9 of the Best Courses you’ve never heard of but need to play…
This week’s blog is a guide to the best nine courses that you will (probably) not have heard of! Whether you are looking for a golf course to centre your next trip around or just interested in hearing about what is out there, this is the perfect blog for any discerning golfer.
Real Club Sevilla Golf was designed by Jose Maria and boasts one of the finest courses in Europe as well as a central location just a few minutes from the centre of Sevilla. The course boasts beautiful scenery, tree-lined fairways, numerous strategically placed bunkers, undulating greens and nine lakes to contend with. The course is relatively flat which means that you can easily walk your way around, but it does feature a testing layout. As you make your way around the course, you will find a challenge on every corner. This is a brilliant course ideal for both amateurs and professionals alike.
The first signature hole of the course is a 160-yard par-3 from an elevated tee over a lake towards a narrow green which is set at 45 degrees – you must control your tee shot on this hole. With each hole, the course increases in difficulty and the 18th is a spectacular finishing hole. It is a long, 440-yard par-4 where you must carry your tee shot over 200 yards in order to miss the water, your approach is then uphill to a green protected by more water both at the front and to the left. One of the best things about this course is that it is a little off the beaten track, which means that it is unspoilt and well-manicured all year round. With the beautiful and historic city of Seville on its doorstep and a brilliant round of golf on offer, you cannot go wrong with this club for your next golf escape. If you are looking for a great, testing round of golf which will offer you a delightful golfing experience, look no further than a round on the Real Club Golf Sevilla.
Up next, we have Crete Golf Club which was designed by the highly-acclaimed golfing legend, Bob Hunt. This stunning 18-hole course boasts a very special location in Hersonissos just on the outskirts of the resort of Malia. The backdrop of the course as you make your way around is simply breath-taking with views of the Mediterranean landscape. The course opened in 2003 and has since become popular with locals and alike, since then, the course has undergone extensive renovations and reopened in 2015. There is no doubting that this course will become even more popular among discerning golfers in the next couple of years.
The course boasts a complete technical challenge with both short and lengthy holes, its layout winds its way through rocks and ravines whilst offering its guests the most stunning views of Cretan landscapes. The course has a quartet of memorable par-3s along the course, two on the front nine and two on the back. Many players would say that the best of these is the 6th which is 198 yards long from the back markers. You must carry your tee shot over a deep gorge to reach the two-tiered green which has been cut into the foot of a hillside – many would say that if you score 3 on this hole, you have achieved a birdie. Stunning scenery, year-round beautiful weather and a brilliant round of golf – why wouldn’t you choose Crete Golf Club for your next golf escape?
Situated in Etnas Natural Park within the North-Eastern region of the mountains in Sicily sits the Il Picciolo Golf Club. This special course is one of only half a dozen golf courses that are currently open for play in Sicily – however, there are many more under construction. The course winds its way through a mass of oak trees, vineyards, hazelnut trees and even ancient lava flows which have been carved out by Mount Etna. This is a course where the holes will be etched in your memory long after you walk off the 18th. The club is very special as it was developed in 1989 but due to its remarkably unique landscape, it feels as if it has been situated here for centuries. However, you must make sure to not be distracted by the interesting scenery as the course boasts plenty of challenges including water hazards and brutal out of bounds to steer clear of.
The course measures just under 6,000 metres from the championship tees and plays to a par of 72. There are some brilliant highlight holes including the short par-4s like the 3rd hole where out of bounds run the length of the fairway to the left making it a tight hole to play. The course’s signature hole is considered to be the very short 15th (it measures less than 100 metres from the back tees) where the backdrop is Mount Etna and there is a three-tiered green, this hole rarely yields anything less than a “3” on the scorecard. Il Picciolo is a special golf club and with more courses coming to the region of Sicily, it will soon be a popular golfing destination.
The Al Hamra Golf Club is a brilliant, exciting and challenging golf course which is situated in Ras Al Khaimah. The course was designed by Peter Harradine and flows through four inter-connected open water lagoons which merge with the Arabian Gulf. The course measures a long 7,325 yards from the back tees and was designed in the manner of a traditional links course. This course is perfect as a holiday course as it is playable for all standards of golfers as there are five varies tee shots meaning that those from accomplished player to novices can enjoy their round. Water hazards come into play at several of the holes; most notably on either side of the fairway on the 3rd hole. The 18th is an intimidating par-5 where water is lying in wait to catch any errant shots along the right of the hole right from the tee to the triple-tiered green.
The club is situated 50 minutes’ drive from Dubai airport and right next to the five-star Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah where you can find world-class facilities and luxurious service. This is arguably the best links layout in the UAE, so make sure that it is on your radar next time you are planning a golf break.
