Close to home, Cape Kidnappers on the North Island of New Zealand is beautiful as well as challenging. The vast blue ocean and majestic cliff face views offer a stunning backdrop to the 18-hole course. This US-owned course was designed by Tom Doak for golfers of all skill levels.
The turf is well-maintained and the greens are difficult but fair, however, watch for balls rolling off the smooth surface on occasion. Plus golfing is not the only attraction – Cape Kidnappers offers a relaxing spa lodge and a variety of walking trails, as well as food and wine tours.
The iconic St. Andrews Golf Course in Scotland is embedded in golfing history. Having held the Open Championships 28 times since 1873, the Old Course at St. Andrews is recognised as the ‘home of golf’. Walk the greens played by legends such as Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Have a photo snapped on the famed 700-year-old Swilcan Bridge, take in the view of the expansive double greens, and watch out for Hell Bunker – at 10ft deep, it is not an easy route out! Like Cape Kidnappers, St. Andrews hosts a variety of golfing alternatives ranging from clubhouse dining overlooking the bay, to guided walks of the Old Course.
Another historic club well worth a visit is the Sunningdale Golf Club in the British Isles. The beautiful greens of the Old and New Course have longstanding reputations as some of the most enjoyable and pleasurable courses on which to play. The Old Course is ranked second in England’s Top 100 Golf Courses by Golf World, and is often compared to Augusta National.
Lightning fast greens and deep bunkers, first class changing facilities, bar and restaurant as well as attentive and expert staff, make for an unforgettable day. Similar to Cape Kidnappers, the green fees at Sunningdale are on the higher side, but for a course of this quality are good value for money.
Some would describe Royal County Down as an eccentric but charming experience due to its beautiful location, numerous blind drives, and tricky bunkers rimmed with coarse grass. The course is in Northern Ireland, home to some of the world’s greatest and most iconic golf links, and features manicured greens amid rolling hills and views of the beautiful Mourne Mountains.
The golf is superb, rewarding good shots and definitely penalising poor ones. We recommend that you get a caddy, not just for the blind drives, but for the local knowledge and blarney!
The rugged dunes and coarse grass skirting some of the bunkers makes for an unpredictable but enjoyable game. Royal County Down Golf Course is a must-do.
Bandon Crossings Golf Course in Oregon in the United States should be high on the list for all golfers. Named one of the 10 Best New Golf Courses in 2007 by GOLF Magazine, the quality at Bandon Crossings makes up for what it lacks in history. Considered to be the favourite hidden gem of PGA professionals, the immaculate layout of Bandon Crossings adds to the allure.
The course is well thought-out and well maintained, shaped from the antique sand dunes of the Oregon Coast. The course is walkable, the fairways groomed and spacious and the bunkers many and deep. It’s a pleasant change of pace from the better known courses in the area, such as Bandon Dunes, with usually less wind – a more secluded but high-quality destination for an enjoyable day.
Looking for a more quirky golfing experience? Leopard Creek Golf Course in South Africa should be your first stop. The course combines golf and safari as Leopard Creek backs onto a well-known game reserve, Kruger Park. Its championship layout designed by Gary Player makes for a wonderful and exciting game of golf.
While the course has been expertly created to naturally separate it from wild animals, sightings of giraffes, elephants, hippos and even crocodiles are not unusual. Leopard Creek Golf Course provides an unforgettable golfing experience in an idyllic setting.
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