Golf popularity is on the rise. Now more than ever, people want to get out to enjoy fresh air, visit beautiful open spaces and spend time with friends whilst social distancing. Golf allows all of those things and more. But why follow the crowds? Forget the most popular golf courses, here’s our first-hand experience at some quirky, unusual golf destinations.
Now that travelling is soon back on the cards, it is time to head off the beaten track and enjoy your not-so-typical golf break. Some of Team YGT tell you the most quirky, unusual golf destinations we have been to. Epic golf experiences await.
I’m 99% sure I have been the furthest of anyone at YGT in playing at Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand! One of my most memorable days on a golf course is at Cape Kidnappers as it is every bit as “wow” as the pictures you’ve seen. The wind wasn’t blowing much at all during my round, but even so it was a challenge and a very tough test. New Zealanders have a great wine culture too and I loved sampling some of the amazing wine selection after my round. The ‘Church Road Gimblett Gravels’ is grown and made within a short drive of the course, so seemed the prefect way to end a fantastic day of golf!
~ Oliver Gunning, Marketing Team
The best golfing moment at Your Golf Travel has to be stepping off the back of the Par 5 13th hole at Leopard Creek Country Club in Kruger National Park and seeing a herd of elephants roaming along the edge of the Crocodile River. In fact, my whole South African experience was out of this world.
From South Africa, we drove over the border to a very unusual golf destination. Drakensberg is essentially the border between South Africa and the mountains Lesotho and is where Champagne Sports Resort is found. It’s hard to describe this place and do it justice, so give the vlog a watch!
~Richard Tidman, Head of YGT Select
I know you’re thinking that Florida isn’t an unusual destination for golfers, and you’re right. But Streamsong is like nothing else in the area. Most golf courses in Florida are very similar to each other because of the land they are built on; they’re very man made. Whereas Streamsong feels more like a natural links style course. Something similar to you’d find here in the UK. This could be down to the location as it’s in the swamps.
If you look at photos here compared to other courses in Florida you’ll know exactly what I mean. Streamsong is varied and dynamic and as they say variety is the spice of life. The resort has 3 courses which are rated in the Top 100 courses and for me, the hype was justifiable.
~ Gareth Llewellyn, Golf Travel Regional Manager
The view of locals in Sydney is that as you head South along the coast from the city, the coastal courses get better and better culminating in New South Wales Golf Club…it’s hard to disagree! You’ll be hard pressed to find a more varied course. The mix of inland and coastal holes with an ever changing wind make for quite the test. It’s located at Botany Bay, Captain Cook’s first landing point in Australia so holds some historical significance too. Look out for ‘Captain Cook’s Watering Hole’ on the 17th tee! If you’re looking for a warm up game in the area check out The Coast Golf Club.
~ Richard VandePutte, Golf Travel Team Manager
California is renowned for its variety of holiday activity options and that certainly extends to the golf. If you’re on a road trip between some of the great tours we have in San Francisco and Las Vegas try this for a quirky way to break up the journey… Located in Death Valley is the World’s lowest golf course, Furnace Creek (215 ft below sea level) which required a 6am tee time before it got too hot! We were advised to hit 1 club length more on every shot because of the heat and slightly thicker. This does take some getting your head round.
Not content with just 18 holes in a day, that afternoon we drove 3 hours to Sierra Star Golf course. This is the highest course in California (8000 ft above sea level). Here on arrival we were told to hit 1 or 2 clubs less because of the thinner air…..they weren’t joking as I found out watching my 2nd shot on the 1st sail 50 yards over the green!
Richard VandePutte, Golf Travel Team Manager
I visited Argentina a few times on a family holiday to visit my sister who was working in a cattle ranch. The holiday was a mixture of riding horses, camping in the mountains and playing an incredible Jack Nicklaus course. It was in the middle of one of the most beautiful places on the planet, so remote you just wouldn’t expect to find a top class championship golf course here. Nicklaus did something really special when creating Chapelco Golf Course.
