There many factors that go into creating the perfect golf holiday and as such certain parts of the world are more suited than others to welcoming travelling golfers. Of course the golf courses are key and there are many parts of the world that boast a fine collection of golf courses to suit all tastes. Accommodation available is also important as well as the climate, surrounding landscape and local attractions. To be considered one of the best golf holiday destinations in the world you have to be able to tick all of the boxes and with this in mind we bring you the ten best golf holiday destinations in the world.
The Algarve, Portugal
The Algarve has long been the front runner when it comes to golf holidays in Europe. World class golf courses, stunning golf resorts, intoxicating local towns and an enviable climate all contribute to the Algarve’s powerful position in European golf and of course its appeal as a golf holiday destinations.
The brightest star on the Algarve is Vilamoura, a delightful harbour town that has been transformed into a comprehensive golf complex. Vilamoura is home to many of the most sought after courses in Portugal including the Oceanico Old, Victoria, Pinhal, Laguna and Millennium Courses and is also within a stone’s throw of the Algarve’s biggest names including Vale Do Lobo, Quinta Do Lago and the famous San Lorenzo.
As well as the golfing riches of Vilamoura the Algarve also boasts other golfing hotspots like Monte Rei to the east and Penina to the west. The Algarve’s endless array of top quality golf courses is supplemented by fantastic five star resorts such as Sao Rafael and Tivoli Marina.
Myrtle Beach, USA
South Carolina is a world leader when it comes to golf and it is fair to say that Myrtle Beach is its capital. With more than 120 golf courses in the area you could return to Myrtle Beach on golf holidays year after year and you would still have plenty of new courses to discover.
It is not just the quantity but the quality of the golf courses in Myrtle Beach that make it ideal for a golf holiday. Many of the courses have been designed by leading names in the game of golf and whatever your tastes you are sure to find something that will suit your eye.
If you should choose to stay at one of the many top class resorts you will not be disappointed. The Myrtle Beach Marriott and the Myrtle Beach Hilton are both outstanding options that offer comfort, luxury and convenience but it is the golf courses that will truly shape your Myrtle Beach experience.
The courses at the Barefoot Resort are simply stunning while the Legends Golf Resort offers great variety with its three charming Scottish style golf courses. There are also classics like the TPC at Myrtle Beach which was designed by the great Tom Fazio.
The arid desert plains of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona may not have seemed the most obvious place to build a golf course but in recent years we have seen an influx of world class courses popping up in this Southern State. Towering mountains and incredible desert landscapes have acted as prefect canvases for many world class golf course designers and now Arizona is the place to be for a unique golf holiday.
The action is centred in and around Scottsdale. Here the local’s livelihoods rely on golf so unsurprisingly the level of service in the golf resorts is more than a match for the world class golf courses in the region.
Those choosing Arizona for a golf holiday can choose from golfing delights including the TPC Scottsdale, The Boulders Resort and the amazing Dove Mountain which now hosts the WGC Accenture World Matchplay Championship.
On top of the golf courses and stunning resort accommodation visitors to the state of Arizona will enjoy soaking up the local culture which can be described as a fusion of America’s Old West and nearby Mexico.
Costa del Sol, Spain
Since the 1970s the Costa del Sol has been constantly developed and is now one of the leading holiday destinations in Europe. Picturesque coastlines, a rolling landscape and stunning mountains combine to create quite a spectacular golfing landscape which is now adorned with countless golf courses including some of the best in Spain.
Stretching from Malaga down towards Sotogrande, the Costa del Sol, and the province of Malaga in particular, is bursting with golfing possibilities. Play popular courses like Santa Clara, Calanova and Marbella Golf & Country Club while staying in an around Marbella or head for one of the high class resorts that include the likes of La Cala, Atalaya Park and the stunning La Finca Cortesin which has recently hosted the Volvo World Matchplay Championship.
On top of the stunning golf courses and resorts the Costa del Sol also boasts a near perfect climate all year round and those choosing Spain for a golf holiday can also sample the delights of the local area including gorgeous marinas, sandy beaches and charming restaurants where traditional fare is in abundance.
Even without the world class golf courses Hawaii would be at the top of many a holiday goers list of dream holiday destinations and it is easy to see why. Sun, sand and sea combined with a truly intoxicating island way of life is enough to have many of our tongues wagging and for the travelling golfer the addition of several outstanding golf courses just makes Hawaii all the more appealing.
The Hawaiian landscape seems perfect for the creation of stunning golf courses. Cascading waterfalls, towering mounts of volcanic rock and cavernous ravines and canyons provide a dramatic and unusual backdrop for golfing delights including the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort, Turtle Bay and the stunning Kapalua which is now a regular stop on the PGA Tour.
Maui, Hawaii (known for convenience as the Big Island), Lana’i, Oahu and Kauai each have a distinct character, but all are known for their stunning Pacific coastlines and the rugged beauty created by their historic volcanic activity. Any one of these islands would be a sensible choice for your island golf holiday.
