Review

Passeier-Meran

Passeier-Meran is a championship course I’d love to play, purely for its setting in the Italian Alps. There are breath-taking views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains as you hit your ball around the south side of the Passiria Valley.
The course, which was designed by Willy Moroder of MPS Golf Design, features seven water-lily ponds on a layout that sits on 60 hectares (148 acres) of agricultural land. Hotel Andreus, the connected resort, runs a golf school that caters for everyone from the humble beginner to the keen amateur – a smart way to sharpen your skills before heading out. PGA instructors take individuals as well as groups of up to six…


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Anahita the Resort

Mauritius is a small island nation that sits a little over 1100 kilometers to the east of Madagascar. Anahita the Resort is located on the east coast of Mauritius, about one hour’s drive from the capital, Port Louis. The resort features two championship courses that overlook the Indian Ocean – one designed by South African Ernie Els and the other designed by German Bernhard Langer. The ‘all-inclusive’ resort package allows you to play both courses as part of the deal, and includes 55 range balls and a daily one-hour introductory lesson…


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Rosapenna

Located in County Donegal on the striking north-west coast of Ireland, the Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort is a haven for lovers of links golf. The 800-acre (324-hectare) dune system features two championship courses – Old Tom Morris links and Sandy Hills – as well as a nine-hole academy course and training facility. Old Tom Morris, the original course, was established after the four-time British Open Champion visited the region in 1891 and staked out a links course using the undulating landscape overlooking Tramore Beach at Sheephaven Bay…


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Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraíso, Riviera Maya

I can just picture it – somewhere beautiful to relax in the sun. Somewhere south of the border, down Mexico way. The Grand Hotel Paraíso will do just fine. This impressive resort is located on the Riveria Maya, on the Caribbean coastline of north-east Yucatán Peninsula. We’re talking gorgeous turquoise waters and tropical conditions in and out of the water. But before you grab a daiquiri and a hammock, you’ll want to play the championship golf course. It was designed by P.B. Dye, the youngest son of renowned American course architect Peter Dye. He has picked up some techniques from his father in terms of challenging golfers with smart layout and visual trickery. Greg Bond, the director of golf at the Iberostar Playa Paraíso Golf Club, sums up the challenges of the undulating course this way…


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The Bluffs, The Grand Ho Tram Strip

The Bluffs is a stunning links-style course on the south-eastern coast of Vietnam approximately two and a half hours’ drive to the south-east of Ho Chi Minh City. It was designed by Australian golfing legend Greg Norman and opened in 2014 with a game between New Zealander Michael Campbell, Englishman Robert Rock, Vietnamese star Tang Thi Nhung and rising local amateur Ng Bao Nghi. Campbell was impressed with the layout.
“I’ve played a lot of courses around the world and this (one) is as good as it gets,” he said…*


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ITC Grand Bharat, Gurgaon

You’ll find ITC Grand Bharat after a little over an hour’s drive south-west of New Delhi’s Indiri Gandhi International Airport in north India. The luxury retreat sits on a 3000-acre (1214-hectare) estate in the Aravali Hills and it features a 27-hole complex designed by Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear’s first signature course in South Asia. Before you hit a ball, the grand Indian architecture of the hotel’s main building and apartment complex will strike you. The pale, ornate buildings are set against lush manicured grounds and the golf courses. It made an impression on Canadian golf writer Dave Finn when he visited. He described it as an “oasis of tranquility…


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Fairmont Banff Springs

Fairmont Banff Springs has two courses – the 18-hole Stanley Thompson and 9-hole Tunnel Mountain – laid out between huge mountains in the Banff National …


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Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island is a golf resort I’m excited to visit. This huge development lies on a bridge-connected island just south of Charleston on South Carolina’s golden coastline. It became famous in the world of golf after hosting several major tournaments. There are five championship golf courses to play, each with unique challenges, designed by five of the biggest names in golf architecture.
The Ocean Course is the most prestigious, having been the site of the 2012 PGA Championship, which saw Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy raise up the Wanamaker Trophy. It was here that Bernhard Langer missed a crucial six-foot putt resulting in Europe handing back the Ryder Cup to the US in 1991, and the golf course where Irishmen Pádraig Harrington and Paul McGinley claimed the World Cup of Golf in 1997. It will be the site of the 2021 PGA Championship as well…


