This week’s blog is a guide to nine tricky golf courses for those who like a challenge. It is fair to say that golfers often do not tend to go after the easy option; they would much rather seize the opportunity to show off to their fellow players. Here, we have hand-picked some of the most challenging golf courses in Europe. All nine of these fantastic golf courses offer a stern test of golf that can be best appreciated by players that like to be kept on their toes, and those that ultimately search for an invigorating challenge.

The Espiche Golf Lagos is a hidden gem in the Algarve, one of the most popular golfing destinations in Europe. Players must navigate around the 18 holes here, through a unique layout with a challenge characterised by the strategic placement of greenery and fauna. While the fairways may appear to be on the generous side, with dense forestry lining the edges and subtle contouring, golfers are guaranteed an unforgettable test of golf. This par 72 golf course has been designed to incorporate most of the landscape’s natural features, which in turn creates a stunning landscape, and of course a fantastic challenge. Not only must golfers anticipate masses of greenery and fauna to manoeuvre their shots around; the layout is also rife with bunkers and water features that run their natural course throughout the course. Despite the Espiche Golf Lagos being a relatively new golf course in the Western Algarve, it has already established itself as one of the most challenging and unique golf courses in the area. With this layout, players will find they will succeed more in course management if they prioritise accuracy over the length of their shots. There are some truly tricky tight spots throughout, therefore the general line of advice for those that want to attempt the Espiche Golf Lagos is to take plenty of spare balls! Golfers must anticipate the challenge at the par-4 3rd hole as it is widely considered to be the most difficult on the course with a 409-metre-long uphill fairway. Whilst the fairway here appears to be generously wide, the subtle undulations are sure to trip up even the most experienced player.

The Dolce Campo Real Lisboa golf course is situated just half an hour’s drive away from the centre of Lisbon. Here, golfers can enjoy an invigorating round of golf across a unique terrain with rolling hills and valleys. The challenge does not end here; not only is the landscape truly unique with consistent elevation changes, but there are also dense areas of greenery and forestry throughout. Golfers must play with the perfect balance of accuracy and length in order to manoeuvre their shot across the many water hazards and some tricky doglegs which demand a blind shot. Even the most skilled players will find every element of their game challenged at the Dolce CampoReal Lisboa as they must overcome the natural terrain of the original landscape. Donald Steel, one of the most famous golf architects in the world, has created a fantastic golf course built on the natural beauty of the former terrain. The golf course that stands today is rife with the original landscape’s features, including the natural greenery and fauna weaving in and out of the stunning valleys and hills. Players are wrong for assuming they have an advantage with an anticipated view from the elevated tees; the greens are subtly undulating, creating a surprising challenge.

The Shire is widely considered to be among some of the best golf courses in the UK, as well as one of the most challenging. Designed by the leading golf architect Seve Ballesteros, the Shire golf course is guaranteed to keep golfers on their toes throughout their game. Players can enjoy a fantastically varied round of golf; at this golf course, no hole is even remotely similar. The golf course comprises of six par threes, six par fours and six par fives, all of which offer a unique layout and a stern test of golf. Long hitters will feel right at home here as their skills will be utilised best with the challenge to overcome the many large water hazards. They can reap the benefits of the risk-reward system at this golf course, and those that cannot rise to the challenge will be penalised. The challenge here does not just end at the strategic placement of the water hazards and the sheer size of them; there are over 10,000 trees at this parkland golf course just waiting to swallow any wayward shots. Furthermore, the greens are unbeatably fast and feature subtle contours to trip up even the most skilled golfer.

