Walking to work this morning it suddenly dawned on me that the days are already growing noticeably longer and dare I say it warmer. This got me thinking it was about time I booked my first golf break of 2012 and although I look forward to the delights of summer golf I will certainly miss the outstanding deals on offer during the low season. I wondered then, if there were any golf break offers that would see me hitting the fairways of some of the UK and Ireland’s finest golf courses for less over the next couple of months. Here are the top 10 golf break offers that are ending soon…book now to save bundles!
Sitting proudly above its two fabulous golf courses, and facing back towards the famous St Andrews skyline, the hotel at Fairmont St Andrews is a true 5* venue. Add to that two world class golf courses and you have one of the very best golf break destinations in the UK.
The courses were designed by Bruce Devlin and Ryder Cup legend Sam Torrance and while they are by the sea and have links-like features, strictly speaking they are not true links courses. They are however two of the most dramatic tests of golf in Scotland. Perched on the cliffs above St Andrews Bay, both courses feature undulating fairways, thick fescue rough and devilish bunkers that simply must be avoided in order to score well. Each course also boast stretches of holes that sit dramatically close to the cliffs edge. Golfers of all abilities will no doubt be thrilled by the challenge of these quite unique golf courses.
1 night B&B + 2 rounds of golf – £114 – Valid until 31st March
There can be few golfing venues that rival Hawkstone Park’s setting; the two on-site championship courses and the academy layout are nestled in a Grade 1 English landscape, next to the ruins of a medieval castle and the stunning cliffs of the Follies. Exploring the 18th century Hawkstone Follies is a treat in itself; the fantasyland of cliffs, crags, caves, woodland, and ancient monuments has been awarded Grade 1 certification by the English Heritage organisation and perfectly complement the two fantastic golf courses and the famed Hawkstone Restaurant which is a must when you’re in the mood for a spot of Sunday Lunch.
2 nights Dinner, B&B + 3 rounds of golf – £150 – Valid until 31st March
Situated within half an hour of Aberdeen and the city’s airport, the Inchmarlo Resort and Golf Centre is one of the North East’s premier golfing destinations, and is a unique place to begin an exploration of this charming corner of Scotland.
Boasting a superb 27-hole golfing complex, including the stunning Laird’s Course and the picturesque 9-hole Queen’s, and a collection of luxury apartments and villas, Inchmarlo has plenty to offer the travelling golfer. The Laird’s Course has been called a ‘highland treasure’, and had the honour of Best New British Course bestowed upon it upon opening in 2001. Nestled in the foothills of the Grampians, the Laird’s Course epitomizes golf in the north east of Scotland. Tree-lined fairways, secluded greens, sweeping undulations and the ubiquitous Royal Deeside scenery combine to create a truly memorable playing experience.
1 night Dinner, B&B + Unlimited rounds of golf – £95 – Valid until 23rd March
The Belfry needs no introduction. A championship venue famed for its Ryder Cup history, The Belfry is one of the premier golf break destinations in England. Although the famous Brabazon Course is the main attraction, this famous West Midlands resort has plenty more to offer including two additional championship courses – the Derby and PGA National – and an outstanding resort hotel that boasts leisure facilities of the highest order; not to mention outstanding restaurants, bars and even its very own nightclub. Book a golf break here and you can relive famous Ryder Cup moments on holes including the revered 10th and 18th holes on the Brabazon. Just don’t do a McGinley on the 18th! We hear they aren’t fond of dripping wet golfers in the clubhouse!
1 night B&B + 1 round of golf (Brabazon Course) – £99 – Valid until 30th April
Already a championship venue of international repute, The K Club’s profile was boosted in 2006 as it hosted the Ryder Cup matches where Europe equalled their record points victory in emotional circumstances following the heroics from Darren Clarke shortly after the passing of his wife.
With two stunning championship golf courses, five star luxury and a fantastic location just a short drive from Dublin, The K Club is a must for any golfer embarking on an Irish golf break. For those who enjoy a challenge, the Palmer Course has been tipped by many as the most difficult inland layout on the Emerald Isle.
1 night B&B + 1 round of golf – £109 – Valid until 31st March
The Forest of Arden is among the most highly regarded golf resorts in the UK, with two superb golf courses and fantastic hotel facilities.
