Cape Kidnappers is surely one for the golf bucket list – a course that has to be played in a golfing lifetime. The slightly secluded location - 30 minutes from the Napier Airport, which is an hour from both Auckland and Wellington by air, gives stay at the resort an exclusive and rejuvenating quality and is a practical choice too. The accommodation is luxurious in the form of lodges, suites and cottages. And the food is fresh and homegrown.
One of New Zealand’s best courses and certainly its most recognised, Cape Kidnappers has consistently been in Golf Magazine’s World Top 50 rankings and made No.10 on Golf Digest’s list. The setting is spectacular to say the least, where ridges, valleys, sea and sand combine to give you a golfing experience of a lifetime. Watch out for the 6th hole, which stands out for its location, layout and difficulty in an already distinguished course.
Fancourt is probably one of the finest stay & play golf resorts. The chance to play the two parkland courses - Montagu and Outeniqua (consistently amongst South Africa’s top 20) and South Africa’s No.1 course, the Links (as voted by Golf Digest SA for 2014), is enough to draw golfers from all over the world to the Garden route. The courses are accessible only to members and their guests or to guests staying at the Fancourt Hotel.
Staying at the Hotel or the Manor House, a restored old home , is succumbing to all the lazy pleasures of a relaxing holiday. The estate gives a free run to kids with their well-marked walking and mountain biking trails, not to mention the pools, tennis and volleyball courts.
The Finca Cortesin resort sits prettily on a quieter stretch of the Costa Del Sol, not too far from the Gibraltar and Malaga airports. Its hospitality is the best in the area – and a top class resort, spa, sports facilities, proximity to the beach (with a private beach club open only to resort guests) and a Jack Nicklaus Academy make Finca Cortesin the ideal luxurious golf getaway.
It continues to be a magnet for golf seekers primarily for the course, which is already considered one of the best golf courses in Europe. Carved out of a mountain, the golf course features steep changes in elevation and requires precise shot making. The slopes on the fairways are a big factor in determining the planned landing area. The golf course condition and the challenging layout have made Finca a World Match Play host on 3 occasions.
Gleneagles was awarded the "Best Golf Resort in theWorld 2014" for the third year running - a testament to the quality of the facilities available here. Set in the wondrous moorland countryside of Scotland, the resort boasts of 3 superb championship layouts – the King’s Course, The Queen’s Course and the PGA Centenary Course (host for the 2014 Ryder Cup from Sep 25-28) and the PGA National Golf Academy. These 3 mountainside/moorland golf courses provide a stark contrast to the links, but are equally a compulsion to play on a Scotland golf trip, especially when combined with the fabulous luxury at the hotel. The hotel is a "French Chateau" with 232 individually designed rooms, fine dining such as the Andrew Fairlie, Scotland's only holder of two Michelin stars amongst others and The Spa by ESPA.
K Club Kildare
The Palmer Ryder Cup and the Smurfit Course together make up the exceptional K Club Golf Resort, which was voted by CNN recently as one of the Top Ten golf resorts in the world.
The K Club Kildare makes our list because of its pedigree. It was host to the Ryder Cup in 2006 and to 13 European Opens from 1995 to 2007, and playing here is literally like walking in the footsteps of golfing legends.
The setting of the resort is ideal – a mere 30-minute drive from Dublin by the banks of the River Iffey and accommodations that are luxurious, unique and home to arts and antiques that are attractions by themselves.
Legend Golf & Safari Resort
A resort of monumental proportions – 22,000 acres in all, sitting in the heart of the Entabeni Safari Conservancy, the Legend Golf experience is unlike any other. The setting is classic Africa with the opportunity to sight the Big Five within close range, possibly during your round too. But the core of the resort is the Signature course, where each of the 18 holes have been designed by top names in golf like Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, Trevor Immelman, Vijay Singh and more.
The Tribute course is another extraordinary experience where the world’s top golf holes have been recreated. But that’s not all – the Extreme 19th, like its name, is the world’s most extreme golf hole and the one that’s been the subject of countless articles and celebrity visits. The in-house chopper takes you to the top of Hanglip Peak to tee off from this par 3 hole 470 yards down to the Africa-shaped green.
The Legend nicely achieves what it set out to do – creating a magical experience for all its visitors.
Golf in Mauritius is best experienced as "stay & play" at indulgent 5 star golf resorts, and Le Touessrok is definitely one of the country’s best. It benefits from a stunning location and beach and included in the property are two small islands across the lagoon – the Ilot Mangenie and the Ile aux Cerfs, both private and accessible only by boat from the mainland.
The Ile aux Cerfs or the Deer Island is home to the exquisite Bernhard Langer championship golf course. Rated the “Top 10 Golf Courses in the World” by Golf World Magazine, the course can be enjoyed by both serious and recreational players.