Situated in the heart of a beautiful valley on the outskirts of Stellenbosch is De Zalze Golf Club. The course measures 6,369 yards from the back tees and boasts a mixed parkland and woodland layout. Golfers of all standards will find this course a challenge as accuracy is very important if you are to finish the round with a pleasant scorecard. The course’s signature hole is the short par-4 13th hole where you walk out onto a boardwalk where you can find three tees out in a lake from which you must carry your ball onto the fairway which is to the right-hand side of the water. Those who are big hitters may be tempted to go straight for the green but that would be inadvisable!
After your round, make sure to venture into the clubhouse as you can enjoy a few beverages whilst looking out across the Blauuwklippen River and the Stellenbosch Mountains. With a very special location, an interesting layout and beautiful scenery, make sure that you take a look into taking your next golf escape to South Africa as you will be surprised at the brilliant courses that you can find there.
The Emporda Links course boasts fast and wide fairways which have been defined with mounding and deep rough but very little trees. This course is a complete contrast to its neighbour, the Forest course, but it is a stunning test of golf which requires the utmost accuracy if you are to score well. It is no surprise that the course consistently ranks as one of the top 20 courses in Northern Spain due to its interesting layout and excellent condition.
Although the course is quite open, there are many strategically placed water hazards which are all lying in wait to catch any errant shots as you make your way around the courses. One of the best things about this course is that it is rarely very busy which means that you can enjoy a leisurely round taking in the scenery and enjoying the layout of this brilliant course. If you are thinking about taking a golf break to the Costa Brava, look no further than Emporda Links for an excellent round of golf.
Now, technically, this blog contains information about ten impressive golf courses rather than nine as there are two brilliant courses situated at Ribagolfe which is up next on our list. Ribagolfe is located an hour’s drive from the city of Lisbon but it is well worth the drive with 36 brilliant holes of golf situated here.
Ribagolfe I is considered to be one of the best courses that we have ever played, although the course only opened in 2004, it is already mature with 18 very memorable holes. The course measures 7,370 yards from the back tees and is not an easy round of golf. Treacherous lakes come into play on the back nine holes on the 12th, 14th and 15th and these late holes can really damage your scorecard if you aren’t an accurate player. With cork tree-lined fairways, water hazards and undulating well-bunkered greens create one of the finest courses that you will ever have the opportunity to play.
Ribagolfe II is a slightly shorter but tighter round of golf than its older sibling but still enjoys the magnificent setting. This course is more suited to the club handicap golfer due to the extensive water hazards which must be taken seriously if you are not to damage your scorecard irreparably. The course boasts large, contoured greens and a beautifully balanced set of par-3s with the toughest being the 3rd where trees partially block the route to the green on the right-hand side. With two stunning golf courses at this complex, it is well worth driving that little bit extra to enjoy these courses when you are next in Lisbon.
Situated in Almeria is Aguilon which is a course that opened in 2007. The course boasts a very special location situated at the foot of the Sierra Aguilon mountains which means that the scenery is simply stunning. This course is definitely not one for beginners as there are many strategically placed bunkers, lakes, palm trees and ravines which you must navigate your way around successfully in order to finish the round with a nice scorecard. Besides from the hazards, there are further distractions due to the spectacular sea and mountain views that you can enjoy as you make your way around the course. If you are going to choose to stay in one of the popular golf resorts further to the south, this is worth the drive up to enjoy this gem of a golf course.
If you are looking for a firm but fair test of golf on a beautiful course, make sure that you make the journey to play at Aguilon as it is truly a round that you won’t forget anytime soon!
Last, but certainly not least, we have Hanbury Manor which was designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus II. The course opened for play in 1990 and has since become to be one of the most well-respected golfing venues in the country and it isn’t hard to see why. The course is kept in brilliant condition all year round and has hosted the English Open on the European Tour.
Measuring over 6,660 yards from the medal tees, this course is not an easy one. The 8th hole is the toughest hole of the course, it measures 425 yards with out of bounds all the way along the right-hand side. The approach shot to the green is a difficult one, even if you are lucky enough (or skilled enough!) to be in the middle of the fairway when you take the shot. The green is elevated and protected to the left by a lake and a grassy hollow to the right, the green slopes towards the lake so watch out when you are making your putt. A variety of holes, beautiful scenery and a great location makes this an ideal destination for your next golf escape.
We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s blog and that a few of these courses have caught your eye! Make sure to give us a ring if you want to discuss any of these further or take a look around the website for further inspiration.