The Salobre New, formerly known as the Salobre North, is a distinctive golf course that is guaranteed to set the hearts racing of all players, regardless of their skill set or experience. This golf course offers a unique round of golf to its players with an original landscape that is sure to be remembered for years to come. Despite the fact that this par 69 golf course is not nearly as long as its sister golf course, the Salobre Old, nor the other golf courses in the surrounding area, that is not to say that golfers will find a round of golf here a walk in the park. The Salobre New was designed with the emphasis on the use of accuracy instead of length, meaning golfers must be sure to play with their A-game throughout their round. Despite only opening in 2008 as a new addition to the huge variety of golf in Gran Canaria, the Salobre New has already created a steady reputation for itself as one of the most challenging golf courses on the island. A highlight of the stern test of golf on offer at the Salobre New includes the par-4 10th hole where players must utilise the use of their iron in order to cross an undulating fairway to reach the multi-tiered green.

One of the most unique golf courses in the Algarve includes the Monte Rei, which has accurately been labelled as “the jewel in the crown of Portuguese golf”. Conveniently for players, the Monte Rei is home to a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere to soothe any tempers raised from the challenging layout they have to overcome. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, one of the most famous golf architects in history, at the Monte Rei, golfers are guaranteed to have an unforgettable round of golf. Despite the huge range of golf in the Algarve and its constant expansion, the Monte Rei has continued to maintain a big name for itself in Europe. The main challenge here is characterised by the nature and placement of water hazards and bunkers; in order to maintain a steady scorecard, golfers must play with the perfect balance of length and accuracy across the 7,224-yard-long layout. Nicklaus certainly did not hold back in the use of water hazards for this layout, as they feature in eleven out of the eighteen holes here. The challenge does not simply end here; with original fauna and greenery, strategic bunkering and undulating terrain, the Monte Rei is not a good golf course for players to choose if they want to show off to their fellow players.

The par 73 Alferini golf course is a stand-out course in the midst of all the classic Spanish layouts in the Costa del Sol. Instead of just providing an attractive layout and a pretty scenery, the architect of the Alferini, Antonio Garcia Garrido, has succeeded in striving to create a fantastic golf course that offers a great challenge. Many of the golf courses in the Costa del Sol are typically attractive, and some might say they lack a certain edge to them. However, the Alferini puts this preconception to waste with a truly unique layout that is sure to provide a stern test of golf to all those that attempt it. The golf course was designed and created with its natural features in mind in order to preserve its original beauty and to maintain the landscape’s unique features. The par 5 16th hole is a particular stand-out to all of its players. At this hole, long hitters may initially revel in the lengthy and seemingly straightforward fairway. However, as any experienced golfer can advise – looks can often be deceiving! As the fairway approaches the green, it narrows significantly, therefore the element of accuracy must be focused in on as players soon find themselves surrounded by bunkers. With a unique layout that is sure to make low handicappers break a sweat, it comes as no surprise that Michael Campbell has labelled this hole as his favourite across the entire golf course.

The Le Golf National Albatros is known as the most challenging golf course in the surrounding areas around the French capital, therefore it hardly comes as surprising that it was selected as the 2018 Ryder Cup venue. It is fair to say that this golf course has lived up to each and every one of its expectations, and this has been shown to be the case as players return year after year. Golfers push their skills to their limit to make the most out of the risk-reward system the golf course operates on. Golfers are thrown into the challenge here from the get-go; however, the real challenge lies right at the end of the round at the par 4 18th hole. This is the hole to make or break an unforgettable round of golf with a huge water hazard positioned to the left side of the fairway and areas of dense bunkering on the right side. Here, the determinant of success lies in the approach shot. Whether players are happy with the end result or not, their round at the Le Golf National Albatros is sure to be a memorable one.

The La Manga Club West is the perfect golf course for any golfer looking for a challenging yet varied round of golf. The front and the back loops of nine differ in both their characteristics and the skills that they demand. The front nine holes demand golfers play with precise accuracy, and while the back nine appear to be more open, any decent player knows never to take anything at face value. The back nine might comprise of a more open layout in comparison to the narrow and compact front nine, however that is not to say that they are any less challenging. Golfers will find themselves thrown into the challenge from the very first hole, and they must do their best to play consistently as the course rapidly changes in elevation. If players are able to focus on anything but the challenge at hand, they should take their time to appreciate the immaculately kept landscape here; spectators frequently comment on the fantastic condition of the West golf course. At the La Manga West, the best is saved until last at the final 18th hole. Here, golfers must push themselves for one last time in order to give a half-decent tee shot. If they cannot do this, then there is usually some leeway due to the width of the fairway, but golfers should not count on this.