The resort’s facilities are extensive with water sports, swimming pools, 7 restaurants, a Givenchy spa and a personal butler service.
Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort & Nirwana Bali Golf Course
Attached to the 5 Star Nirwana Bali Pan Pacific Resort, the Nirwana Bali Golf Course has some stunning seaside holes like the beautiful par 3 seventh hole looking at the historical Tanah Lot Temple and one of the most photographed holes. The lovely 12th par 4 and the 14th holes also stand out as superb holes with the sea as the backdrop.
Overall, it is a memorable and terrific golfing experience. Soak in the great views of the sea and the rice terraces during the round. The luxurious resort sits on a cliff offering the same stunning views as that of the course. It's an excellent choice for a stay & play holiday.
Pebble Beach Resorts
Pebble Beach Resorts is top-of-the-line and possibly sets standards for golf resorts everywhere. The combination of a beautiful setting with the ocean on one side and the Del Monte forest on the other, legendary courses - Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and Del Monte and award-winning accommodations like the Lodge at Pebble Beach, Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero set it apart.
Each of the Pebble Beach courses has imposing history and character. Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the world’s most famous destinations for championship golf, having hosted the U.S. Open Championships 5 times. Spyglass Hill is one of the toughest courses in the world; the Links is akin to the quintessential Scottish seaside courses and Del Monte, one of the oldest courses in USA.
Add to this explosive cocktail of offerings are the add-ons for families like hiking, kayaking, horse riding, cycling, wellness and the many dining options within and outside the resort.
Spring City Golf Resort
Owing to its altitude, Kunming has wonderful weather, allowing you to enjoy cool golfing conditions throughout the year. For stay & play options, the Spring CityGolf & Lake Resort, a short distance from Kunming is ideal. The integrated golf complex has fabulous accommodation in the form of golf lodges or studios and apartments.
But the real attraction at the resort is the opportunity to play a Robert Trent Jones Jr. and a Jack Nicklaus course in wonderful lakeside and mountainous settings. The Lake course is a gem and is marked by a rapid elevation change that allows the course to take on a terraced look with all the holes facing the lake. It is no surprise that given the design, this has been rated amongst the top golf course in Asia.
The Mountain Course, set on the higher part of the resort area, all tee boxes and greens are elevated with the challenge coming mainly in the form of Nicklaus conceived sand traps and the hillside lies.
Sueno Golf Club
The Belek area is replete with resorts packaging Mediterranean weather, outdoor activities and fabulous stay options for holiday goers in Europe and Asia. Golfers looking for long or short stays in this beautiful golf region have a hard time deciding between resorts. But some come out on top more so than others and the Sueno Hotel is a winner any which way you look at it. It’s home to two of the Belek’s top courses - the Pines andDunes and is complete 5 star facility.
Both courses have expansive water bodies, the Umbrella Pines and are a tricky test of golf. Restaurants and bars are spread across the complex, entertainment shows are put on most days of the week, and you could head to the hip discotheque or movie theatre if you wish. And what’s more, the resort has its own private beach and pier and more sports and games and spa treatments than you can fit into a leisure holiday.
Thracian Cliffs Resort
The Black Sea Coast in Bulgaria has been developed with commendable vision. A beach getaway for Europeans, the coast’s golf resorts complement all other tourist activities. The Thracian Cliffs Resort with the golf course and on-site accommodation - the Marina and Hillside villages makes it a popular choice.
The golf course is probably one of the world’s best. Running alongside the rugged seaside cliffs, the course offers a challenge and a dramatic view at each of its 18 holes. Hole 6, its signature hole is also its most photographed with the Green carved out of the cliff’s edge and the sea just by its side waiting to swallow an inaccurate shot.
With Thracian Cliffs as a base, you can play at the other courses in the region. If you have time between the golf, there’s plenty to do at the resort. The sea-fronted resort has two beaches with water sports, restaurants, tennis courts, spa, a gym and infinity pools in each of the accommodation villages.
Now rechristened Trump Turnberry after Donald Trump’s recent acquisition, the iconic golf resort is home to the Ailsa and the Kintyre courses, both spectacular links courses. The Ailsa course, of course needs no introduction. It first hosted the Open in 1977, when Tom Watson played out of his skin to beat Nicklaus. The 18th hole since then is called “Duel in the Sun”. The Ailsa course is one of the most spectacular and photogenic golf courses with astounding views of the Ailsa Craig – just stand on the back tees on the 9th!
The hotel is as iconic as the courses and offers 5-star options from deluxe rooms to suites. For small groups or families, The Lodges, an 8-bedroom apartment is an option or the self-catering apartments – Lands at Turnberry. All lodgings are close to the courses with splendid views of the links and the sea beyond. Turnberry’s appeal runs across with activities for families as well, making it an ideal getaway.
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