The Top 50 Hidden Gem Golf Courses
Welcome to our guide to the top 50 hidden gem golf courses in Europe. We often hear about the same well-known golf courses across Europe, especially in the Algarve and the Costa del Sol, but we wanted to provide recognition to those courses who aren’t as well-known, but which offer an equally spectacular or even better game of golf!
To compile the rankings, we tracked hundreds of independent golf websites from around the globe and collected first-hand information from golf enthusiasts. We then created a shortlist of the top 50 hidden gem golf courses in Europe.
If you’re in the midst of researching and planning your next golfing holiday, make sure to read through our list of hidden gems. You never know, you could find the ideal course you’ve been searching for! While you’re here, why not find out more about our golf transfer services, for complete transport convenience on your next golf trip.
The Best Hidden Gem Golf Courses in Europe
1. Costa Navarino (The Bay Course)
This stunning course is laid out across a landscape which includes everything from olive greens, brash mountain canyons and the seashore leading into the sparkling blue ocean. It has to be said a particular highlight is the two holes which have been laid out alongside the famous Bay of Navarino. Robert Trent Jones Jnr has designed a gem of a golf course.
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2. Golf Club Vuissens
This course was initially opened as 6-holes in 2001. It wasn’t until the end of 2002 when people got to appreciate the brilliance of Vuissens across two returning loops of 9 holes. Rather impressively the course includes 5,000 planet trees and several man-made water hazards. This course is a real golfing challenge even for the very best of golfers, however, it does offer a little respite for the less proficient golfers with it being a shorter course.
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3. Waterford Castle Golf Course
This course can only be accessed by a private ferry, the only course of its nature in Ireland. This par 72 parkland resort was designed by Des Smyth and Declan Branigan. Although there is water surrounding the whole course, this hasn’t stopped the addition of water hazards coming into play. Playing on this course most times of the year is possible down to the sand based greens and tees used when the course was first built
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4. Thracian Cliffs Golf Course
This course was opened in 2011 and is located on the northern Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria it offers unique and stunning views for players. There is no other course like this one on the planet. It truly is one of a kind. When you play on this course you will appreciate the views, sometimes photos do not do justice to the vistas of the course or the layout once you play on it.
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5. Sandiway Golf Course
The main emphasis on this course is accuracy. It can be a real challenge to keep the ball in play, so you’ll need to be on the top of your game to score well. With a par of 70 and measuring 6,400 yards from the back tees, this course is a true test for even the best of golfers. Straight from the off Sandiway holds your interest, with each of the first 7 holes having a different par from the last.
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6. Dundalk Golf Course
This 72-par course which stretches over 6,800 yards provides stunning views of the close-by Cooley and Mourne mountains, Dundalk Bay and the Irish Sea. In combination with the outstanding picturesque views you’re treated to, you can also enjoy a testing round of golf. Following the 18th hole, you can then move on to the 19th hole in the magnificent clubhouse. A must-visit for any golf holiday in Ireland.
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7. Club de Alcanada
8. Mottram Hall Golf Club
This hidden gem is found within 270 acres of the finest parkland in the country of Cheshire, England. The front nine offers a picturesque backdrop of the 18th Century Hall. While the back nine winds across lush woodland and provides a more demanding test, even for the very best of golfers. This 7,006 year 18-hole par 72 Championship course is a must-visit for any golf trip in England.
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9. Mount Wolseley Golf Course
Situated on within a 2,500-acre estate in County Carlow, Mount Wolseley Golf Course certainly has the surroundings to match the brilliant 18-holes. The course has a par of 72 and spreads across a total length of 7,106 yards. This parkland course is very demanding with more than half of the holes including water hazards. 8/10 par fours are more than 400 yards long. Are you up for the challenge?
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10. Wicklow Golf Club
Prior to being a full 18-hole course, golfers at Wicklow had to play on a 9-hole course from 1904. However, 90 years later the course was extended to 18-holes and then in 2002, a new clubhouse was built for members to celebrate Wicklows centenary year. This scenic parkland course is laid out on cliffs which overlook the Irish Sea. The whole course measures just under 6,000 years and has a par of 71.
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11. Balbriggan Golf Club
Formed in 1945 as a 9-hole layout, Balbriggan Golf Club expanded into an 18-hole course 44 years later once the land was available. The many doglegged tree-lined fairways of Balbriggan are laid out on the pleasantly undulating terrain. From the 13th to the 18th hole the elevated tee positions and raised green offer brilliant variety over the closing holes to really finish your round on a fantastic note.
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12. Tulfarris Golf Resort
This championship golf course is located on a grand 200-acre estate which also contains a stunning restored 18th century Manor House. The course is laid out in a classical formation of two par 5s and two par 3s on each loop of 9 holes. The most difficult thing about this course is keeping your net score below the par of 72, with a combination of strategic bunkering and the length of the tee at most holes, it tests the best of golfers.
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13. Miramar Club de Golf
Miramar Golf Club is the third oldest club in Portugal and in our eyes, one of the best. The course measures just over 3,000 yards in length, with just 1 par 5 at the 8th hole and 6 par 4s varying from 292 yards a the 7th hole all the way to 399 yards at the 3rd hole. The layout of this course is much the same as it was 75 years, paying testament to the excellent design.
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14. Torremirona Golf Course
One of the lesser-known golf clubs in the Emporda region of Catalonia, but this course can hold its own to the best in the area. It truly is one of Europes golf course hidden gems. This course is laid out in the true resort course style, with generously proportioned fairways surrounded by a tranquil landscape. The even lie of the land ensures that Torremirona is an easy course to walk.
