Just like a top end timepiece, golf is a discipline that requires precision, endurance and a little bit of flair. It’s a game full of diversity, with a vast range of courses and resorts in the UK and around the world that challenge you to improve your game. But these places aren’t just the best arenas for the sport, they’re also fantastic holiday destinations in their own right with awe inspiring scenery and sumptuous luxury on hand. Let’s have a look at ten of the best golfing destinations at home and away that are equally good on the fairway as they are off of it.
Growing up in the UK, chances are high that you weren’t that far from your nearest golf course; from quaint village courses to inner city innovations, great clubs and resorts can be found everywhere. So to become one of the best resorts in the country, they have to reach a level of excellence that few can match. Here are some that have succeeded.
Gleneagles, Perthshire, Scotland
Scotland is the home of golf so it’s little wonder that it’s also home to one of the most historic and regarded courses in the world, Gleneagles. The resort has a five-star hotel with every facility you could imagine and when it’s time to head to the fairway you have three to choose from: PGA Centenary, King’s and Queen’s. With the resort’s Tee It Up offer you can book a night’s stay and a round of golf on any of the three courses for £625, but for a regal feel we recommend King’s.
More details at Gleneagles.
Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire, England
Stoke Park not only sports a great course and clubhouse but is also familiar with film fans the world over, being only five miles from Pinewood studios. The Georgian mansion was the site of James Bond and Goldfinger’s infamous confrontation, and they even took time to tee up there as well. When the gentleman spy gives a place his approval, the luxury experience is all but guaranteed. The modern Pavilion boasts a top-notch spa with an Italian marble steam room, the likes of which Bond often found himself in, as well as 60 fitness classes per week.
More details at Stoke Park.
The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England
When it comes to Golfing history, one of the landmark courses has to be the Brabazon at The Belfry in Warwickshire. It has hosted the Ryder Cup more times than any other course worldwide, giving it a legendary status thanks to plays like Sam Torrance’s putt to win the competition for Europe in 1985. The Cup is part of The Belfry’s DNA, giving its name to The Ryder Grill – one of the resort’s restaurants, where you can find locally sourced food of the highest quality including steak, chargrill, fish and, of course, Sunday dinners.
More details at The Belfry.
Bovey Castle, Dartmoor National Park, England
Set in the idyllic surroundings of Dartmoor National Park, Bovey Castle’s championship course offers a challenging round of golf for players of any handicap. If you decide to stay the night you can book a room inside the castle itself with views over the countryside and courtyard – the building has a neo-Elizabethan design that’s lavish and comfortable. By staying in the castle hotel you’ll have access to the indoor pool, spa and gym as well as being able to book Afternoon Tea at the Great Western Restaurant, which includes Devon specialties such as cream and scones.
More details at Bovey Castle.
Moor Park, Hertfordshire, England
Moor Park is home to one of the most ostentatious and luxury filled clubhouses in the UK; the Mansion that dominates the landscape is Grade 1 listed and absolutely full of jaw dropping artworks and furniture. The course itself is also jaw dropping, nestled into the rolling landscape of Hertfordshire. Becoming a member is worth considering with seven day access to the Mansion clubhouse and preferential rates for the two golf courses designed by Harry Colt, as well as at 47 other Colt designed courses.
More details at Moor Park.
Rest of Europe
While golf may have been born in the UK, over the years it has cemented itself a strong position as an international sport, meaning there are many amazing golf resorts to be found around and outside the UK. While we can’t just pop over to them for a quick round, a visit to any of these places is sure to create some of your favourite golfing memories.
Adare Manor, Limerick, Republic of Ireland
Hopping across the Irish Sea you can find Adare Manor, which features one of the most technologically advanced courses in the UK or Ireland, with a SubAir Aeration system built into the course to ensure perfect conditions. After your game you can relax at the award-winning Carriage House restaurant which radiates Irish charm and simple comfort, serving locally sourced produce such as Dublin Bay prawns and Irish beef, expertly cooked. It’s a refined establishment with Art-Deco stylings ideal for an evening tipple while exchanging stories from the green.
More details at Adare Manor.
Terme di Saturnia, Italy
The golf course at Terme di Saturnia in Italy is GEO certified, meaning it exists in harmony with the natural wildlife that lives alongside the fairways. The result is a rustic course that’s breathtakingly beautiful, emphasising the Tuscan landscape and environment, including the natural hot springs. You can even enjoy a swim in the hot springs at the hotel, which has natural health benefits such as boosting your body’s antioxidants and exfoliating the skin, a fact that means it is used as an active ingredient in skin treatments. Healthy and environmentally friendly? Sounds like a hole-in-one.
More details at Terme di Saturnia.
Terre Blanche, Provence Côte d’Azur, France
Terre Blanche is one of the most acclaimed golf resorts in continental Europe, with two championship courses located within striking distance of the south coast of France. Surrounding the courses is a gorgeous forest, making them seem secluded and the perfect spot to get away from it all. You can stay in the five-star hotel or their suites and villas with residential options. The two courses reward precision, making them staple ports of call for tournaments like the Ladies European Tour Access. La Roue in particular hosts the first stage of that competition every year.
More details at Terre Blanche.
Pärnu Bay Golf Links, Pärnumaa, Estonia
Pärnu Bay is a major player in putting the Baltic region on the golf map, set on the absolutely gorgeous coastline of Estonia. The way the course has been designed makes it feel like a natural part of the environment; a combination of sandy dunes and pools of water that are not only beautiful but also offer challenging gameplay. There is also a multi-award winning clubhouse that offers a 360° view of the course and the sea as well as being equipped with a pro shop and refreshment facilities. The Eagle restaurant offers a selection of local goods and seafood with a distinctly Nordic twist.
More details at Pärnu Bay Golf.