Figure 1 There is not much better than playing golf – and these courses surely prove that
There are many different factors that make a golf course memorable. A good round is an obvious one – but as well as your performance, outstanding scenery is hard to beat as well. A picturesque setting can offset even the worst day’s golf.
There are some courses, like Augusta or St. Andrews, that are on most players’ bucket lists. But for many, the only time these destinations are part of our weekend is when we are placing our golf bets. We think you should dream big though – and these five stunning courses are well worth considering for that once-in-a-lifetime golfing trip.
Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand
Even if you have never been to New Zealand, you will probably be familiar with this golf course from a million Instagram photos. Located in Hawkes Bay, on the eastern coast of the North Island, Cape Kidnappers only opened in 2004 but feels like it has been there forever.
The course is designed around the rolling fingers of the land and cliffs overlooking the ocean. At 140 meters above sea level, players can walk right up to the edge of the land, although the course plays remarkably well in these conditions. If you have an off day you may lose a few balls to the Pacific – but the views will definitely make up for that.
Thracian Cliffs, Bulgaria
The great Gary Player said that there is no other golf course like this on the planet – and he should know, he helped design it. Bulgaria might not be the first place thought of for a golfing holiday, but the Thracian Cliffs backdrop has left more than a few golfers speechless since opening in 2011.
The coastal cliffs look over the Black Sea and the course can seem a little daunting for newcomers. But there are some very good options for all levels of golfer and the experience is really the selling point here, rather than being able to post the best round’s score of your life.
Pebble Beach, California
If you want guaranteed sunshine for your golf then you cannot do much better than the Pebble Beach links course in California. The USGA obviously thinks so, staging the U.S. Open here six times in the last 50 years. The tropical climate is an obvious selling point – but the course itself has to be seen to be believed.
Running along a craggy, rugged coastline, golfers can enjoy the views out on Carmel Bay, looking over the Pacific Ocean as they play their round. Thanks to its long history, there are a few very famous holes to play and the exhilarating views will more than make up for some missed shots.
Figure 2 Dramatic coastlines feature at many of the most picturesque golf courses
Four Seasons Resort, Hawaii
If even the California weather doesn’t quite make the grade for you, how about the tropical paradise of Hawaii? The views are simply incredible from this golf course set high above Hulopoe Bay on Lanai’s southern coast. With the Pacific Ocean as a water hazard, you can’t really go wrong.
Incredible natural vegetation and a marine preserve bordering the course make for a stunning location. It is actually built on lava outcroppings and you will have to make sure that your tee shots are accurate, otherwise you will be spending a lot of money on replacement balls! Playing golf in such an area of outstanding beauty will surely make that worthwhile though.
Royal County Down, Ireland
You will have to endure slightly different conditions than the last few courses to play here. But there is no doubt that this stunning course located on the east coast of Northern Ireland is one to play before you hang up your clubs. The Murlough Nature Reserve is its home and it is one of the oldest courses in Ireland.
With the mountains as a backdrop, the course uses its natural dunes as part of a challenging – yet exhilarating – round of golf. This traditional links course boasts a variety of holes that twist and change direction to constantly keep you guessing. But anyone who plays here will agree that it is one of the very best courses in the world.
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