UK Golf Breaks
Britain may be home to some of the greatest golf courses in the world - but unfortunately, fans of the game can't always rely on the weather. Winters render golf largely unplayable, so by the spring a golfer's thoughts naturally turn to the fairway.
Resorts around the world have recognised the demand among Brits for golf breaks, devising a multitude of options - from short breaks and a few rounds to more comprehensive packages featuring professional tuition.
Such a choice is naturally fantastic news for golfers, but that doesn't mean their partners have to feel excluded. Some of the leading golf resorts, particularly those in Spain, Portugal, France and Belgium, boast luxury spas and other facilities - so that fear of boredom can be laid to rest.
While love of the game is enthusiasts' main reason for golf holidays, there is another - the beauty of the courses. The Algarve's fairways and beautifully-manicured greens boast stunning Atlantic backdrops and unspoilt sunsets - and guaranteed good weather. The trademark sea breeze may be welcome per se, but it also provides golfers with an exciting playing challenge.
Perhaps you're thinking of a golf holiday but want to use your own clubs? After hours of practising with your own, it's understandable that you may not want to settle for a resort's set. Courses on the continent allow you to bring your own clubs, but holidaymakers are advised to pack them in a padded or hard case for the flight. Further, budget airlines can charge extra for clubs - so it's worth checking in advance.
One thing you can be sure of on a golf holiday is superb accommodation, from luxury villas to convenient city centre apartments. With your golf holiday company able to arrange hire too, you'll have all bases covered - which means you can concentrate on improving that handicap.
UK Golf Breaks
"Golf is a good walk spoiled" Mark Twain once said, but the Huckleberry Finn author had obviously never taken a golfing break in the wonderful climes of the United Kingdom (either that or he wasn't very good).
Of course nowadays it's hard to find time for a walk, let alone a way to ruin it - which is all the more reason to take off on a golfing break when you get the chance not abroad, but right here in Britain. Not only do England, Scotland and Wales boast some of the world's greatest golf courses, but in these times of austerity, what better place to hone that swing than your own doorstep?
If you spend your days on the golf course and are looking to test your skills on the UK's golfing meccas, there are plenty of locations to try. Whether it's Newcastle's Royal County Down Golf Club nestled at the foot of the majestic Mountains of Mourne, the irreplaceable 'Home of Golf' St Andrews or the picturesque but challenging Turnberry with views of the Mull of Kintyre - the UK has enough to satisfy even the most fervent of golf buff.
Equally, if you're a beginner and looking to learn the game over a relaxing weekend then there are plenty of breaks that will help you to cut your teeth. Garnant Park in Wales, The Grove in England and Braid Hills in Scotland are all beautiful courses that operate a 'pay and play' policy. This means you can stay in a local B&B or hotel in some of the most scenic parts of the UK and avoid the expensive course fees and red tape that goes with some course and country clubs.
So, next time you fancy a break why or decide to take your clubs on a jolly, consider the British Isles and the opportunities it holds for golfers of all abilities.
Golfing Holiday Destinations
For avid golfers, no holiday is complete without easy access to a quality course. Such is the relaxing nature of golf that unlike other sports, it can form an integral part of a holiday.
Most golfing holidays are not only suitable for all levels of player - many are also perfectly situated for non-golf oriented activities. So if your husband, wife or children are not as keen on the fairways and greens as you are, they'll still be plenty of things to keep them occupied.
If you're looking for a holiday that will accommodate your passion for golf, why not consider the following options?
Golf Holidays in Spain
Breathtaking Spain has it all: sun, sea, sand, culture and, of course, top-quality golf courses. A firm favourite among golfers for many years, most of Spain's courses are year-round destinations, making it perfect for rain-free spring and autumn breaks. What's more, Spain offers great value for money.
Some Spanish destinations well worth investigating (if you haven't already) are Marbella, Alicante and La Manga.
- Marbella, and the glorious Costa del Sol features (in addition to world-famous courses) sun-drenched beaches and family-friendly resorts.
- Alicante, in the south of the Valencia region is another top Spanish golfing destination. There are many courses situated around Alicante (and along the Costa Blanca), and the city itself has a rich history that's guaranteed to keep any non-golfers interested for the duration of the stay.
- La Manga is one of Europe's most famous golf resorts, and with more hours of sunshine than any other on the continent, it's not hard to see why.
Golf Holidays in Portugal
With beautiful weather year-round and over 30 golf courses, the Algarve is the perfect holiday destination for the whole family. Base yourself in one of the many small towns, such as Alvor and Albufeira, or a resort, such as Vilamoura, and prepare for a relaxing break.
Another great destination for those who like their courses with lashings of sun, Portugal is a golfer's paradise. Three of the best areas to explore are the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto.
With beautiful weather year-round and over 30 golf courses, the Algarve is the perfect holiday destination for the whole family.
Lisbon is another great golfing destination, with courses to suit all ages and abilities. The Lisbon Golf Coast, as the region has come to be known, includes 22 18-hole and two nine-hole courses, many of which are of a high enough standard to host European PGA events.
Below we list three (one from each of Lisbon's three regions):
- Golden Eagle. Located 35 minutes north of Lisbon (in the Oeste Region), this is one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the area. Perfectly structured, this course (designed by Rocky Roquemore) is a real joy to play.
- Troia Golf. A masterpiece of a golf course, located in the Costa Azul region, Troia is known as one of the most challenging in all of Portugal. Created by legendary course designer Robert Trent Jones Senior, this links course boasts some fantastic views of the ocean.
- Penha Longa Atlantico. Another Trent Jones-designed course (this time by Robert Trent Jones Junior) Penha Longa Atlantico winds up and down the hills in the Estoril/Sintra region. This championship course provides a particular challenge when the wind is up; the uphill greens are also tricky.
Golf Breaks to France
Northern France is the perfect destination for those looking for a short break, with many resorts and hotels including the cost of Eurotunnel tickets in their prices. The following destinations are particularly popular:
- Nestled between pine forests and sand dunes the three courses in Le Touquet have quickly become some of the most popular in France.
- The unique courses around Arras are a nice mixture of member's clubs, commercial establishments and smaller local courses.
- Perfect for a weekend getaway, the area around the beautiful walled town of Montreuil features several nine and 18-hole courses.
- Popular with a number of famous names since its creation in 1901 (including Alexander Fleming), the links course at Wimereux poses a tricky challenge with thick rough and pot bunkers.
In addition to the above destinations, Belgium is another great country for golf fans to explore, with the number of courses across the country increasing.