At the Acaya Golf Club, the challenge lies in the difficulty of club selection. If players can manage this, then they have a chance to do well here. There is a huge range of challenges to be met at the Acaya Golf Club, therefore golfers must choose their club carefully. Players must overcome strategically placed bunkers and water hazards that come into play at many of the holes here in order to score well. Whilst the Acaya Golf Club is undeniably one of the most challenging golf courses in Italy, it is also one of the most breath-taking due to its stunning location in the heart of the countryside. The architects of the Acaya Golf Club sought to incorporate the features of the natural landscape with their vision to create a fantastic golf course that forces players to use all of the clubs in their arsenal. It is certainly a unique aim to want to encourage players to use all fourteen of their clubs, however it is fair to say that this has been achieved, and it simply adds to the challenge. With three huge lakes and dense green areas consisting of olive groves, players must anticipate a testing round of golf that they are sure not to forget any time soon. The main challenge here is characterised by water hazards as the three lakes at the golf course come into play mainly in the back nine holes. The 16th, 17th and 18th holes comprise of tricky par fours; therefore, players must be sure to save the best of their game until last.

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s blog, and hopefully, we have inspired you to push beyond your boundaries to truly test your golfing skills on your next golf holiday in Europe.

www.golf-escapes.com

 

This week’s blog is a guide to some very special golf resorts and their courses that are perfect for your 2018 golf escape. With 2017 almost coming to a close it is time to start thinking about when you will next be taking a golf break and where it will be to. These resorts and their courses are certainly worth booking right now for 2018 to avoid disappointment so that you can get the best tee times and dates at these brilliant courses.

First up we have the four-star Chervo Golf Hotel Spa and Resort which is situated in the province of Bresia just a few minutes from the shores of Lake Garda. The hotel boasts 75 rooms and suites and four different room types for you to choose from so that you can tailor your stay here to exactly what you want it to be like. There are two restaurants and three bars to choose from so you are never short of somewhere to eat and drink, even if you remain in the hotel for the duration of your stay! Whilst you are not in one of the pools or at the Wellness Spa Centre, we know that you will be out on the golf course enjoying a round at Chervo Golf San Vigilio. The course boasts 36 holes and 27 of them are championship standard. The course is always in excellent conditions and with very few out of bounds areas and wide fairways, it is an excellent holiday course with exceptional views. This is the perfect place for your next golf escape for 2018 and with all of its excellent facilities as well as 36 holes of golf to play here, it isn’t hard to see why.

The Macdonald Cardrona is a four-star hotel which is situated in amongst the beautiful Scottish Borders countryside. Not only does the hotel boast a scenic location, but it is has good links with both Edinburgh and Glasgow and is very close to the town of Peebles which is a lovely place to venture out to. All of the rooms here are spacious but cosy and feature all of the amenities that you would expect from a hotel of this rating. You can see beautiful views from your room across the Scottish Borders. The hotel boasts some excellent facilities including a spa with a sauna and Jacuzzi, a gym and an award-winning restaurant from which you can look out across the golf course and the Border Hills. The hotel’s onsite golf course, Macdonald Cardrona Golf Club, is a great championship course with undulating fairways and greens that stretch out over 7,000 yards. The course is a firm but fair test of golf and with the River Tweed coming into play on a number of holes, this course requires high levels of accuracy from players if you are to score well! This is arguably one of the most beautiful golfing venues in Scotland which makes it a top contender for your 2018 golf escape, especially if you are looking to stay in the UK rather than travel abroad.

