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.
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 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
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
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
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.