Ten scenic golf courses around the world

I don’t play golf but the exuberance with which the rest of my family pursues the sport ensured that I was dragged from one golf course to another during my adolescent years… as an ‘assistant’ (or rather a nuisance) to the caddy. As my brother and brother-in-law showed off their golfing prowess on the course, my eyes would wander to the scenery around the course. It always amazed me how golf courses are most often located in a scenic area, surrounded by verdant forests and lakes, or on cliff-tops, or undulating hills. On my travels with my family, I’ve visited some of the most scenic golf courses anywhere around and though I don’t play the game, the scenery at these courses never failed to impress. So, here’s my tribute to some of the most scenic golf courses around the world.

Valderrama, Spain

Valderrama – image courtesey of Pablo Herrero

Arguably one of continental Europe’s finest golf courses, Valderrama has played host to the Ryder Cup as well as many Masters tournaments. Golfers and sightseers will marvel at the immaculate greens and the stunning tree-lined fairways.

St. Andrews Old Course, Scotland

The grand daddy of golf courses features world-famous views at every hole. Golf has been played here since the 15th century, so if the amazing vistas of the Fife coastline don’t grab your attention, the colourful history of the course certainly will!

Pebble Beach, USA

Pebble Beach – image courtesy of Brian Sterling

Pebble Beach in California is one of the most famous golf courses in the world. The course features regularly in the US PGA tour schedule and rightfully so. I often wonder how golfers can focus on their game with so much spectacular beauty around them; from the slick fairways to the rugged cliffs and the bright blue Pacific Ocean at their feet, I know I would have trouble keeping my eye on the ball!

Cabo del Sol, Mexico

Cabo del Sol in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, rivals Pebble Beach as one of the most stunning ocean-side courses in the world. The 16th, 17th and 18th holes are particularly impressive, with stupendous views of sandy beaches and the pounding surf.

Banff Springs Golf Course, Canada

Located in a breathtaking alpine setting, the Banff Springs golf course is truly unique. In addition to the jaw-dropping mountain scenery, if you’re lucky, you might find yourself in the company of elk while out on the fairways.

Old Head, Ireland

Old Head – image courtesy of Tiare Scott

The Old Head golf course near Cork is one of the most dramatic courses I’ve ever seen. The course is situated on a promontory that rises hundreds of feet above the Atlantic Ocean. There are amazing views of the cliffs and the ocean at almost every hole.

Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful courses in New Zealand, Cape Kidnappers is located on a headland that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. The course is also famous for being one of the most environmentally-friendly in the country; local initiatives have introduced a variety of rare native flora and fauna in and around the course such as the kiwi and brown teals or pateke.

Kawana Resort Fuji Course, Japan

Kawana – image courtesy of William Cho

The Kawana Fuji Course is one of the favourite courses amongst Japanese golfers. It’s not hard to see why: set on a promontory overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the course is surrounded by mature woodlands and on clear days, the conical, snow-capped Mount Fuji provides a stunning backdrop.

Leopard Creek, South Africa

Leopard Creek is certainly one of the most unique golf courses in the world. Situated at the edge of South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park, it’s not unusual to spot wildlife on the fairways (think antelopes, wild boar and buffaloes), in the river (beware the crocodiles and hippos!) or in the surrounding trees (more than 200 species of birds make their home here). At Leopard Creek, golf and safari make a natural combination!

Troon North, USA

Troon North – image courtesy of John Hall

Various golf courses in Scottsdale vie for the title of most beautiful golf course in Arizona but Troon North remains the perennial favourite. This desert course is littered with cacti and rocky outcroppings, and stretches across the ravines and foothills of the Sonoran desert with unforgettable views of Pinnacle Peak and the surrounding mountains.

There are many more incredibly scenic golf courses around the world – I can think of another: Augusta National in Georgia (USA), for instance, with its gorgeous azaleas and undulating greens.

Can you recommend beautiful golf courses that you’ve visited? Please leave your recommendations in the Comments section below.

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9 Responses to “Ten scenic golf courses around the world”

  1. Fiona 15/05/2012 4:09 pm
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    Fez Royal Golf Club in Morocco is another stunner – about 20 mins from the medina, 10 mins from the airport and well worth a visit for its mint tea and palm tree feel…good one to earmark for the winter months as temperatures can dip a little but it’s almost always sunny. Direct flights from London Stansted to Fez on Ryanair 2 – 3 times a week. Can’t recommend it enough for golfers looking for sunshine and something different. (In fact all of Morocco’s courses are quite unique, from links to desert to inland…)

  2. Boat of Garten 11/05/2012 4:15 pm
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    We have a beautiful James Braid course here in Boat of Garten – it’s a real gem!

  3. JK Lasser 08/04/2012 10:56 am
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    Bandon Dunes in Oregon. Simply stunning, well worth a visit.

  4. velvet 15/11/2011 10:57 pm
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    Thanks for the tip! Sure sounds like a beautiful course.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  5. Archana 15/11/2011 10:34 pm
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    The golf course in Half Moon Bay, California is very beautiful. Ritz Carlton on one side, ocean on the other and the golf course on a cliff. Its just breathtaking.

    Here is a pic I found online: http://img.ezinemark.com/imagemanager2/files/30004254/2011/05/2011-05-25-12-08-48-2-half-moon-bay-in-california.jpeg

    Its a lot more beautiful than this pic though.

  6. velvet 26/10/2011 3:48 pm
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    Thank you Pablo for your lovely comment & your recommendations. Oh, and THANK YOU for the photo of Valderrama! :-)

    Cheers,
    Keith

  7. Pablo Herrero 26/10/2011 3:41 pm
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    It’s nice to see my photo in your post. Valderrama is a very good golf course and I recommend to everyone that visit its green grass. It’s a one of the best golf courses in the world.

    I also recommend the golf courses in Galicia, Spain. In this Spanish county, you can find good golf courses as Real Club de Golf de La Coruña, Golf La Toja, Golf Lugo and Mondariz Balneario. Galicia is a special place in Spain, where you can find peace, good food and good golf.

  8. Javan 25/10/2011 9:33 pm
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    Most scenic course I have played is Nefyn in North Wales. Simply stunning views on the headland section.

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  1. The Radar: Amsterdam’s Best Budget Hotels, 10 Scenic Golf Courses, Get Kissed by a Koala – Intelligent Travel - 25/11/2011

    [...] You don’t have to swing a club to enjoy the scenic landscapes of these international golf courses.  [Velvet Escape] [...]

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