainly helps to hit a good drive. It doesn't matter if there's no breeze or if the wind is helping because you're only hitting something like a seven or eight iron for your second shot. Into the wind it can be a four-iron in there.
If they put the pin back-right it makes the hole a lot longer and a lot harder. That's not the biggest challenge of the hole; the biggest challenge is hitting the fairway.
Hole 10 Par 5 582 yards 532 metres - Francesco Molinari (Italy)
Winner of the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions, won the World Cup with his brother Edoardo in 2009 and was part of the European Ryder Cup side at Celtic Manor. One of the most accurate players in the game.
It is a par five so obviously it's a birdie chance and you want to make birdie on this hole. With the new tee it's reachable only for the really long hitters. The average players hit a driver trying to finish between the bunkers in the middle of the fairway, then it's a lay-up with a three or four iron to probably 80 or 90 yards to the green; everybody tries to leave himself the best yardage possible to be aggressive with a wedge. It's a fairly easy green to go at with a wedge so you can attack with the third shot.
It's a really long hole now, so if you miss the fairway with the first shot or with the lay-up you're going to be in trouble. If you miss with the driver and don't find the bunkers you're in rough and all you can do is lay it up 100 yards in front of you and that leaves you a really tough third shot into the green. If you miss the fairway with the lay-up it's really hard to control the ball even from just 100 yards with this kind of grass.
It's a relatively simple green, but the flags short-right and long-left are the most difficult ones. When you play to the flag short-right there's a run-out on the right side of the green, so you don't have that much space to hit the wedge. When the flag is long-left you can't carry the ball further than the flag because it might run down the back and leave you a tough chip to save par.
It's still definitely a birdie chance though.
Hole 11 Par 4 417 yards 381 metres - Alvaro Quiros (Spain)
Flamboyant long-hitter who will turn 29 the week before the 2012 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Quiros has won one event on the European Tour every season since 2007.
It's not a tough tee shot to have a chance to hit it to the green, but it's a really difficult fairway to catch because it becomes so narrow with the new cut of the rough. At the same time you have to hit a really good driver to go over the left trap. The dogleg complicates things because from the tee it's a blind shot, over the bunker, onto a very narrow fairway. It's always difficult to hit a dogleg, especially in this case where you don't see where the ball is going to land.
It's not worth me taking a five wood because if I hit a good driver I'm going to have 58 degrees or 52 degrees; if it's from the rough it's still worth it compared to having an eight iron or nine iron from the fairway.
After that you're hitting a short club to a green of what I would say is average complication. You have a tough side and a little bit of uphill at the front of the green. It's a nice hole.
If you miss on the right side when the flag is on the right you're completely finished! There's no chance of making a chip and putt because all of the slope is from right to left.
Hole 12 Par 3 186 yards 170 metres - Paul Casey (England)
A two-time winner in Abu Dhabi in 2009 and 2007, Casey has managed to stay high in world rankings despite being troubled by injuries. The 34-year-old aced this hole in 2011 and earned a free stay at the Emirates Palace for life!
The easy way to play this is to hole it from the tee like I did in the third round in 2011! That day the pin was front-left, 174 yards, seven iron and no wind. It's a very easy way of playing it!
I think the pins at the front are very accessible, but the pins at the back of the green are a little bit tricky; certainly the place you don't want to miss are into the back bunkers. It's very, very difficult to get it up and down from those. So, if you want to take that risk and try and make a two you have to be very, very precise and accurate. Most guys will just play to the centre of the green, which will leave them a pretty good putt to any of the hole locations.
For the professionals out here, yardage plays a big role in what club they'll hit and how aggressive they'll be. If they feel comfortable with a yardage that is perfect for that particular club then they'll go at that back pin location. If they feel that they've got to take a bit off a club then you'll either see them try and hit a cut to that pin or maybe even take a shorter club and just play safe to the middle of the green. The last thing you want to do is get over-keen or overconfident and if you don't hit the cut perfectly and you pull it slightly, the ball's going to go a lot further and you're going to be in a whole world of trouble. Equally the right hand bunker is not the place to be either.
It's a very timid looking hole, but it actually produces its fair share of bogeys as well as birdies.
Hole 13 Par 414 yards 378 metres - Edoardo Molinari (Italy)
Won the 2009 World Cup for Italy with brother and claimed two 2010 wins in Scotland with Francesco playing alongside him in the final group. The "two Molinaris" also starred at the 2010 Ryder Cup.
The 13th is probably a birdie chance on this course. You have to place your driver on the fairway because the green sits on a funny angle and you need to be on the fairway to play your second shot. The new bunker they made on the right of the green gives you a line because you need to go in just to the left of that bunker. Visually it makes it easier. It's not easier if you miss and go in that bunker, but visually, yes, for sure.
The second shot, the green sits on that funny angle and you need to make sure you hit your shot to the right part of the green. It's not a long hole, so it's technically a birdie chance. Without wind you'd probably hit a driver and then a pitching wedge or nine iron. It's a makeable birdie.
The only difficult pin is the one short, right behind the bunker. Everything else is pretty accessible.
Hole 14 Par 4 490 yards 448 metres - David Howell (England)
Part of Europe's Ryder Cup winning sides in 2004 and 2006, Howell used to be England's highest-ranked golfer. Won the Dubai Desert Classic in 1999 and the inaugural HSBC Champions in 2005.
Standing on the tee, we're thinking it's a very tough par 4. There are a couple of bunkers down the left-hand side; the first one isn't really in play, but the second certainly is at 285 yards off the tee. Should you miss that bunker left or miss the fairway on the right you're going to have the devil's own job reaching the green because the rough is very thick. A straight drive is very much a need on this hole. It's a tough ask to reach the green if you miss the fairway.