The Arden Course is one of the country’s most established tournament layouts, having hosted the cream of the European Tour for the British Masters from 1997-1999 and in 2003, and the English Open from 2000-2002. This is indicative of the quality of the course, which has some truly distinctive holes, especially the 18th, an exacting par-3 that demands total focus at the end of your round.
The Aylesford Course is considerably shorter than its prestigious neighbour, but the expert attention of the green keepers ensures that it remains in equally immaculate condition. This charming little course adds good variety to the Forest of Arden’s repertoire, and emphasises the quality of a golf break at the resort.
1 night Dinner, B&B + 2 rounds of golf – £136 – Valid until 31st March
Forest Pines is a relatively young golf course having only been opened for play in 1996 but since then it has forged a reputation as a genuine championship venue that will delight professionals and us weekend hackers alike. As the name would suggest holes have been carved out of mature pine forests meaning accuracy is the order of the day. Each hole feels secluded from the rest of the course which adds a sense of drama to each and every shot.
With the recent completion of the £10 million refurbishment plan, the hotel and resort facilities at Forest Pines are now a match for the outstanding golf course – the complete package for a fantastic golf break.
1 night Dinner, B&B + 2 rounds of golf – £99 – Valid until 31st March
Old Thorns Manor is one of England’s most picturesque country-house-style hotels, and offers luxury accommodation, relaxing spa facilities, fantastic cuisine and an outstanding 18-hole championship golf course that was designed by the BBC’s ‘voice of golf’ and club president, Peter Allis.
Allis laid the course out across the rolling hills of the North Hampshire countryside and the result couldn’t be more spectacular. Boasting stunning views at every turn, there are a number of standout holes including the par 4 5th which plays from a dramatic elevated tee down to the heavily protected fairway and onto the green which sits perilously close to a menacing water hazard. Elevation changes and sweeping undulations are the main features of this remarkable course which epitomises English woodland golf.
1 night Dinner, B&B + Unlimited rounds of golf – £99 – Valid until 31st March
Celtic Manor has long been one of the premier golf break destinations in the UK. Boasting an outstanding five star hotel chock full of fantastic leisure facilities, restaurants and bars; time spent away from the three championship golf courses can be as fun filled or relaxing as you choose.
The Roman Road was the resort’s first course, opened in 1995, and was then ranked as Wales’ best inland layout. Robert Trent Jones had to build around the many ancient Roman roads that traverse the land, and his work was so good that it played host to the Welsh Open in 2005 and 2006.
The recently opened Montgomerie Course has been built using the land that formerly hosted the Coldra academy course, and Monty has used some of the original holes from the former Wentwood Hills Course, which played host to the Welsh Open from 2000 to 2004. The hilly layout will be a challenge for the best ball-strikers, and is a welcome addition to the Celtic Manor’s golfing repertoire.
The undeniable jewel in Celtic Manor’s crown though is the Twenty Ten Course which, as you will surely know, hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup and is the only purpose built course with the biennial match between the USA and Europe in mind. Isolated from the rest of the resort, a round on the Twenty Ten is a truly memorable experience that is punctuated by first class service upon arrival and a monstrous closing hole that will test the mettle of even the most talented of players.
1 night B&B + 2 rounds of golf – £89 – Valid until 30th April
Endorsed by Rory McIlroy and set to establish itself as one of Europe’s ‘must play’ destinations, Lough Erne is one of the most exciting new venues in Europe and an outstanding destination for a five star golf break in Northern Ireland. The lakes of County Fermanagh set an unrivalled natural scene for a unique property, with golf, leisure and accommodation of the highest order.
Carved through mature woodland and then expanding along the lake shores is the Faldo Championship Course. The six time major winner’s course is majestic sight and a daunting test. Distinctive par-3s and phenomenal long driving holes are among the highlights of this course which is one of the brightest new stars on the European golf scene.
The luxurious, five star hotel reflects the quality of the golf on offer at Lough Erne. The high class country house style is complemented perfectly by outstanding facilities and amenities to create one of the most desirable destinations in Ireland. Look out for the innovative grazing menu in the Blaney Bar and elegant fine dining in the Catalina restaurant.
1 night B&B + 2 rounds of golf – £135 – Valid until 31st of March
For information on UK golf breaks and Irish golf holidays please visit www.yourgolftravel.com or call free on 0800 043 6644.