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Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort

Set in beautiful rural setting in Provence, France, some 35 minutes’ drive west of Cannes on the French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur), Terre Blanche Spa and Golf Resort is a classic luxury destination with a lot to offer golf travelers. There are two high-quality courses available for hotel guests – Le Château and Le Riou, with the former being the tougher challenge. Designed by the late Welsh professional golfer and architect Dave Thomas, each layout embraced natural features of the land including lakes, valleys, ravines and woods to deliver courses that suit the environment…


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The Abaco Club at Winding Bay

The Bahamas is synonymous with tropical beaches, warm turquoise water, and vacations in the sun – and the perfect spot for golf. You’ll find all this at the Abaco Club at Winding Bay, which is located on the east side of Great Abaco, one of the largest islands in coral-based archipelago that makes up the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The resort is approximately 310 kilometers (193 miles) east of Miami or about 1 hours’ flight to Marsh Harbor International Airport.

Golfers are drawn to the championship course here – a Scottish-style links course that overlooks a white, powder-soft beach on one side and the North Atlantic Ocean on the other side. Renowned British architects Tom Mackenzie and Donald Steel designed the course over coastal dunes, including pot bunkers and slick, undulating greens…


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InterContinental Sanctuary Cove

Situated just north of Queensland’s famous Gold Coast, Sanctuary Cove is a prime destination for vacationing golfers Down Under. The InterContinental Resort is nestled next to two championship golf courses – The Pines and The Palms. The Pines is Australia’s only Arnold Palmer signature course. The 7197-yard (6581-meter) layout is carved into 250 acres (101 hectares) of pine forest with golfers given narrow fairway corridors on several holes. Fourteen of the holes are shaped around six man-made lakes. It’s likely you’ll run across a kangaroo or two as you progress around the course as well as plenty of birdlife, such as ducks, pelicans and kookaburras…


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Sonnenalp/Oberallgäu

Set in the Bavarian mountains in the south of Germany not far from the principality of Liechtenstein, this resort features two fine 18-hole courses. You’ll enjoy stunning Alpine views as you progress through a layout that keeps surprising.
“The routing must be considered a stroke of genius due to the dearth of contiguous space,” writes Ulrich Mayring for Top100golfcourses.com. “More than once it looks like the golfer has finally played himself into a dead-end, but the course keeps on winding its way forward between houses, barns, pastures, ravines and mountains…”


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Expired: Pinehurst

Pinehurst is known as “the Cradle of American golf,” which might seem a lofty tag until you get to know the history of this golf resort. Golf was in its infancy in the United States when entrepreneur and inventor James Walker Tufts had the idea to create a resort and village with multiple courses after purchasing 600 acres (243 hectares) of land in the sand hills of south-central North Carolina in 1895. The village became known as Pinehurst and the first course was completed in 1898…


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Expired: Ritz-Carlton, Abama

Located on the Guia de Isora coastline of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, which sit in the Atlantic Ocean off Morocco, Ritz-Carlton, Abama could just be the perfect out-of-the-way luxury getaway for golfers. Tenerife is a volcanic island with the sometimes snow-capped Mount Teide at its center, although the tropical climate also enjoys the most sunshine of any part of Spain – it is known as the Island of Eternal Spring, which sounds perfect for golf. It’s also the most populated of the Canary Islands, with two international airports acting as thoroughfares for the tourist destination (the closest to the Ritz Carlton being Tenerife South Airport, approximately 30 minutes’ drive away). But none of this will enter your mind as you tee off on the Abama Golf Course…


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Expired: The Datai Langkawi – The Els Club Teluk Datai

