Updated 16/07/14: With Wimbledon and the World Cup done and dusted, it’s time for the next sporting event to take over our TV screens. Step forward The British Open Golf Championships, which kicks off tomorrow at the Royal Liverpool…
Tee times have been released, with pairings like Tiger Woods, Angel Cabrera and Henrik Stenson to look forward to. And if all this talk of teeing off has inspired you to hone your own skills on the golf course, take a look at our pick of the 5 best golfing destinations…
The Algarve is the leader of the pack when it comes to European golfing holidays. This scenic part of Portugal has it all – world-class courses, golf resorts with all the frills, and a climate that lends itself to days on the greens. There are more than 30 courses to choose from, including big names like San Lorenzo and Sir Henry Cotton’s Championship Golf Course. For a round with a view, you can’t beat Quinta da Ria. Set within the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, this 18-hole course is pulled up against the Atlantic Ocean and framed by vineyards, orange groves and ancient carob trees.
Stay at… The Pestana Vila Sol in Vilamoura. There’s an 18-hole championship golf course on-site, plus a 9-hole beginners’ course if you’re new to the game.
Nicknamed ‘Costa del Golf’ by its loyal fan base, the Sunshine Coast flies the Spanish flag for golfing breaks. It’s here you’ll find the country’s (and arguably the continent’s) number one course, Valderrama, which hosted the Ryder Cup back in 1997. Other popular courses include Real Club Las Brisas, which has been the venue for the Spanish Open a few times, and San Roque, where the holes are cleverly positioned in the same direction as the prevailing wind. Don’t worry if your handicap leaves a lot to be desired, either – there are loads of courses suited to the more casual golfer.
Stay at… the Hotel Balcon de Europa. Guests at this Nerja hotel get a 10% discount on green fees at the Baviera and Anoreta golf courses, both of which are within a half-hour drive. Other plus points here include a beachfront location and newly-refurbished rooms.
Florida excels at pretty much everything – and golf’s no exception. The Sunshine State boasts more than 1,200 courses, with lots in and around the Orlando area. Kissimmee’s golden child is the Celebration Golf Course, which was designed by renowned architects, Robert Trent Jones Senior and Junior. Hawk’s Landing Golf Course, near Lake Buena Vista, is another of Florida’s pole position courses. The Championship-standard fairways here spread out for 220 acres and are cocooned by queen palms, sand pines and southern magnolias.
Stay at… the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort. This place is right next door to Hawk’s Landing, so you can roll out of bed and onto the green. When you’re not pitching and putting, you’ve got 6 swimming pools and 10 restaurants – not to mention the whole of Orlando – to keep you busy.
If you’re looking for a holiday that provides as much après golf as actual golf, you can’t beat Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. Cancun offers the lion’s share of courses, most of which are within putting distance of shops, restaurants and bars. Check out the Cancun Golf Club at Pok ta Pok, where the Nichupté Lagoon provides a spectacular backdrop and Mayan ruins act as hazards. Further down the coast, the Riviera Maya Golf Club, which is ranked in the country’s top 5, winds through lush jungle and is accessorised with natural lakes.
Stay at… the RIU Caribe Mexico. It’s in a great location, right in the heart of Cancun’s main strip, which means you’re within easy access of all the area’s golf courses. You’re just footsteps from the Caribbean Sea, as well.
Gran Canaria is slowly but surely making a name for itself on the golfing circuit. Eight courses congregate around the coastline and, thanks to the island’s year-round sunshine and mild temperatures, you can enjoy them 365 days a year. You can’t beat Maspalomas Golf, which neighbours the island’s world-famous sand dunes. Size-wise, the Anfi Tauro Golf course, 20 kilometres from Playa del Ingles, is the biggie. Its 18 holes cover more than half a million square metres, and are overlooked by volcanic mountains.
Stay at… The Bungalows Cordial Sandy Golf – there are just 200 metres between you and the nearest golf course.
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Author: Samantha Shillabeer
Published: July 11, 2012
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