For avid golfers, traveling to new destinations isn't just about exploring new places; it's about discovering new courses and experiencing the joy of playing the game in diverse settings. Whether you're planning a golf-centric vacation or simply want to incorporate a round or two into your trip, here are some top golf travel destinations that offer both renowned courses and nearby attractions to enhance your vacation experience.
1. Pebble Beach, California, USA
Golf Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links
Nearby Attractions: Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17-Mile Drive, Carmel-by-the-Sea
Pebble Beach Golf Links is a legendary course that has hosted numerous U.S. Open Championships. Set against the rugged beauty of the California coastline, this course offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean on nearly every hole. Nearby, you can explore the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea and take a scenic drive along the famous 17-Mile Drive.
2. St. Andrews, Scotland
Golf Course: The Old Course at St. Andrews
Nearby Attractions: St. Andrews Cathedral, St. Andrews Castle, Fife Coastal Path
St. Andrews is often considered the birthplace of golf, and The Old Course is its crown jewel. Playing here is a dream come true for any golfer. Besides golf, St. Andrews offers a rich history, with historic sites like the St. Andrews Cathedral and Castle. You can also take a walk along the picturesque Fife Coastal Path.
3. Augusta, Georgia, USA
Golf Course: Augusta National Golf Club
Nearby Attractions: Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
Augusta National Golf Club is home to the prestigious Masters Tournament and is one of the most exclusive courses in the world. While in Augusta, explore the natural beauty of the area by visiting the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area or the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.
4. Algarve, Portugal
Golf Courses: Vale do Lobo Royal Course, Quinta do Lago South Course, Vilamoura Old Course
Nearby Attractions: Beautiful beaches, Ria Formosa Natural Park
The Algarve region in Portugal is a golfer's paradise with a wide variety of courses to choose from. The region is also famous for its stunning beaches and the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
5. Bandon, Oregon, USA
Golf Courses: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (multiple courses)
Nearby Attractions: Bandon Beach, Bandon State Natural Area, Coquille River Lighthouse
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is a golf mecca located on the Oregon coast. It boasts several world-class courses with rugged coastal views. Beyond golf, explore Bandon's natural beauty, including its pristine beaches, state parks, and the iconic Coquille River Lighthouse.
6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Golf Courses: Emirates Golf Club, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
Nearby Attractions: Burj Khalifa, Desert Safari, Dubai Marina
Dubai combines luxury and golf seamlessly. Play on immaculate courses with stunning views of the city's modern skyline. When you're not on the course, explore iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa or embark on a thrilling desert safari.
7. Melbourne, Australia
Golf Courses: Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Kingston Heath Golf Club
Nearby Attractions: Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley Wine Region
Melbourne is a golfing destination with a touch of Australian charm. The Royal Melbourne Golf Club is consistently ranked among the world's best courses. After a round of golf, explore the stunning Great Ocean Road or indulge in the fine wines of the nearby Yarra Valley.
8. Cascais, Portugal
Golf Courses: Oitavos Dunes Golf Course, Quinta da Marinha Golf Course
Nearby Attractions: Cascais Marina, Sintra's Palaces and Gardens
Cascais, located just outside of Lisbon, offers golfers a taste of Portugal's natural beauty and culture. Play golf at courses nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sintra mountains. Explore the picturesque town of Cascais, visit the marina, or take a day trip to the historic palaces and gardens of Sintra.
9. Maui, Hawaii, USA
Golf Courses: Kapalua Golf Club, Wailea Golf Club, The Plantation Course
Nearby Attractions: Haleakalā National Park, Road to Hana, Maui's beautiful beaches
Maui, known for its breathtaking landscapes, also offers fantastic golfing experiences. The Kapalua Golf Club and The Plantation Course are particularly famous. When you're not on the golf course, explore the wonders of Haleakalā National Park, drive the scenic Road to Hana, or simply relax on Maui's stunning beaches.
10. Queenstown, New Zealand
Golf Courses: Jack's Point Golf Course, Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown Golf Club
Nearby Attractions: Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound, Bungee Jumping in Queenstown
Queenstown is a golfing destination that combines natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping activities. Play golf with the backdrop of the Remarkables mountain range, and then venture into Fiordland National Park or experience the thrill of bungee jumping in the adventure capital of the world.