The Els Club Teluk Datai is a majestic course set in a rainforest on the tropical island of Langkawi, which sits off the north-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The course was redesigned and relaunched by four-time major champion Ernie Els in 2014 and has already been named “World’s Best New Course” at the inaugural World Golf Awards.
Teluk Datai offers an exotic golf experience. The environment is simply stunning, with some holes playing towards the ancient rock of Mount Mat Chincang, which towers over the course. Other holes play towards the emerald waters of the Adaman Sea and next to gorgeous beaches with Thailand in the distance…


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Expired: Vidago Palace Hotel

The Vidago Palace Hotel was built during the reign of Portugal’s King Carlos I as a summer retreat next to mineral water springs, but opened for business as a hotel in 1910 after Carlos met his untimely demise and his son, King Manuel II, fled the country under threat. It’s located in Northern Portugal, about 1.5 hour’s drive from the coastal city of Porto. The resort is about 50 minutes’ drive to the Douro Valley region, an area famous for its wines and ports and one recognized for three World Heritage Sites by UNESCO…


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Turtle Bay

This outstanding resort sits on Oahu’s North Shore, not too far from the famous big-wave surf breaks of Banzai Pipeline and Waimea. It features two courses, one designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay and the original George Fazio course. The Palmer course is regarded as the superior design. The first nine holes offer a links-style layout with water hazards and fairways more exposed to the trade winds. The second nine is set in a wooded wetland and the Punaho’olapa Marsh bird sanctuary…


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Sun City

With the motto ‘A World Within a City,’ you would expect this to be a big development with a lot to offer and frankly it is a huge resort. As Ernie Els told me when recommending it as one of his favorite resorts in the world: “Sun City is an incredible place; you’d never run out of things to do there!”
There are four hotels and a club plus everything from safaris to shopping in between. Importantly for golfers there are two top golf courses to choose from. The Gary Player Golf Course – the signature layout here – was rated by Golf Digest as the 99th best course in the world in 2016…


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Rosewood Tucker’s Point

The island of Bermuda lies approximately 1070 kilometers (665 miles) off the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean. In 2017, the British Overseas Territory hosted the 35th America’s Cup in the famous Great Sound, which sits on the west side of the archipelago. Rosewood Tucker’s Point resort is located on the north-east side of the island, only about 4.5 kilometers away from LF Wade International Airport. The Tucker’s Point Golf Club, a grand building positioned on a hilltop, is part of the resort community here and guests are welcome – they’ll find a complimentary day locker for their gear…


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The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa / Abu Dhabi Golf Club

Abu Dhabi, the capital the United Arab Emirates, sits on the coast of the Persian Gulf and the edge of the Arabian Desert. It’s an arid climate that is not conducive to cultivating lush fairways and greens for golf. But just as the city has seen massive investment and development since 2000, witnessed in buildings such as Etihad Towers, golf courses are being constructed like man-made oases. Architects such as Gary Player (Saadiyat Beach) and Kyle Phillips (Yas Links) have been brought in to develop world-class golf courses…


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The Westin Resort Costa Navarino

This resort in the southwest Peloponnese – a peninsula in Southern Greece that stretches into the Mediterranean and Ionian Seas – has a moral story to it, according to European golf writer Jo Maes, who recommended this golfing destination.
“Captain Vassilis Constanakopoulos, who came from humble origins, founded what was to become one of Greece’s biggest cargo shipping companies,” Maes said. “His ultimate vision was to return to his home region with an investment plan that would put it on the world map as a quality destination and at the same time, bring much needed economic development to an area often forgotten…”


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The Greenbrier

Sitting in a valley in the beautiful Allegheny Mountains in the small West Virginian city of White Sulphur Springs, The Greenbrier is one of the oldest and most prestigious golf resorts in the United States. It features five championship golf courses by American designers, including the Old White TPC, The Greenbrier, The Meadows, The Snead and Oakhurst Links, the oldest golf club in America, having opened in 1884. The first three are open to resort guests who get a discount over members of the public…


