Ultimate Golf Travel Destinations

For those seeking the complete golf tourism experience, the destination needs to offer more than just a fantastic course. It should include luxury accommodations, fine dining, and engaging local attractions. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the ultimate golf travel destinations that offer all this and more, with a special emphasis on their remarkable golf courses.

Pebble Beach, USA

Nestled on California's stunning coastline, Pebble Beach boasts an iconic golf course that has hosted the U.S. Open multiple times. Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the par-72 course measures 6,828 yards from the back tees, offering a perfect blend of challenge and beauty. The course is carved from the rugged coastal cliffs, offering dramatic vistas and challenging shots over the ocean.

Notable holes include the short par-3 7th, a masterpiece where players must gauge the wind accurately to land their ball on the tiny, sloping green, surrounded by nothing but the Pacific Ocean. The par-5 18th hole is a stunning test of golf, with the ocean running down the left side and the fairway narrowing the closer you get to the green.

Stay at The Lodge at Pebble Beach for luxurious accommodations that overlook the course. Here, you can unwind with excellent service and amenities, including a world-class spa. Savor a sumptuous meal at The Tap Room, a classic American steakhouse with an extensive selection of draft beers and whiskeys, or visit Stillwater Bar & Grill for fresh seafood in an elegant dining room with stunning views of Carmel Bay. Explore the picturesque 17-Mile Drive for an unforgettable Californian coastal experience. The road weaves its way through a spellbinding landscape, offering views of dramatic cliffs, snow-white beaches, mystical forests, and iconic golf courses.

St. Andrews, Scotland

St. Andrews, known as the "Home of Golf," has hosted more Open Championships than any other course in the world. The Old Course, a par-72 course stretching to 7,305 yards from the championship tees, is famous for its unique double greens and the par-4 17th 'Road Hole'. Golfing here is an exercise in strategic shot placement as the course layout takes advantage of natural topography and weather conditions.

The Old Course is a unique golfing experience that links the town of St. Andrews to the North Sea. It is a public course on common land, with the course route changing direction to accommodate the prevailing winds. Golfers will face the challenge of the Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker, while the notorious 17th hole requires a blind tee shot over the Old Course Hotel.

For accommodation, the Old Course Hotel overlooks this famous course and offers a luxurious stay. Its suites provide breathtaking views, and its Kohler Waters Spa is one of the most advanced hydrotherapy centers in the world. Dine at The Seafood Ristorante, where you can enjoy exquisite seafood dishes in a stunning location overlooking St Andrews Bay, or The Doll's House, a favorite among locals for its Scottish fare and warm, rustic charm. Aside from golf, visit the historical St. Andrews Cathedral and the University of St. Andrews, which is the third oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Emirates Golf Club, Dubai

In Dubai, luxury and golf unite at the Emirates Golf Club, the first grass course in the Middle East. Its Majlis Course, a par-72 course measuring 7,301 yards, has hosted the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic and Dubai Ladies Masters. The course was designed by Karl Litten and is known for its undulating fairways lined with date and coconut palms, artificial lakes, and indigenous flora and fauna. The 8th and 9th holes are particularly memorable, with water coming into play, requiring strategic play and accurate shots.

The Address Montgomerie offers plush accommodations overlooking the course. This elegant resort, nestled within 265 acres of lush greenery, offers rooms and suites that open to private balconies with spectacular views. The property's signature spa allows guests to relax and rejuvenate after a day on the greens.

For dining, visit Nineteen, where you can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine with views of the golf course, or Links, a family-friendly restaurant with a relaxed setting. Be sure to visit Dubai's world-class attractions like the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure and building in the world, and the Dubai Mall, the second-largest mall globally by total land area, featuring over 1,200 shops.

Leopard Creek, South Africa

Leopard Creek, situated on the southern border of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, blends golf with exotic wildlife experiences. This Gary Player-designed, par-72 course stretches to 7,144 yards and features innovative architectural and landscaping techniques to ensure that the course is naturally protected from animals while lakes and small streams have been diverted through the development to create scenic vistas and interesting golf strategies. The course provides a perfect golf and wildlife retreat.

The nearby Singita Lebombo Lodge ensures a luxurious wilderness stay. This lodge, built with an eco-conscious design, features suites that offer breathtaking views of the surroundings. The lodge's restaurant serves authentic South African cuisine with ingredients sourced locally, ensuring a fresh and unique dining experience. Make time for a safari in Kruger National Park for unforgettable wildlife encounters. Guided by experienced rangers and trackers, you can see the 'Big Five' and a spectacular array of bird species.

Hirono Golf Club, Japan

Hirono Golf Club is Japan's top-rated course, offering a tranquil golf retreat. This par-72 course, measuring 6,925 yards, is considered one of Charles H. Alison's greatest designs. It's known for its well-bunkered greens, strategic bunkering, and the use of ravines and hills. It’s also admired for the exceptional quality of its par-3 holes, especially the 4th and 15th, which are beautifully framed by tall trees and involve carries over valleys.

Stay at the Nakanobo Zuien, a traditional Ryokan-style hotel, for a uniquely Japanese experience. This luxurious inn provides exquisite dining options, including Kaiseki-style multi-course meals. Explore the famous 'onsens' or hot springs in the nearby Kobe city and Arima Onsen area. The city of Kobe, with its multicultural architecture and vibrant nightlife, also offers other engaging experiences like a visit to the Kobe Harborland, a shopping and entertainment district.