Golf ranks highly among the sports which use Mother Nature as their playing field. Many sports are played in man-made stadiums and, while these can be impressive constructions, there is no stadium to rival some of the most picturesque places in the world which very often play host to golf course.
Even if you’re not blessed with golfing prowess, you can still take pleasure and enjoyment out of the game simply because of the surroundings you are in.
Every year there is a different list published in regards to the ‘best’ golf courses in the world. These lists can rank courses on difficulty, the course, the tradition and pedigree – many things are taken into consideration. And we have sought to do something similar, which means we take a look at five of the best luxury golf courses around the world.
Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand
On the east coast of the North Island this is a wonderfully dramatic course thanks to its location. On the grounds of a previous 5,000 acre sheep station some of the fairways are played out across a series of sharp, jagged ridges that appear to be fingers stretching into the Pacific Ocean.
With none of the beaches normally associated with link courses, the landscape is breath-taking and any wayward ball will take a full ten seconds to land in the water. Sweeping ravines, undulating fairways and tilting greens all combine for a unique golfing experience and on the coastal holes it feels like you really could be playing on the edge of the world.
Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s, Lancashire
An Open Championship course and, unlike the above, a true traditional links course. Go from watching it on TV to playing it with a luxury stay and a round on this course that oozes history from every tee. With harsh rough and harsher weather conditions this is not a course to be tackled lightly but if you’re a serious golfer then this course is a must – if for nothing other than being able to say you’ve stood on the same ground as the games greats.
Pebble Beach, US
This course is quite rare for a ‘top course’ in the US – it is open to anyone who pays the green fees. Many, like Augusta and Pine Valley to name but two, are exclusive and admittance is strictly regulated. When someone like Jack Nicklaus says that given the chance to play only one more round, he would play it here, then you know this course is really very good indeed.
Constructed almost 100 years ago, the course tracks the shore of the Pacific coast and offers all round panoramic ocean views. With water hazards on holes five through to eight it is these holes that make this golf course truly one of the greats.
Leopard Creek, SA
With more than 200 species of birds coupled with baboons, crocodiles, giraffes and warthogs which use this course as their home, this is golf on the wild side. The range of wildlife found is thanks to the fact the course is created on the edge of the Kruger National Park. The highlights of the course are the two longest holes, the two par fives. The fourth is 600 yards long and sits above the adptly named Crocodile River. The 18th is the other par five and offers an island green which seems to shrink as the sunsets.
Green Monkey, Barbados
A relatively new course and certainly, one of the best names. It offers a total yardage of 7,400 across table top scenery. It is as the halfway mark that the course really makes it mark as the ninth hole offers a par five with a 100ft drop into a quarry. From then on you’re playing some wonderfully constructed holes including the famed 16th hole which has a green in the shape of, yes – a monkey.