Golf enthusiasts rejoice—these destinations are among the best in the world to make golfing your number one vacation priority. From famous international courses to championship domestic links, these destinations are rich in both public and private courses, plus have resorts and hotels ideal for golfers. Check out these top five course picks for 10 of the world’s best golf destinations, plus more spots for the determined bucket-list golfer.
You can’t consider yourself a serious golfer without having played at a Scottish course. Scotland is considered the sport’s homeland, as the birthplace of the game, its rules, the 18-hole course, and golf member clubs.
The Golden State is home to some of the country’s best courses, and with its pristine weather year-round, it’s no secret why. Throughout the state, you’ll find some of the best courses in the game.
Where to Play: Cypress Point Club and Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines’ South Course in San Diego, CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, and TPC Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta.
Where to Play: Nanea Golf Club in Kailua-Kona, Makai Golf Club at Princeville on Kauai, The Hualalai Golf Course in Kailua-Kona, Turtle Bay Resort’s Palmer Course on Oahu, and Poipu Bay Golf Course on Kauai.
Like Scotland, Ireland has strong golf history, and some of the world’s most renowned courses. While the weather might not always cooperate, the fairways are always a pristine green.
Where to Play: Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, Tralee Golf Club in County Kerry, Waterville Golf Links in County Kerry, European Club in Wicklow, and Ballybunion’s Old Course in Country Kerry.
Both North and South Carolina are easy golf destinations for East Coasters. From Kiawah Island in South Carolina to historic Pinehurst, these neighboring states have everything you need for a great golf vacation, with tons of public courses and resort hotels with direct access.
Where to Play: Pinehurst Course No. 2 and Dormie Club both in Pinehurst, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head at The Sea Pines Resort, and The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach.
Australia & New Zealand
If you’re going to make the trek to Oceania for a round of golf, you might as well hit both destinations. With their summers happening during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, both Australia and New Zealand have incredible courses that make for a great off-season escape.
Where to Play: In Australia Royal Melbourne’s West Course outside of Melbourne, Kingston Heath in Melbourne, and Cape Wickham in Tasmania. In New Zealand, Kauri Cliffs Golf Course in Matauri Bay and The Kinloch Club in Taupo, both located on the North Island.
This Caribbean island has close to 30 courses … and you don’t even need a passport to get there. While other Caribbean islands and Mexico also boast beautiful golf resort courses, Puerto Rico’s varied offerings and ease of accessibility secured it a top spot on the list.
Where to Play: TPC Dorado Beach’s West and East Courses, Royal Isabela Golf Links in Isabela, El Conquistador Resort’s course in Fajardo, and Wyndham Grand Mar Beach Resort’s Ocean Course in Rio Grande.
With 2,400 courses, the U.S.’ northern neighbor has plenty to offer when it comes to golfing. And while the golf season is shorter due to colder weather, the greater Toronto area in particular offers some of the country’s best summer greens.
Where to Play: Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links courses in Inverness, Nova Scotia; St. George’s Golf Club and Country Club near Toronto, Hamilton Golf Club & Country Club’s West-South Course in Hamilton, Ontario; and The National Golf Club of Canada, also close to Toronto.
The number of golf courses in Florida is overwhelming, but its resorts and pleasant weather lend to fabulous golf year round. After all, there’s a reason why the state is home to the PGA Tour Golf Academy and other top golf schools.
Where to Play: TPC Sawgrass’s THE PLAYERS Stadium Course in Ponta Vedra Beach, Calusa Pines in Naples, Streamsong’s Red and Blue courses in Streamsong, and Trump National Doral’s Blue Monster Course in Miami.
RELATED: 10 Best Florida Beach Resorts
Italy is the only continental European country to make the list. The country earns top honors with close to 300 golf courses, set amongst one of the world’s most historic and gorgeous landscapes.
Where to Play: Olgiata Golf Club in Rome, Golf Club Castelfalfi’s Mountain Course in Tuscany, Golf Club Castelconturbia’s Blue Course outside of Milan, and Torino-La Mandria’s Blue Course and Royal Park I Roveri’s Trent Jones Sr. Course, both in Turin.
While these destinations didn’t make the top 10, they certainly are worthy golf hotspots that are on the radar of many pros.
- Bermuda: Don’t let its size fool you—Bermuda has the world’s highest number of golf courses per square mile: 7 total on the 21-square mile island. Don’t miss out on tee times at Port Royal Course in Southampton, The Mid Ocean Club in Tucker’s Town, and Turtle Hill Golf Club at Fairmont Southampton.
- Arizona: Check out Phoenix’s Arizona Biltmore‘s two courses and Gold Canyon Golf Resort‘s two courses, as well as Tucson’s Catalina Foothills’ Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club and Omni Tucson National Resort‘s courses.
- Portugal: With almost 100 courses, Portugal is a rising resort golf destination. The Algarve region leads the pack with Monte Rei Golf and Country Club and Onyria Palmares. Don’t forget the Azores island chain either, with Furnas Golf Club, and also the town of Sintra, which has Penha Longa Resort.
- Georgia: While its most pristine courses—Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta and Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta— are private , Georgia is still considered a bucket-list destination for any golfer. If you can’t get a tee time at either of those courses, try the Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island or Golf Club at Cuscowilla in Eatonton, both of which are highly ranked public courses.
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