New Horizons: 5 Great Golf Travel Destinations
Ask any golfer about a dream golf trip and, typically, Scotland and Ireland quickly dominate the conversation. These bastions of golf provide some of the world’s most treasured golf experiences.
For those who want to broaden their horizons and venture to other parts of the world, there are several enticing locales that offer spectacular courses and scenery and a plethora of off-the-course activities and pursuits. If you’re looking for ideas for your next adventurous golf excursion, here are five great suggestions:
1. New Zealand — With jaw dropping scenery, long stretches of coast and soaring mountains, New Zealand’s amazing natural terrain has spawned several fabulous places to tee up. You’ll play on cliff top beauties on the North Island like Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers and courses on the South Island like Millbrook, The Hills and Jack’s Point that are framed by spectacular mountain ranges. Chances are, you might already be familiar with New Zealand’s beauty if you watched the movie series, The Lord of The Rings, which was filmed in this country located about 1,400 miles southeast of Australia.
2. Canada — Often overlooked when golf vacation destinations are mentioned, Canada has a plethora of golf vacation opportunities. From high-profile layouts in the west like Banff Springs and Jasper Park to award-winning courses in the east like Cabot Links and Royal Montreal, Canada has excellent golf in pristine, unmatched settings. The big news in Canada is the upcoming July 2015 debut of Cabot Cliffs, the sister layout to the heralded Cabot Links in Nova Scotia. Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the Cliffs will encompass rolling coastal dunes, soaring jagged cliffs and Atlantic Ocean views.
3. Wales — Home to the 2010 Ryder Cup matches at Celtic Manor Resort near Newport, Wales, with its more than 170 golf courses and 400 castles, is a truly exciting golf destination. Part of the U.K, Wales is bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its West. Great courses to play include Royal Porthcawl, the seaside gem on the Bristol Channel; Pennard, which sits 2,000 feet above sea level with views over Three Cliffs Bay; and the 2010 Course (where the Ryder Cup was played) at Celtic Manor Resort. Off-the-courses, visitors can enjoy the beautiful capital city of Cardiff, where rugby games, shopping and tours of the Cardiff Castle are popular pursuits.
4. Portugal — Stunning postcard-like settings, superbly designed golf courses, exceptional cuisine and fine wines are just a few of the many reasons Portugal attracts golf travelers. The Algarve, a spectacular 250-mile long coastline, is home to most of Portugal’s more than 50 golf courses. Stretching along Portugal’s southern coast, the Algarve has some of the most photogenic beaches in the world, a series of quiet, sandy coves framed by turquoise water and broken up by reddish cliffs and sandstone rocks. Inland, the coastal plains are dotted with fig, olive and eucalyptus trees. When you place more than 20 golf courses amidst this awesome backdrop, you’ve instantly created one of the most desirable places in the world to tee up. The majestic terrain has attracted an impressive lineup of course designers, including Robert Trent Jones Jr., Joe Lee, Ronald Fream and Rocky Roquemore.
5. Spain — Great Spanish golfers like Sergio Garcia and Seve Ballesteros have brought enhanced attention to golf in Spain, which hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama. There are more than 300 golf courses in this country, which is brimming with amazing architecture, spectacular beaches and exceptional cuisine and wine. Big name courses like Sotogrande, San Roque and PGA Catalunya are world-class layouts that should be on any intrepid golf traveler’s must play list.