You aim at the bunker at the top of the fairway; it's about 320 to reach that, which is certainly not in play for me. Once you've negotiated the drive, it's quite a generous green and it's fairly flat and pretty wide; rightly so for such a long par four. You're coming in from some 200 yards; a four or five iron. The green is 25 yards deep with a gentle slope from back to front and if you can get it off the tee, then a sensible shot to the middle of the green is probably the way to go.
One interesting thing with the bunker on the front left is that there's a little bit that you can't see and you think you're going to pitch on the front edge of the green and it pitches into a bit of the bunker that isn't visible. That's a little trick that is quite clever.
There's a nice runway between the two traps so there's plenty of room if you have to run it in from the rough, but otherwise try and pitch it on the front half of the green and hole your putt from 30 feet. A birdie is very welcome; par is alright! I'd take par every day here!
Hole 15 Par 3 177 yards 162 metres - Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spain)
From Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, won Spain's National Championship at every level from under seven to under-18. Winner of the 2009 Austrian Open and his sister Emma is also a tour pro.
It's a very nice par three. There are two bunkers guarding the proper front of the green on the left and right and normally they put the pins very tight near them. Pretty much, if you're in the middle of the green it's a birdie chance; it's not that tough a par three.
There are some slopes all around the green, but it's pretty straightforward. Just beware of the bunkers short-left and right. You can attack because if you miss a little bit the ball should kick back towards the middle, but if you're in the middle of the green you're probably going to have a nice opportunity.
For me it's between and eight and seven iron. I hit eight on the final day last year and birdied it, just by going for the middle and putting outwards.
Hole 16 Par 4 475 yards 434 metres - Anthony Kang (USA)
Born in Seoul, but raised in the Hawaii, Kang ended an 8-year wait for an Asian Tour win when he won the co-sanctioned Maybank Malaysian Open in 2009 and earned playing rights on the European Tour.
Very long! For myself, an average hitter, I'm looking at a very narrow fairway at around 270 to 280 yards off the tee box. It's very narrow there. I'm not thinking about carrying the bunker on the left side at all because at best I'll catch the bunker, if not I'll be in the rough which is very thick over there. But the closer you are to the left, you can cut up to 20 yards off your second shot compared to being on the right.
So, I'm shooting down the fairway cut as I'm looking from the tee box. My second shot in will be anything from 180 to 200 yards. It's a fairly difficult hole, but for a guy like Noh Seung-Yul who is hitting it very long, he takes it straight over the left bunker. In a practice round we played he got it out to about the 117 (yards to go) area. It was fabulous to watch. Danny Lee and I had 190 to the hole and Noh had 120! In that respect, for the super-long hitters it becomes a wide fairway because it becomes broader on the left. It's a lot easier hole, but like all the holes you still have to hit the fairway. The premium is on accuracy off the tee shot.
Depending what the wind is doing, I've hit seven iron up to four or three iron. It's a long hole, a difficult hole and not a hole that's going to yield a lot of birdies.
The green is very flat; there's no danger, but coming in with a long iron you're going to have to worry about the ball releasing once it hits the putting surface. It becomes difficult to shoot at pins on the right side because you have to fly a greenside bunker and you don't have much space because of the ball flying and releasing. The average hitters end up aiming more to the left side because they have a little more room.
Hole 17 Par 4 483 yards 441 metres - Joost Luiten (Netherlands)
Struggling to pronounce Joost? Start with a y sound, finish with oust and be grateful he doesn't use his proper name Willibrordus Adrianus Maria. His country's highest ranked player, Luiten was slowed by a wrist problem in 2009 and '10, but is regarded as talented enough to have won on tour by now.
I think this is one of the toughest holes on the course. It's into the wind most of the time and it's pretty narrow where the driver lands in between the fairway bunkers. You need to make sure with a driver that you stay in between those sand traps. If you miss it right in the rough there's almost no chance of reaching the green out of the thick stuff and in the bunker it's just a really long bunker shot from back there. You need to make sure you're hitting the fairway.
From there you've got a five or six iron in. A par is good on this hole.
The green is pretty big, but when they put the hole on the back right where it was on the final day last year, it's a tough shot: you need to make sure you're on the left of the pin so you've got an uphill putt from there. If you miss it right you've got a really fast chip or a really fast downhill putt. Middle of the green, when the pin is on the right, is pretty good.
The mistake to avoid is... don't miss the fairway. Go for the middle of the green. Don't be too aggressive on this hole because a par is good.
Hole 18 Par 5 567 yards 518 metres - Martin Kaymer (Germany)
Recorded his third win in four years in Abu Dhabi in 2011 and is 80 under par during that time. No-one has had more fun playing the 18th than the 2010 PGA Championship winner.
Last year walking up 18 was nice: leading by seven shots and knowing that I would win the tournament. The year before was a little different, because I needed to make birdie. I've had that walk three times now and it's great to see the spectators on the left side and spotting some friends. Every time I come here, even if it's just a practice round, I remember each situation and how I won here. Hopefully I can come here for many, many years and keep having that situation.
It's a nice finishing hole: it's my favourite hole on the golf course.
The tee shot is fantastic for me, because usually I cut the ball and the fairway sits a little sideways and makes you hit a little fade. Usually I can get home in two, but on the final day last year I missed my tee shot. Usually if you hit it on the fairway you have 260 to 270 yards to the middle of the green and you can two-putt and finish with a birdie.
When I won here in 2008 I finished with a birdie. 2009, when I was chasing Paul Casey, I finished with an eagle. 2010 was a birdie and last year was a birdie. There's no reason why I shouldn't like the hole!
(Note: For 2012 the 18th hole has two new fairway bunkers)