For years holiday makers have been heading to California and with the allure of San Francisco, the Hollywood Hills and the laid back beach towns dotted along Route 1 it is easy to see why. On top of all the local attractions and the idyllic summer weather the Pacific Coast is also replete with world class golf courses and stunning accommodation options.
Head to the Monterey Peninsula to find the best of the best including the world famous Pebble Beach, Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill or alternatively you could choose to head to Palm Springs where desert style courses like those in Arizona await including the Gary Player and Pete Dye courses at the famous Westin Mission Hills Resort.
The laid back atmosphere at the heart of the California legend extends to a warm welcome for every visitor, making for relaxing and endearing golf escapes. In sightseeing terms, California’s geography is as diverse as its population, and its stunning beaches, landscapes and cities will live long in the memory of all those fortunate to head west for a trans-Atlantic golf holiday.
Although Scotland is rightly considered to be the home of golf and the best place to look for world class links courses, Ireland has long been hot on its tail and now boasts arguably the finest collection of such courses outside of the home of golf. The Southwest of Ireland is the premier golf holiday destination in Ireland and as well as boasting an impressive array of stunning links courses it is also home to picturesque inland courses that are sure to get your golfing juices flowing.
The rugged coastline of County Kerry and County Claire is home to world class links courses including Lahinch, Doonbeg and the world famous Ballybunion as well as some lesser known but equally impressive hidden gems such as Tralee, Skellig Bay and Waterville.
As well as the stunning collection of links courses the Southwest is also home to some of the most beautiful inland layouts in the world. The three championship courses at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club are simply stunning and places like Adare Manor and Dromoland Castle offer a mixture of outstanding golf and world class accommodation.
With everything on offer in the Southwest of Ireland perhaps you will be heading to Counties Claire and Kerry on your next golf holiday.
The Northern region of France is a firm favourite with travelling golfers thanks to its impressive collection of top class golf courses including those at Le Touquet, Hardelot, Arras and Saint Omer which are widely regarded as some of the country’s finest golf courses.
The northern coastline is also famous for its fantastic beaches and vibrant nightlife making it popular for group golf holidays while charming fishing towns and settlements further inland offer something more relaxed for those after something more relaxing and peaceful.
Perhaps the biggest plus point to a golf holiday in this region is the option of using the Eurotunnel which, not only cuts the cost of travel, but also grants the travelling golfer more freedom and of course the ability to pack all the gear and golf clubs you could possibly need on a golf holiday; something that is noticeably absent when flying to your destination of choice.
South Africa & The Garden Route
South Africa has long been a popular holiday destination thanks to the allure of the stunning landscape, the world class accommodation and of course the chance to see the ‘Big Five’ on a safari. In recent years South Africa has also jumped on the golfing bandwagon and it has not taken long for it to become one of the very best golf holiday destinations in the world.
The stunning landscape across the whole of South Africa has lent itself to the creation of some of the finest and most visually stunning golf courses in the world. Sun City has long set the standard for golf resorts in South Africa and its two stunning golf courses are among the best in the world. More recently other world class golf resorts have come to the fore. If you head to the breathtaking Garden Route we recommend Fancourt where you will find three stunning golf courses including the amazing Links Course.
As you may imagine these two resorts have been heavily influenced by Gary Player who has long been a pioneer for golf in Africa. If the golfing riches at these two five star resorts are not enough for you then head north to the Legend Golf & Safari Resort. Here you will be treated to unique bush style accommodation in the form of a collection of luxury lodges while a couple of unique golfing experiences and of course the game drives await.
The golf course at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort has had each hole designed by a touring professional including the likes of Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia and to top it all off the Xtreme 19th is a golfing experience you will never forget.
St Andrews & Fife, Scotland
There are a number of golf holiday destinations across the world that are replete with world class golf courses, stunning landscapes and popular local attractions but none can challenge St Andrews & Fife as the top golf holiday destination in the world.
St Andrews is the spiritual home of golf and oozes golf from every pore. From the historic R&A to worlds famous golf courses including the St Andrews Old Course, St Andrews & Fife has it all. While St Andrews may draw most of the plaudits, the surrounding area including the Kingdom of Fife is also home to many other world class golf courses such as the mighty Kingsbarns and a few hidden gems including Crail and Lundin.
Not only are St Andrews & Fife home to an endless array of world class and historic golf courses but following recent developments there are now a fair share of outstanding hotels and resorts including the stunning Old Course Hotel and the ever impressive Fairmont St Andrews which also boasts its own two golf courses, the Kittocks and the Torrance.
All of the above is more than enough reason to embark on a golfing pilgrimage to Scotland but St Andrews & Fife have one more trick up their sleeve. The region is relatively central in relation to many other of Scottish golf’s more famous names meaning excursions to the likes of Turnberry, North Berwick and Gleneagles are perfectly manageable and highly recommended.
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