Four underrated countries you should visit for an unbelievable golfing holiday
Golf has its established and well-worn locations set out, but there are terrific gems to be found if you stray from the beaten path.
Currently, anyone keen on volume is best served going to or staying in the United States, which is way ahead as the nation with the most golf courses.
While the United States has more than five times the number of golf courses as any other country, including 1250 in Florida alone, the remainder of the top 10 should come as no surprise to most ardent golfers.
With 3,169 courses, Japan ranks second, followed by Canada, England, and Australia. Germany, France, South Korea, Sweden, and Scotland round out the top 10, with China, Spain, Ireland, and South Africa close behind.
Barring China, all of these nations have produced a Major winner and could be considered as the establishment within the sport.
Here we look at five countries that are more underrated destinations for a golfing holiday.
New Zealand boasts the most golf courses of any of these underrated destinations, and the island country’s breathtaking scenery provides an abundance of raw material for golf course design.
New Zealand’s traditional courses have a strongly British feel, yet a slew of stunning courses developed subsequently have also gained international praise. Courses such as Tara Iti, Cape Kidnappers, Kauri Cliffs, and Jack’s Point have all been named among the best in the world. But the incredible wealth of golf goes much deeper, including the Alister MacKenzie-designed Titirangi just 30 minutes from Auckland’s Sky Tower and Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, which has hosted 12 New Zealand Opens.
South Africa boasts a remarkable 52 percent of Africa’s golf courses, while Morocco is the continent’s second-richest country in terms of overall fairways laid down.
Morocco has a long history of golf dating back more than a century. Many of its 56 courses are in or around Marrakech, as well as coastal locations including Agadir, Casablanca, Rabat, and Tangier. The Trophee Hassan II tournament on the European Tour is held at the Red Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones in the 1960s.
East of Morocco’s ancient capital city of Rabat sits an interior alpine hideaway with a unique golf course, the Michlifen Resort & Country Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus.
Midnight golf, huge lava fields, and gushing geysers make golf in Iceland an experience you won’t soon forget.
Iceland has 75 golf courses, the majority of which are nine holes. However, during the summer months of June and July, when the country receives 24 hours of sunlight every day, you’ll have plenty of time to attempt to cram in as many holes as possible on courses that are largely modelled after classic Scottish links.
Whether you’re playing in Reykjavik or a lovely fishing hamlet, there are spectacular mountain and ocean vistas, and while Iceland has a limited golf season (May through September), it also has a dedicated golfer base.
Iceland is said to have more golf courses per capita than any other country in the world, ranging from Westman Islands Golf Club on a volcanic island accessible by a 30-minute ferry ride to Geysir Golf Course, which is just a tee shot away from a world-renowned geothermal spring that attracts nearly 500,000 visitors each year.
There may not be a more rapidly expanding golf market in the world than Vietnam, which now boasts 78 courses and another 43 in various phases of construction.
Brian Curley, an American golf architect who spent more than 20 years designing courses on challenging terrain in China, thinks the sandy and dramatic Vietnamese scenery is “like a dream” in comparison. FLC Quong Binh, the most current of his five completed courses in the nation, extends through rising sand dunes bordering the South China Sea.
Nick Faldo’s stunning Laguna Golf Lang Co championship course has spectacular coastal vistas and an amphitheater-like mountain background.
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