valderrama-spain
30th September 2016

Golf Holidays to Suit You To a Tee: Europe’s Best Golf Courses

Since it’s Ryder Cup time and the world’s gone golf mad, we thought it might be a nice time to take a look at some of the incredible golf courses around Europe, all just a short flight away. There are thousands upon thousands of courses all over this lovely continent and loads of them more than worthy of a spot on this list – but here are five of our top picks, just to get you  dreaming about those faraway fairways…

For Beer Lovers

Karlstejn, Czech Republic

karlstejn-golf-czech

The Course:

Karlstejn opened in 1993 just after the dissolution of the Czechoslovakian state. It’s a beautiful 6,433 yard course that lies in the grounds of the beautiful Karlstejn Castle. The course is laid out over a beautiful hilly landscape with plenty of woodland, a few lakes, ravines and limestone outcrops, and the castle is within sight throughout the course. It’s a demanding course, designed to make bogeys easy and birdies elusive. There are lots of slopes and water hazards, with a few downhill holes (the second hole is a particularly good one), and it boasts some excellent short par fours. The course is slap-bang in the middle of Czech beer country too, so for anyone who likes a nice cold pint at the nineteenth you couldn’t ask for a better place to have it.

Fees & Facilities:

You’ll pay between €75-111 to play a round here. Advance booking is essential; it’s a very busy course. The clubhouse and facilities are great, and a buggy is advisable for those who want to avoid walking up and down lots of hills.

Get there:

Fly to Prague, drive southwest for under an hour and you’re there.

 

For Winter Golfers

Monte Rei, Algarve

monte-rei

The Course:

Portugal’s sunny Algarve is a perfect place for Europeans looking for some winter golf in mild weather, but there’s one stand-out course here; Monte Rei is probably among the most famous courses in Europe, and a bucket-list round of golf for most people who play. Nested in the foothills of the Eastern Algarve with mountain views to the north and an Atlantic vista to the south, it’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is challenging, and you can expect a thoroughly enjoyable challenge. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Monte Rei has eight par 4s, five par 3s and par 5s, and water features on eleven of the eighteen holes. Elevated tees/greens and big bunkers throughout the course add to the challenge, but you’ll enjoy every moment of it.

Fees & Facilities:

It’s pricey here – a round will set you back €220 in high season and €170 in low season – but you really get what you pay for. The clubhouse and resort are luxurious, the service is superb, and the course and facilities are just impeccable. It’s bucket list stuff, a course every golfer worth their weight in divots should play at least once in their lives.

Get There:

Fly to Faro, drive east, and you’ll be there in under an hour.

 

For Winos

Golf du Medoc

golf-du-medoc

The Course:

Just north of Bordeaux, Golf du Medoc is within putting distance of thousands of hectares of France’s famous vineyards. The best course at Medoc – a Scottish links style course designed by Bill Coore – is appropriately named ‘Les Chateaux’ – and although it’s not quite beside the sea (the coast is about 20km away), you’ll get the occasional Atlantic breeze that’ll make you feel like you are.

At 6,800 yards It’s a long course, particularly as there are only two par fives. Big hitters will have ample opportunity to put their power to the test, but overall there’s a superb mix of holes that will put anyone through their paces! If you have a great game, celebrate with plenty of beautiful Medoc wines in the clubhouse. If you have a terrible game, drown your sorrows with plenty of beautiful Medoc wines in the clubhouse.

Fees & Facilities:

It’ll cost you €82 to play here in high season (April – October) and €56 on off-season. If you plan on playing a bit, there’s a Medoc Golf Pass that’ll give you access to both courses at Medoc for €156 (€105 in off-season).

Get There:

Fly to Bordeaux, and it’s just 25 minutes’ drive north of the airport.

For Links Lovers

St. Andrews

st-andrews

The Course:

If you’re only built for Scottish Links, it absolutely has to be St. Andrews in Fife, ‘The Home of Golf’. Like Monte Rei, this is a bucket list course for any golfer – the Old Course here is one of the world’s oldest golf courses. And it’s not like any modern course on this list either; this one wasn’t designed by a pro golfer with state-of-the-art features and every inch designed by man with golf in mind – this course was largely created by mother nature. It can almost feel like an anti-climax to some first-timers – a grower rather than a shower, as it were – but every real golfer should play a round here at least once in their lives.

Take a moment to appreciate the Road hole, the par 4  17th hole of the course; it’s one of the world’s most famous holes. And if you end up in the Road Bunker when you play it, just take solace in the fact that you’re in good company – some of golf’s finest have had their Open dreams snuffed out in the very same sand.

Fees & Facilities:

Green Fees for the Old Course range from £85-£175 depending on the time of year. Jut remember that low season in Scotland – winter, that is – comes with Scottish winter weather. Weigh that up with your desire to save money on the green fees! The facilities at St. Andrew’s are fantastic.

Get There:

St. Andrews is just over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh Airport and two hours’ from Glasgow, with good public transport links from both airports.

The Bucket-Lister

Valderrama Malaga

valderrama-spain

The Course:

Oh, the beautiful course. At €350 for a weekend round (a mere €330  midweek), Valderrama is an eye-wateringly expensive course to play, so it really needs to deliver some bang for those bucks. And it really does. It’s dubbed ‘Europe’s Augusta’, it’s hosted multiple big Championships, and it’s the epitome of a bucket-list golf experience.

Put simply, Valderrama is superb. The course’s Andalusian hilltop location makes it breathtakingly beautiful, with views of Gibraltar from the fairways,. Its design is second to none, and it’s not an overplayed course (possibly due to the Green Fees!) so it’s usually in top condition. On top of that, it can be pretty unforgiving – this course has put manners on some of the best golfers of all time. There’s a good chance it’ll eat you up and spit you out, and an even better chance that you’ll enjoy every moment of it.

Fees & Facilities:

Yep, you’ll need to be prepared to part with €330 at a minimum to play here, but the course, facilities and service are all second-to-none. Save up and do it, even if you only do it once.

Get There:

Fly to Malaga, and from there it’s just over an hours’ drive along Spain’s Costa Del Sol.

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You can hire golf clubs at most courses but if you prefer to take your own, it’s worth remembering that we have dropped our charges so that you can now take your own trusty clubs with you for €30.
Dee Murray

Dee Murray

Dee Murray has a very simple travel MO... Go to great places; do awesome stuff; eat delicious food; then come home and write about it all.

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