Window To The World: five favourite golfing locations
Thinking of booking a golfing holiday? In this month's Window To The World, we explore the most irresistible golfing destinations…
Infinite in its appeal, a luxury golfing holiday offers an exciting mix of sport, relaxation and social gatherings. Try out these five unrivalled golfing locations, where you can develop your techniques and put your skills to the test. Alternatively, when you are not on the course, head outside the resort to explore cities, relax on beaches and dine in undiscovered restaurants before heading back to the comforts of your exclusive hotel.
1. Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort and Spa in Sri Lanka
Spend warm, balmy afternoons playing in paradise on an 18-hole championship golf course designed by internationally acclaimed golf architect Rodney Wright and set amid a vast coconut palm plantation. Whether you are a casual golfer or a seasoned player, you will face unique challenges with a sapphire quarry, lakes and dunes.
Wright has created a masterpiece that offers expansive views of the Indian Ocean and integrates local culture and the surrounding environment to create a memorable course. After your round of golf, retreat to your private suite, wander through the tropical gardens leading directly to the pool or visit the Gimanhala Lounge to sample one of the specially crafted cocktails as you watch the sun go down.
2. Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, France
Sitting atop a woodland summit in an unchartered part of Southern France between Provence and the Côte d’Azur, the Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort treats you to sensational views of the surrounding countryside and the foothills of the Alps. With neighbouring quintessential villages perched high on rolling hills, the 750-acre site feels like a private forest. The exceptional all-inclusive resort lies in the middle of two 18-hole Dave Thomas designed golf courses, with a clubhouse restaurant and on-site Terre Blanche Golf Academy.
Featuring a helipad, spa, indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, VIP couples’ suites and beauty centre, the adults have plenty to do while the kids’ club keeps the children entertained.
The hotel’s architecture is inspired by the region, resulting in a contemporary retreat with low rooflines and terracotta tiles. All the villas and suites have a separate living room, with French doors leading to a large open-air terrace. For relaxed afternoons, visit the perfume town of Grasse and the porcelain capital of Fayence, which are close by.
3. Pebble Beach’s Casa Palmero in California
Surrounded by the magnificent pines of Spyglass Hill and sweeping around spectacular Stillwater Cove, this iconic resort blends three exceptional courses and a coastal backdrop with a challenging range of golf opportunities. Providing a location like no other, the prestigious Pebble Beach Golf Links is where you will find the most famous finishing hole in golf- the 18th Green. One of the world’s most legendary courses with sea views, Pebble Beach provides some of the best instruction and academy facilities in the world for novices and expert golfers alike. Pebble Beach has been a regular favourite of golfing champions and celebrity enthusiasts.
Stay at the Casa Palmero, which has an air of intimate, Mediterranean-style elegance. The private courtyard suites with dining area, gas burning fireplace and whirlpool spa offer views of the gardens. Evening meal options range from Hawaiian-Fusion to classic Italian cuisine. Indulge in some post-golf pampering at the award-winning Spa, or visit the Forbes Five-Star Spa at Pebble Beach. You can also enjoy horseback riding sessions, tennis lessons and swimming.
4. Old Course Hotel St Andrews, Scotland
Surrounded by the wild Scottish countryside with the historic town of St. Andrews and the dramatic stretches of West Sands Beach nearby, the Old Course Hotel has attracted golf-loving holidaymakers for hundreds of years. The hotel consists of both classic and contemporary interiors, with a recently fitted cutting-edge indoor golf simulator and with many of the suits having been styled by French designers Jacques Garcia.
The Royal & Ancient Suite is elegant and traditional with a modern-day sleekness, whilst the large bathroom features twin sinks. With all the home comforts on offer, you can spend the evening curled up under a blanket with a Scotch, enjoying the spectacular views across the links courses to the sea from your floor-to-ceiling windows and balcony.
The Duke’s is the hotel’s championship course, but being St. Andrews there are 11 courses nearby with another 30 within a half-hour drive. With five separate tee positions at every hole, The Duke’s is considered to be one of the finest heathland championship courses in the British Isles, and not to be missed by any golfer.
After a busy day swinging golf clubs, feast on the best of Scottish produce including steaks, seafood and seasonal vegetables while gathered around crackling open-hearth fires. If beers and ales are your thing, the cosy Jigger Inn on Old Station Road serves their very own Ale, made by a local brewery in the classic Scottish style.
5.Casa De Campo Golf Resort, Dominican Republic
With its private airport, the Casa De Campo Golf Resort is just a three-minute walk from the plane. Swoop down over sparkling turquoise waters to your very own slice of paradise, home to outstanding food, award-winning golf courses and a divine spa that uses Ayurvedic techniques and local organic ingredients. Private villas offer the most luxurious levels of comfort with their opulently furnished interiors, private staff and private pool.
Pete Dye’s signature golf course, Teeth of the Dog, is hand-carved into the rocks and coral of the Dominican coastline. Considered the best in the Caribbean, the course is ranked 27th in the world. Interested in something a little different? Try your hand at Night Golf, with multi-coloured, glowing golf balls and brightly lit, futuristic-looking targets.
The dining options are everything you might expect from a premium resort, with a range of gourmet dining experiences available along with private chefs on hand if you would prefer to entertain in your villa. Casa de Campo has a fun and vibrant nightlife too, with bars and cocktail lounges to explore after the sun goes down.
The golfing resort is certainly a well-established concept when it comes to holidays, but there is a place for them in the new world of health, wellbeing and mindfulness. As increasingly stressful work schedules and over-connected lifestyles see us living ever-hectic lives, focus in golf is shifting to what you really gain from a holiday – relaxation, fresh air, social connections and great food in beautiful surroundings.