With more and more destinations vying for prominence in the golf market, how can you choose the right course for your client? Peter Ellegard suggests resorts and destinations to suit different golfing requirements
Golfers on a budget.
While golfers tend to have more disposable income than other holidaymakers, there are lots of options for those who need to keep spending on a tight rein.
The courses of northern France make a wallet-friendly golf escape reachable by car via Eurotunnel or ferry. The Pas de Calais region has attracted British golfers for well over a century to courses such as Wimereux, and Le Touquet & Hardelot.
Normandy and Brittany are featured for short golfing breaks by Brittany Ferries and operators including Golf Planet Holidays, Golfbreaks.com and Golf Par Excellence.
In Ireland, green fee prices have come down as a result of the country’s economic crisis and a fall in visiting golfer numbers after post-2006 Ryder Cup price hikes. GolfBreaks.com and Your Golf Travel are among operators featuring Ireland’s courses.
Both operators also feature UK breaks. Marriott has 11 golf and country clubs around the UK and offers breaks year-round for golfers and their families.
Clubs and Groups
The traditional golfing holiday for golf club members wanting to maximize their time on the fairways is particularly popular in winter and early spring.
Portugal’s Algarve remains a top destination, and Spain’s Costa del Sol has been reasserting its pole position, hosting the influential International Golf Travel Market for the past two years.
However, higher prices and crowded fairways in peak periods have encouraged golfers to look at alternative sunshine venues in recent years. They include Belek in Turkey, and Tunisia and Morocco, as well as other areas of Spain including the Canaries, Costa Blanca, Costa Brava and Majorca. Italy is also now promoting its year-round golf.
More golfing groups are also taking mid-haul and even long-haul breaks, bringing places such as Dubai, Egypt, South Carolina, Florida and South Africa into the equation.
Operators include Golfbreaks.com, Premier Iberian and Golf Planet Holidays, with Longwood Holidays featuring Egypt.
Golfers with Young Families
Caribbean resorts including several Beaches and Breezes properties as well as upmarket Half Moon in Jamaica have extensive children’s facilities in addition to golf on site or close by. Half Moon’s Golf Academy includes “family beginners” and “junior” tuition classes. Club Med offers children’s tuition at its golf resorts.
Marriott encourages families to learn and play golf together through its “Kids Golf-4-Free” initiative, offering free rounds, clubs, and tuition offers.
La Manga Club in Spain has launched a Finlandia kids’ program with supervised activities to keep them busy while their parents are on the fairways or in the spa.
In Scotland, Gleneagles’ Gundog School shows youngsters aged from eight to 11 how to handle a trained gundog, with the emphasis on fun. Other child-friendly resorts include the Sheraton hotel at the Algarve’s Pine Cliffs Resort and Gloria Golf Resort in Belek, which is featured by Anatolian Sky.
Shopaholic & Spa-loving Golfers
Golfers and their partners wanting to splash some cash have many tempting destinations and resorts to choose from.
For a bit of bling and buy, try the upmarket hotels and golf courses in Dubai, and go shopping for gold in the souks.
Mind you, neighboring Abu Dhabi is outlining Dubai these days: stay at the opulent Emirates Palace and enjoy a Royal Experience package, which includes Rolls-Royce transportation to the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, gourmet lunch in the iconic clubhouse and a round of golf with a chauffeured air-conditioned Rolls Royce golf buggy stocked with chilled drinks.
The newly-opened Saadiyat Beach Golf Club will even have a Guggenheim- designed clubhouse.
There are top-dollar resorts and courses around the world. New Zealand has Kauri Cliffs, a Relais & Chateaux resort and lodge set within 6,500 acres, a favorite with Tiger Woods. A round at this year’s US Open host course, Pebble Beach in California, costs $495 and requires a minimum two-night stay at the resort.
Many golf resorts offer spa facilities, so non-golfing partners can pamper themselves while their other halves play.
Fairmont, Hyatt and Marriot are among hotel groups with golf and spa resorts worldwide. Fairmont offers golf in Canada, the US, Mexico, Bermuda, South Africa and at the Fairmont St Andrews, in Scotland’s home of golf. Specialist operator Frontier World has a dedicated Fairmont program featuring its golf resorts.
Mediterranean golf and spa resorts include Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus, with its Greco-Roman themed Retreat Spa.