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 a 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. We take a look at some of the most high ranking, world-class golf getaways 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 game’s 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 aptly named Crocodile River. The 18th is the other par five and offers an island green which seems to shrink as the sunsets.
A five-night golf getaway for two in South Africa at Leopard Creek and Durban Country Club sounds like a dream. Besides going to both country clubs for a round of golf, a safari at Kruger National Park and a seven-course tasting menu dinner at 9th Avenue Bistro are included.
Green Monkey, Barbados
A relatively new course and certainly, one of the best names. It offers a total yardage of 7,400 across tabletop 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.
Argentario Resort Golf and Spa, Tuscany
Located in Porto Ercole, Tuscany, Italy, and only an hour and a half away from the Rome International Airport. The stunning resort is surrounded by century-old olive trees, while the 73 rooms and suites are all designed by Andrea Fogli and overlook the 18-hole golf course, greenery, lagoon and organic vegetable garden. The respected Baldoviso Dassù and architect David Mezzacane are behind the design of the course.
Kahala Hotel and Resort, Hawaii
This dreamy golf getaway is in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, and only 15 minutes away from Waikiki and all its shopping and entertainment. The hotel is on a beachfront, and the view consists of the Koko Head, Dolphin Lagoon and Diamond Head mountains providing the golf course’s backdrop. After a round or two, you can relax at the hotel’s spa. There are 306 stylish rooms,with 32 luxurious suites. When visiting this resort, you will be able to see a lagoon with dolphins, turtles, tropical fish and a romantic waterfall.
In Marrakech, Morroco, you can enjoy the Amelkis Golf Club’s picturesque courses. At Amanjena, you will be in view of the High Atlas Mountains; the highest range in North Africa. There are 34 pavilions and seven residences. Each pavilion has its own courtyard, pillared minzah and fountain. Not only will you be enjoying the sport of golf, but you will live like royalty while doing it. King-sized beds, open fireplaces and domed ceilings all await you after your time on the fairway as part of this Moroccan-themed getaway.
Keswick Hall, Charlottesville
Charlottesville, Virginia has a glorious hall and golf club. Keswick Hall is on 600 acres in historic hunt and wine country. Forty-eight guest rooms grace this resort where golf, tennis, swimming, croquet and trails are available for guests. A vineyard, garden and spa are further attractions at Keswick and, if you wish to go offsite, there is wine tasting, tours and clay shooting to enjoy. For the golf lover, there is the 18-hole Full Cry course, designed by Pete Dye. Mere words cannot do the course justice.
If those places don’t tempt you to grab your clubs and hail your caddy, perhaps something in the heart of golf country will. One of the most famous courses in the world, the Open Championship venue at Muirfield Golf Club, makes for a complete golf getaway. A private luxury car will take you, and three others, between Edinburgh and Muirfield. You can play foursomes golf in the morning, and fourballs golf in the afternoon.
With so many fantastic golf courses around the world, it’s a good idea to venture out from your local golf club. Teeing off from a bucket-list golf course will leave you feeling inspired, confident and ready to celebrate those hole-in-ones.
Tom’s travel writings are a testament to his insatiable curiosity and love for the road less traveled. Eschewing the typical tourist spots, Tom has built a reputation for uncovering hidden gems known only to locals.
From secluded mountain villages in the Himalayas to untouched beaches in the South Pacific, his adventures have taken him to the world’s most undiscovered corners.