Argentina is a country I’d love to explore more of, with top courses such as Olivos Golf Club (the number ranked course in the country) being top of my list along with Alister MacKenzie’s The Jockey Club. Obviously eating the best steak and drinking a beautiful bottle of Malbec after a round makes this my sort of holiday.
~ ‘YGT Rory’ Anderson, Digital Content Creator
Okay, now we know Turkey isn’t exactly an unusual golf destination. Butttt Night Golf is a completely different golf experience and super fun to try, so we thought it deserved a place in this blog. See how YGT Rory and some of Team YGT got on a Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek under the floodlights.
We hope you’re feeling inspired for your next golf holiday, wherever it might be! Will you head one of these unusual golf destinations? Whichever holiday you’re in the mood for, let our experts above help.
Call free on 0800 043 6644
There are a number of sports that go hand in hand and one of the more popular combinations is Golf and Horse Racing. Both offer an experience in the great outdoors (unless it is raining of course – that’s when you hit the bar/club house) and many racing and golf professionals take part in both as a hobby and pastime… it’s a sporting match made in heaven.
There are numerous golf courses and racecourses around the UK, but why limit yourself to what is on offer on your doorstep. Head further afield to explore some of the world’s best golf courses alongside some epic racing events. From Cheltenham Festival to the Dubai World Cup, there is something for all golf and racing fans. Our sister company Racing Breaks, are the best in the business to ensure you get the best of both worlds…
The four-day festival exudes a buzz like no other and attracts avid racing fans from all over the UK, Ireland, and beyond. This is a sporting event like no other where champions and legends are made and dreams are broken. There’s fierce competition between the best horses, trainers and jockeys.
Racing Breaks offer an array of packages to suit all of your needs for attending The Festival. What better way to top off a day at The Festival with your friends, than with a round of golf on the Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor or the Brabazon course at the Belfry. This is certainly up there as the best golf and horse racing break. Packages start from just £209pp;
There are a number of hotel and package options that can be tailored to suit you and your specific requirements for the ultimate golf and horse racing experience.
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The Dubai World Cup is the perfect Racing Break for anyone wanting to experience the splendour that Dubai is so well known for. Enjoy the richest race day in the world taking centre stage and the chance to add a round of golf or two at some of the world’s best golf courses too.
Pick from a number of courses and play at any time of day…or night, as most golf courses are floodlit, offering night golf. Some favourites are the Els Club; renowned as one of the finest in the Middle East, Emirates Golf Club and the Dubai Creek which overlooks the historical stretch of water around which Dubai was built.
Don’t you think that a round of golf that is almost guaranteed warmth, sunshine, immaculately manicured greens and stunning suburban surroundings sounds like heaven? We certainly do!
For more information on Dubai World Cup Golf packages click here >>
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The Grand National is the nation’s favourite race and one that attracts many spectators from all over. Unfortunately this year’s event was cancelled, like many others around the world, and so next year will be all the more worthwhile! The nation eagerly awaits the return of Tiger Roll in his bid to make history with a third win of the Grand National.
Racing Breaks offer packages starting from £129pp which include all you need to enjoy a day out at your chosen day. Treat yourself and make more of your racing break, by staying at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club. It is the perfect place to unwind and rejuvenate before a round of golf the following day. Situated on the outskirts of Aintree, this hotel offers a tranquil escape amidst 200 acres of scenic parkland.
Worsley Park Golf Club welcomes golfers of all skill and experience levels with an 18-hole championship course, a driving range and a putting green.
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The richest race in Europe is set against the backdrop of one of the most iconic city skylines of the world, Paris. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is an extremely popular race amongst British racing fans, with many making the journey across the channel every year. Enjoy the spectacle of the top Group 1 thoroughbreds from around Europe, competing for the €4 million prize money.
What better occasion to tie in a visit to a former Ryder Cup host… Le Golf National. Racing Breaks offer this golf and racing package for £799 per person and it is worth every penny!
If you’re visiting Paris, a round on this course is a must.