Troia Design Hotel is a contemporary five-star hotel which is situated on the Troia peninsula just two minutes’ walk from the beach. This is a truly brilliant location as you have easy access to a lovely beach, the centre of Lisbon and beautiful views of the Arrabida Hills. The hotel offers you so much to do whilst you are there including: a casino, a fully-equipped spa which is the perfect place to relax and unwind and two large swimming pools (including one infinity pool). There are two onsite restaurants, B&G Restaurant where you can enjoy traditional Portuguese cuisine and the Salinas Brasserie which boasts an international menu with many seafood dishes. With all of these facilities as well as luxurious rooms and suites that all have their own private balcony, air conditioning and flat-screen TV, this is the perfect destination for your next golf break to Portugal and the golf hasn’t even been mentioned yet.

Aqualuz Hotel is just three minutes’ walk from the beautiful sandy beaches of the Troia Peninsula and is an elegant four-star suite property. The hotel boasts 365 apartments and each of them is decorated with a chic style and boasts everything that you could need including a kitchenette, a private balcony and a flat-screen TV. This means that you can cater for yourselves whilst you are here. However, for when you don’t want to cook, the hotel has two onsite restaurants serving delicious food. There is so much to do and enjoy here including the spa which has all of the amenities that you would expect including a Jacuzzi, an indoor pool, a Turkish bath and a sauna. If you are looking for a more active holiday, you won’t be disappointed as there are many other sports to do besides golf including water sports, cycling and trekking. This is a lovely place to stay, especially if you are looking to be self-catered and you are situated in a prime location.

The Troia golf course is the perfect addition to your stay either at Troia Design Hotel or Aqualuz Hotel. Troia golf course is a mix of both parkland and links golf and although there are very few water hazards, there are many strategically placed bunkers along the course and some very penal rough which is lying in wait for any errant shots. This is a course with a friendly welcome, a stunning course with some very interesting and challenging holes and a modern clubhouse to enjoy a drink and even a meal in afterwards. Make sure that these hotels and this course is on your mind when you are next thinking about your 2018 golf holiday.

Last, but certainly not least, on our list of suggestions is the four-star Marriott St Pierre Hotel and Country Club which is situated in Wales. This hotel is set in a stunning location and you can enjoy breathtaking views across over 400 acres of parkland here. The hotel boasts two golf courses, one of which is a stern test of golf and the other is a brilliant holiday course which means that when you are staying here you really do get the best of both world. All of the rooms are luxurious and are fitted with all of the amenities that you would expect from a hotel of this rating. Whilst you are not on one of the golf courses, you can enjoy relaxing in the hotel’s spa area or in the fitness club. The hotel’s two onsite restaurants are both brilliant. Morgans Restaurant offers Welsh inspired cuisine in a classic and contemporary setting whilst the Zest Lounge Bar and Eatery offers a more relaxed setting with contemporary dishes. This is a great hotel and one that will offer you the best service and a luxurious stay in a lovely location with excellent golfing options. The Mathern Course at St Pierre Country Club is the shorter and easier of the two courses but provides every golfer with a very enjoyable round. This course boasts a stunning parkland design and a layout that is perfect for golfers of all abilities. The Old Course at St Pierre Country Club has been ranked consistently as one of the top 120 courses in the world and it isn’t hard to see why. This is a long and testing course with some truly outstanding holes, its standout hole is arguably the closing 18th which is spectacular at 235 yards from the edge of the lake to a raised green which means that you must make a precise finishing shot for the putt. Make sure that this hotel and its fantastic golf is on your radar for your next UK golf break.

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s blog and that when you are planning your next 2018 golf escape, you will think about these hotels and golf courses and consider at least one of them for next year.

This week’s blog is the second part to our U.K golfing blog. Although the last few weeks have definitely been a little chillier than we are used to with the weather having been so mild all last winter and this autumn but on the whole the weather has been much warmer through the low-season months. This is great news for golf here as the courses stay in better condition for longer and you get to play the fantastic courses here for low-season rates but whilst playing in mid-season weather!

generic-cours

Tours in England and Ireland have become much more popular and we are constantly getting out to explore the hidden gems around the country looking for all the best golf courses that you can then book to play!

