So many places, where will I start?
When it comes to choosing a location for your golfing trips, the world really is your oyster. Over the years so many more countries have caught the golfing bug and some of the newer venues are superb international standard golf facilities, built by some of the biggest names in the sport.
The venue that you choose obviously is dependent upon several factors; the main two being budget and timescale. There is no point spending two days on Airplanes to play two days of golf. If however your trip is to last a full week with two weekends, then there are not many places that are out of reach.
For any golf trip, do your homework and find the best venues for golf, accommodation and nightlife. Here are some amazing locations to whet your appetite:
1 – Scotland
For many this simply, is the home of golf and you will find good golf courses everywhere you go. Some of the finest courses in the world of course are here. The Old Course at St. Andrews makes a memorable location for any golf player. Walking in the spike marks of just about every famous player that has ever played the game, then enjoying a beer in ‘The Jigger Inn’ is for many the epitome of the game. However lets not forget Muirfield, near Edinburgh, The Ailsa links at Turnberry, Gleneagles in Perthshire or the wildness of Carnoustie in Angus. The famous courses just keep on coming and there are hundreds of other less famous but equally challenging ones.
2 – Portugal
For many Europeans the Algarve region of Portugal is the most popular destination for golfing holidays. Great courses coupled with glorious sunshine, make this a golfers dream. It is hard to believe that the first quality course was built as recently as 1966, when Henry Cotton planned and built his Penina course. Since then amazing courses have sprung up everywhere. The American built Quinta Do Lago is superb, Nick Faldo’s Oceanico, the Monte Rei and San Lorenzo courses and the famous and much lauded Palmares known as the “Jewel in the Crown of the Algarve”.
3 – America
From coast to coast you will find the most superb golf courses at every turn in the United States. Pine Valley in South West New Jersey is legendary. They don’t come any more famous nor picturesque than the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, home of the Masters for 80 years. Cypress Point is a delightful course woven through the cypress and sand dunes on the rugged coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Pebble Beach has some amazing holes perched atop steep cliffs, high above the foaming ocean. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw painstakingly searched over a thousand acres of rolling sand hills in central Nebraska and originally marked out 100 holes. They then slowly and carefully reduced this to 18 and The Sand Hills Golf Course was founded. There are however many hundreds more of world class courses in the States and the size of the country means that organisers of golfing trips need to look at which part of this golfing nation you want to visit.
4 – Southeast Asia
Not the first name on everyone’s lips when thinking of golf, but you really can do no better. Fabulous weather, amazing scenic beauty, Asian culture and some of the finest courses in the world make a heady combination. In recent years fabulous courses have sprung up in Thailand and in particular Vietnam, where a section of the country’s east coastline is now referred to as “The Golf Coast”. There are currently an amazing 65 courses under construction in Vietnam. At 3500 feet above sea level the Tam Dao Mountain dominates the wonderful Tam Dao Golf Resort, just 90 minutes from Hanoi. Built by Lee Trevino, the Dalat Palace Golf Course is known for it’s flawless bent grass conditions, the Montgomerie Links between Hoi An and Danang is superbly constructed in a wonderful location. Nick Faldo’s stunning Laguna Lang Cô Golf Club on the Central Coast.
In Thailand, golf has been growing rapidly for the last couple of decades. The Suwan Golf & Country Club and the Riverdale Golf Club are both located close to Bangkok. Whereas the seaside resorts of Hua Hin and Pattaya both have numerous excellent golfing facilities.
5 – South Africa
For many South Africa represents the finest golf location of them all. Beautiful scenery, amazing conditions and over 450 top courses make this a fabulous country in which to base any golf trip. Set on the very edge of Kruger National Park Leopard Creek is affectionately known as “The Wild Thing”. Also in touch with nature is the Arabella by Bot River Lagoon. Blair Atholl, at a staggering 8300 yards, is one of the longest courses in the world, whilst for fans of links golf the Fancourt is a uniquely challenging test for anyone. Probably the most famous course in the country is The Gary Player Country Club with its famous “Million Dollar Challenge” held every december.
These are just a few ideas for superb golf trips around the world. There are many more of course, but you cannot go wrong with these locations. A mixture of old and new, traditional and quirky, they represent all that is good and challenging in the game we all love.
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