For more information on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Golf packages click here>>
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Women’s professional golf here in the UK was on a bit of a back foot, with tournaments (Ladies European Tour) not due to re-start until August. With this in mind, Liz Young (LET player) put together a one-day event at Brokenhurst Manor in the New Forest. Each player would pay into the pot which would become the prize fund.
The tournament was lacking support and sponsorship. Justin Rose and his wife Kate heard about it and wanted to bring it into the spotlight, to help highlight women’s golf. He turned the event into the ‘Rose Ladies Series’, with 9 courses in total now hosting one-day tournaments. Rose is also offering a prize fund and helped bring American Golf on an official sponsor.
We chatted to former Ladies European Tour player, now coach/presenter, Sophie Walker to get the lowdown on the events.
“There are 48 members of the LET that are English and its embarrassing going on tour. Spain has a couple of events, Australia have a few events, England had nothing. Yet look at all the Solheim Cup Players we have.”
“It’s all that the women want. They practice as hard as the men, their travel expenses cost as much as the men, they’ve got that competitive edge. We do exactly the same, except the men get more opportunity to play.”
As you can see from the list of courses above, many of the host venues are based in Hampshire, where Rose played county golf.
“Justin is from Hampshire and I can imagine him thinking about all the courses he used to play. He had the course record at Brokenhurst, he played a lot of these great courses as an amateur. He was probably thinking ‘I remember Bearwood Lakes and how good Moor Park was’. Him getting behind it with Kate was significant, as Liz was struggling to get sponsorship for even one event”
The events are set to be covered by Sky Sports and the news of the venues to host the final have been announced as Wentworth and The Berkshire. The Rose Ladies Series is the first ever professional Women’s event to be hosted at Wentworth’s West Course! This is super exciting for the ladies game.
If reading about the game we all love has got you itching for a round, let us help you get something organised.
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Since 1966 when Sir Henry Cotton laid down his amazing Penina Championship Course, the Algarve in Portugal has become synonymous with golf thanks to the fact that it now boasts countless top class courses, luxury resorts & hotels, as well as a number of tourist hotspots that perfectly combine Portuguese culture with a few comforts of home, making them ideal for an evening meal or a night of revelry out on the town after a long day’s golf.
While the party atmosphere isn’t for everyone, the Algarve enjoys an undeniably beautiful setting so with breathtaking cliffs, golden sandy beaches and secluded bays with waves lapping at the shore, there is plenty of exploring to do during your time away from the golf course. Away from the luxurious resorts where you’ll be based on your golf holidays, you can also explore peaceful castle towns, flower-covered hillsides and amazing stretches of shoreline.
With an enviable climate – generally you can enjoy warm, t-shirt friendly weather here all year round – as well as a relatively short journey from the UK where flights from London to Faro will see you go gate to gate, touching down and disembarking in the Algarve in less than three hours, getting here is easier than you might think.
Faro, well serviced from most major airports, is the starting point for your Algarve golf holiday, and it’s within an hour of almost all the most attractive destinations, adding a lovely slice of convenience to a golf holiday here. Effectively, you could leave home in the morning and be on the 1st tee of your golf course of choice by lunch time that same day. Thinking about it, I’ve taken longer to travel to play golf within the UK…it really is that easy!
Now…the Algarve might not be the largest land mass when it comes to…well land masses – you can drive from the Atlantic coastline to the border of Spain in just less than two hours – but when it comes to choosing where to head on your next Algarve Golf Holiday, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming to the uninitiated.
So let us break it down for you. There are three regions within the Algarve, the East, Central and West regions. Each is home to a number of excellent golf courses, resorts and hotels, not to mention attractions that you may wish to explore when you’re not playing golf. To make the decision making process when to comes to where exactly to head in the Algarve a little easier for you, here’s a snapshot of each region, including golf courses to keep an eye out for, and what else there is to do and see…
Central Algarve is where the bulk of the golfing action is centred.
The Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo Resorts are among the best in Europe and offer three and two glorious golf courses respectively. Quinta do Lago’s South, North and Laranjal Courses are picturesque and challenging, yet they will not overawe the high handicapped golfer.
Vale do Lobo takes the golfer from lush parkland surrounds out towards the beach and, on the world famous 16th on the Royal Course, along the cliff’s edge for a truly exhilarating golfing experience.
Pestana Vila Sol offers a very traditional Algarve golf experience, with umbrella pines lining each fairway and small greens which are well protected by bunkers and the odd water hazard. For something a little out of the ordinary, head to Salgados which lies further to the west. Be sure to pack plenty of golf balls as well as with water in play on almost every hole, this is a real test of accurate hitting and shrewd course management.
The most loved course in this region though is San Lorenzo. One of the highest ranked courses in all of Portugal, San Lorenzo really does fit into the world-class bracket, owing much to its stunning setting alongside the Atlantic, on sandy undulating terrain with fairways bordered by umbrella pines and the marshland bird sanctuary of the Ria Formosa. Of all of the courses in Central Algarve that fit into the category of “must play”, this is perhaps the best.
Dom Pedro took over many of The Oceanico group’s courses and are in better shape than ever. Each course has its own unique appeal subject to your golfing tastes and abilities. Whether it’s the tree-lined Millenium and Pinhal courses, the water dominated Laguna course or the spectacular Victoria course, host of the European Tour’s Portugal Masters, you’re sure to find a golf course that suits your eye in and around Vilamoura. In fact one course in particular from the Dom Pedro’s portfolio, the Old Course, is one of the most loved layouts in the region and the Amendoeira Resort is home to two courses designed by European Tour and Ryder Cup legends, Nick Faldo and Christy O’Connor Jnr.
Away from the course, the action centres around Vilamoura. This delightful harbour town has been transformed over the years into a comprehensive golf complex and many of our recommended hotels are at the edge of the marina, which is the perfect place to head out in the evening, whether it’s for a relaxing meal by the water, or for a night out making your way through the many bars and Irish pubs.
During your down time off the course, the options are endless in and around Vilamoura. Take a boat trip and pay the local dolphins a visit or try your hand at deep sea fishing, water sports or go-karting. With plenty of excellent water parks in the area, those travelling with youngsters in tow will be glad to have somewhere to let them blow off steam.
In the west there are slightly fewer courses than in central Algarve, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty of choice. In fact, some of the Algarve’s best golf courses, both new and old, lie in the lands surrounding the vibrant towns of Portimao and Lagos.
The original Algarve golf course, Sir Henry Cotton’s Championship Course at Penina, has stood the test of time and since 1966, has been thrilling all who travel to Portugal to play it, as well as local golfers. While Penina has remained largely unchanged over the years, the likes of Palmares, which was originally laid down in 1975, received a shot in the arm in the form of a large investment and Robert Trent Jones Jnr course update, which has transformed it into one of the best courses in the country.
Palmares now offers a golfing experience that’s a little different to the norm in the Algarve. The three loops of nine, named Lagos, Alvor and Praia, offer wondrous variety through a combination of traditional parkland golf and a more links-like experience on the holes closer to the coast. The stunning views on offer from vantage points on the course, of which there are many, are simply a bonus.
Just 20 minutes from the heart of Portimao, you’ll find Morgado Golf & Country Club and Alamos Golf Club, both of which offer secluded and thrilling tests of golf. With plenty of room off the tee, long hitters will enjoy opening their shoulders with the driver while the challenges posed on and around the greens will appeal to those with a tidy short game.
Boavista, which lies just a few miles West of Lagos, offers yet another excellent golf experience that stands out from the norm in the Algarve. Those who walk off the par 3 6th with a par on the card can feel rightly proud and while it’s difficult to pinpoint a signature hole at Boavista, the stunning par 4 7th, which boasts views out over the Atlantic Ocean and down the coast towards Praia da Luz and round to the hills at Monchique, is surely a contender.