 

A key tip if you’re looking to book your next golf tour in the U.K is definitely to book early, big groups book their tee times very far in advance so to get the good ones you definitely have to get in there quickly!

ireland

In this blog, we have a few different fantastic resorts and a few different great golf courses that you should definitely consider looking into when planning your next golf break in England or Ireland…

dorset

First up we have the Dorset Golf & Country Club which is situated in a stunning, tranquil setting in the midst of a pine forest. This is a lovely resort and offers not only a lovely 16-bedroom hotel which is perfect for smaller groups but also some superb log cabins which sleep up to eight people in them. The log cabins are fully furnished and each have a fully-fitted kitchen so you have the option of self-catering very easily when staying here! The resort boasts a range of different facilities (aside for the magnificent golf course!) from fishing lakes to a fitness centre and sauna as well as an indoor championship bowls rink. There is plenty to do and see here but of course the highlight of the resort is the 27 holes of championship golf that are on-site. The Championship Course consists of three different loops of nine holes so you will be able to mix and match them to play the course you want to play. This is a beautiful location for your next golf break to Dorset and the golf here is not to be missed out on!

old-thorns

Hotel Old Thorns is a four-star luxury hotel set in the rolling hills of the Hampshire countryside and has no fewer than nine different options for accommodation! All of the rooms feature lovely ensuite bathrooms, flat-screen TVs and tea and coffee making facilities. There are also several options for dining from the casual sports bar to the luxurious King’s Restaurant where you can get a fantastic carvery! The Championship Course here is a great course for golfers of all abilities and will test even those with the lowest handicaps whilst not seeming too harsh for those with a higher handicap! This is a great holiday course to play and if there are members of the group less interested in golf then they can enjoy the beautiful spa at the hotel where they can get a range of different treatments and enjoy the facilities there. This hotel is in such an idyllic location and is something very special – one to consider for your next golf break in England!

barnham-broom

Set in the Norfolk countryside is the four-star Barnham Broom Hotel. The bedrooms have been recently refurbished and decorated to the highest standard with a contemporary theme. Just like the other hotels, there are different room types to suit each and every person but each are fully-fitted with all the amenities you would expect from a hotel of this rating and you are sure to enjoy your stay here. There is a lovely spa for guests to enjoy a whole range of different treatments from massages to facials to reflexology. For the keen golfers, onsite there are not one but two stunning Championship courses for you to enjoy here. This another superb option for your next golf holiday in England and with so much to do onsite and the accommodation being so lovely there is no reason to wait another minute to book your next golf break!

 

Next up we have three different courses which are well worth a play even if you don’t choose to stay in a resort nearby…

east-brighton

East Brighton Golf Club is a beautiful downland course with some spectacular coastal views. The great thing about this course is that it is normally open for play all-year-round because it is built on chalk it rarely suffers from the poor weather conditions here that we sometimes get in England. The course is a genuine test of golf for those of all abilities and is known for being a fair round of golf to play! It is just a five minutes’ drive from the centre of Brighton where there is so much to do and see you will definitely want to stay and play here!

royal-ashdown-forest-golf-club-old-course

The Old Course at the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club is a very old course but is still consistently ranked as one of the top 100 courses on the British Isles. Although you may feel settled by the fact that the course doesn’t have a single bunker to catch your errant shots, it is still known for being a true test of golf for even those with the lowest handicaps! Along the course there are some beautiful views across Sussex, Surrey and Kent and its location is simply stunning as well. This is a great course to play even if you are not planning on staying!

ring-of-kerry

In Ireland, the Ring of Kerry course is set amongst lakes and mountains to produce a simply stunning course and a testament to that is its placing as one of the top in the province. It’s a stunning parkland course with exhilarating elevation changes and water coming into play on many of the holes. This course features a great variety of different holes and after you have enjoyed a round here you will not be questioning why this is rated as one of the best courses in the country.

footer

We hope that you enjoyed this blog and are now considering which of these fantastic resorts or courses to base your next golf holiday in the UK around…