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Fancourt

Fancourt is set in the Western Cape’s scenic Garden Route region – think stunning mountain ranges, forests, and beaches along the Indian Ocean – near the South African city of George. It is a golf resort with an historic heritage. The estate goes back to the construction of Manor House by Henry Fancourt White, a surveyor who helped build the Montagu Pass over the nearby Outeniqua Mountains, in the late 1880s. It wasn’t until 1989 that Manor House was turned into a hotel and Fancourt a golf club by Helene and Andrea Pieterse.
Following that, German entrepreneur and keen golfer Dr Hasso Plattner and his wife Sabine bought and transformed the facilities in 1994, investing millions of rands to turn the estate into the premiere golfing destination it is today…


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Gleneagles Scotland

It has a reputation as one of the leading golf resorts in Scotland, but Gleneagles offers a lot beyond the three championship courses on its property. It is one of


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FLC Luxury Resort Quy Nhon

If you are after an exotic luxury golfing vacation, then you should put FLC Luxury Resort Quy Nhon high on the list of destinations. This is more of a stay, play and …


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Gokana Forest Resort

Gokarna Forest Resort is tucked away in the Gokarna Protected Forest, a preserve that was once a private royal hunting ground for the kings of Nepal. …


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Jakobsberg

Sitting on a plateau above the famous Lorelei Valley in Germany’s central west, Jakobsberg is your classic high-end golf destination. As the Rhine River winds its way through vineyards and forests a short distance below, you’ll be teeing off on a course that has great views down into the Rhine Valley.
The first hole looks across to Marksburg, one of the most impressive castles in the Rhine Valley, according to German golf writer Ulrich Mayring. “It is your aiming point for the second shot on the par 5 first hole.”
But there is a great variety of holes on offer here – some with outstanding views, others more secluded – that will test all your shots…


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Kauri Cliffs

You know you’ve reached a certain level of opulence when the place you are staying at offers a helicopter transfer in its own private aircraft. Fly or drive to Kauri Cliffs from Auckland and you will be rewarded with one of the most scenic and interesting golf courses in New Zealand. The resort is owned by American billionaire Julian Robertson and is a sister property to his other luxury lodges, Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay and Matakauri in Queenstown.
Kauri Cliffs is set on the high rolling hills and clifftops overlooking the blue water of the Pacific Ocean at Matauri Bay in the north-east of New Zealand’s North Island…


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Kawana Hotel

Sitting on the eastern coast of Izu Peninsula about two hours’ train ride from Tokyo, Kawana Hotel has long been known for its golf. The resort has two courses set out along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean – Oshima and Fuji – but it is the latter that has developed a reputation as one of the best in the world. Fuji was designed by British architect Charles Hugh Alison and opened in 1936…


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Lough Erne Resort

Northern Ireland features some outstanding golf courses and Lough Erne Resort happens to have two of them. Located on a peninsula between Castle Hume Lough and Lough Erne in the northwest of the country, you’ll find the Faldo Course, which was designed by England’s six-time major winner Nick Faldo in 2009 and was ranked No. 3 in Northern Ireland by Top100GolfCourses.com in 2017, and Castle Hume, a course that has hosted 10 Ulster PGA Championships.
Faldo’s course is a must-play for visitors to Lough Erne Resort, which European golf writer and President of the European Golf and Travel Media Association Jo Maes rates as one of the 10 best in the world…


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Le Touquet / Le Manoir Hotel

Le Touquet Golf Club is one of the best golf destinations in Continental Europe. Located between a forest and dunes on the Opal Coast of north-west France, it features two championship courses that take advantage of the diverse environment. La Mer is a classic Scottish links-style course designed by British architect Harry Colt and built in 1931. It has hosted the French Open several times, the most recent of which the great Seve Ballesteros won in 1977. Elevated tees provide lovely views of the sea. La Forêt is laid out in the Le Touquet pine forest, which offers a more sheltered experience than the windy dunes. It was designed by fellow Englishman Horace Hutchinson and opened in 1904. The tranquility of the wooded course was broken when part of La Forêt was damaged in World War I. And again, as the Second World War intensified and Allied forces made landfall in France during June 1944, buildings surrounding the courses were bombed…


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