Lagos, with its cobbled streets, young crowd and abundant nightlife, is the carnival queen of the Algarve and like Portimão, it offers an excellent night out on the town, whether you’re looking to party long into the night or just enjoy a leisurely evening meal. Portimao and Lagos also both boast some stunning beaches and out to the extreme West, charming towns like Sagres and Carrapateira are excellent surf spots.
The hills of Barrocal play host to Benamor’s superb golf course, from which you can enjoy some of the most spectacular mountain views along the Algarve. Officially opened in 2000, this gem is based on an original design by Sir Henry Cotton and certainly worth a visit.
Castro Marim, home to three excellent nine hole loops, also offers an excellent golfing experience. Whether on the Atlantic, Guadiana or Grouse course; during a single round you will experience views of the sea, river and mountains, underlining how special the course’s surroundings are.
But the one to defintiely ensure you have on your to-play list absolutely has to Monte Rei, currently ranked as the number 1 course in Portugal. This fabulous track was designed by Jack Nicklaus and measures 7200 yards from the back tees, making it a true championship test. The experience here is first class and topped off by stunning views each way you look.
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Situated in the picturesque coastal town of Tavira, a hot spot for water sport enthusiasts, the aforementioned Vila Gale Tavira is a superb 4* hotel and an ideal base for anyone heading East. Heavily influenced by the style and character of the North African architecture evident across the sea to the South, the hotel boasts well equipped guestrooms and excellent leisure facilities including the Spa, whose facilities include a heated indoor pool, Turkish bath, jacuzzi and fully equipped gym.
In and around Tavira itself, there is plenty to do and see. Take a boat ride to Tavira Island – part of the famous Ria Formosa Nature Reserve – to enjoy some of the best beachfronts in the Algarve or visit Tavira Castle to brush up on the history of the local area. Foodies should head to Patio, arguably Tavira’s best restaurant, where the signature dish is octopus and bean stew.
Call our Experts to organise your perfect trip to the Algarve on 0800 043 6644
When we all went into lockdown and our favourite sport and weekend plans suddenly halted, it made us think how much we took meeting up with friends to play a round of golf for granted. The banter and conversation have been greatly missed, as well as seeing the flight of the ball and hopefully making a few birdies too.
Now that lockdown has softened and we can see our friends and family again (from a safe 2m distance) we hope you were as excited as us to get back out on the fairways. Many courses may currently be just open for members, but there’s no reason not to get a date in the diary to play some championship golf with your pals soon or for later in the year.
And one golf resort that always ticks the boxes is Celtic Manor, host of the 2010 Ryder Cup. Read the Top 5 Reasons Celtic Manor is the perfect Staycation for your golf group, as told by YGT Tommy (Tommy Eatenton)
The moment you drive over the TOLL FREE M4 Bridge, Wales and its Dragons welcomes you with open arms and the greeting at The Celtic Manor is no different. From the car drop meet and greet, reception and Concierges warm regards to all the staff you meet, The phrase ‘Croeso’ is always sincere. It is embracing and courteous at every turn and meeting, just splendid.
From the magnificent Par 3s on the Montgomerie course, manicured fairways of the Roman Road and the shots to recreate on the Ryder Cup ‘TwentyTen’ Course. The Celtic Manor was once described to me as the Disneyland for golfers and who am I to disagree.
Head to the Twenty Ten with 23 other golfers and recreate your own Ryder Cup. Bag drop and concierge service awaits with a show around of the clubhouse and locker rooms that still have the lockers aligned to the Captains, Vices & players from 2010. Make your way to the practise ground for complimentary range balls on the grassed driving range and a putting green which is as slick as the 18 your about to face. Matchplay at its finest…
Some will say the 19th Hole is the best hole you will play so with a clubhouse for the Montgomerie and Roman Road and a separate clubhouse for the 2010, The Celtic Manor will guarantee your well deserved beverage of choice will be served just as you want it. The main hotels ‘Merlins Bar’ will host you in the evening with live music and my favourite, a chilled G&T.