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15. Fulford Golf Club
This high-class heathland/parkland course is located just 1 mile outside of York. Initially founded in 1906, the club didn’t move to its current site until 1935. This course is a true test for the handicap golfer, measuring 6,779 yards from the back tees. There’s no doubt you will enjoy your round on Fulford, it’s a brilliant course surrounding by beautiful countryside.
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16. Powerscourt Golf Club (East Course)
Powerscourt Golf Club is located just a short drive from Dublin Airport. However, the setting is polar opposite from the nearby capital. Powerscourt Estate stands in 1000 acres of beautiful parkland. The natural beauty of this club alone is worth the visit. However, the main attractions are the brilliant two championship golf courses, in particular, the East Course.
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17. Villa Padierna Golf Club (Alferini Course)
This course was designed by Antonia Garcia Garrido and that’s clear to see by its conserved landscaping. The Alferini Course is a challenge for any level of golfer. This course has a total length of 6,614 metres and is one of the few par-73s on the coast. The course is surrounded by serenity and peace and quiet, thanks to the course being in the middle of a lush valley within the mountain of Benahavis.
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18. Golf de Bitche
Nestled in the slopes of Grand Kindelberg, this 27-hole course stretches over 70 hectares of stunning forestland. This course is filled with water hazards and elevated tee boxes to fit in well with the contours of the terrain. The par 4s and 5s of the course which are exposed to hilltop winds offer brilliant challenges to every level of golfer. The most challenging and recommended combination is course A+B. This course is playable all year round.
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19. La Envía Golf
La Envia Golf and Country Club is located in a valley surrounded by mountains. The mountains surrounding the course ensure that the 18-holes are protected from east and western winds, which leads to brilliant golfing conditions. Each of the 18-holes are lined with palm and mimosa trees, giving the feeling you’re playing golf in a true paradise.
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20. Golf De Saint Jean De Monts
This brilliant links course is located in ideal golfing terrain right on the western coast of France. You won’t be let down by the fantastic views. The first 9-holes of the course are set in pine woods which act as protection from the sea winds, but watch out for the tricky, tactically placed bunkers. The next 9-holes have traditional links characteristics and run right alongside the ocean.
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21. Golf De L’Ailette
With many water hazards set throughout this course, even the most experienced of golfer will find this a challenge. Set on the outskirts of Ailette water park and on mature woodland, this 18-hole course is a true hidden gem. Before you tackle ‘Chemin des Dames’ course you can practice your play on a shorter 9-hole course.
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22. Galway Golf Club
There are plenty of mature trees, elevated and tiered greens to pose a challenge, so you must be accurate off the tee on this course! If you really want to score well, you need to be on top of all your game, including having a good short and putting game. The course stretches over 5,974 metres and plays to a par of 70.
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23. Pitlochry Golf Club
This is one of Scotland finest inland courses. It’s not the longest course you’ll find, measuring at just under 5,700 yards. However, what you will find, is that it is a tricky course with small and fast greens. There’s no par-5s on Pitlochry, however, as most of us know, short doesn’t necessarily mean easy.
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24. Greenore Golf Club
Back in 1899 Greenore Golf Course was extended from 9-holes to 18-holes and the following year a pavilion style clubhouse was constructed. The course is a mixture of parkland and links-like holes which are surrounded by tall pine trees. Over the year continuous improvements have been made to Greenore Golf Course.
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25. Golf Colline Del Gavi
There is no doubt that Golf Colline Del Gavi is a challenging course. Sometimes the course can be so quiet that it will be only you and the birds playing a round of golf. This course is a true hidden gem, which appeals to both beginners and advanced golfers. The fairways are placed through forests and hills, while little creeks and lakes form natural water hazards.
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26. Tramore Golf Club
The Old Course at Tramore has managed to retain much of its original character which makes this course so great after recent remodelling. If you’re accurate off the tee, you will be rewarded on this course. This parkland course has a par-72 and some fantastic features. One thing that is consistent all the way through the course is quality, hence why Tramore makes our list of hidden gems.
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27. Golf de Bauge
Set in the beautiful French countryside, Golf de Bauge will keep you on the top of your game. Your head will have to be on the game for every single shot if not, you’re likely to be punished from one of the unforgiving hazards. This hidden gem offers a great challenge with fantastic surroundings to match.
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28. Club de Golf Son Servera
This unique members club is the second oldest course on the Spanish island of Majorca. The 18-hole course sits between pine-clad mountains on one side and stunning views over the bay of Cala Millor on the other. All levels of golfer will enjoy their game while being challenged by water hazards and bunkers around the course.
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29. Golf de Roquebrune Resort
Situated between Cannes and St Tropez, Roquebrune Golf Course is a must-visit for anyone in the region. The club is nestled in peaceful and tranquil natural surroundings, allowing you to mix your passion for golf with a relaxing walk taking in a side to the French Riviera that is barely talked about.
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30. Auchterarder Golf Club
This parkland course has views towards the Ochil Hills and Gleneagles. It runs alongside the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles Hotel, so it is no surprise this brilliant course is sometimes overlooked. However, we would urge anyone to make this 5775-yard course a priority when they visit Scotland. Each of the holes throughout the course offers a different test to golfers of all abilities.
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31. Golf Club Padova
Situated in a valley at the foot of Colli Euganei, Golf Club Padova is mostly set over even ground, however, there are plenty of tactically placed water hazards to catch you out. As well as looking out for water hazards, do not forget about the biggest test on the course, avoiding the dense vegetation on both sides of the fairways.
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32. Esker Hills Golf Club
Christy O’Connor Jnr has created a brilliant yet challenging parkland course, measuring a total distance of 6,669 yards. The course contains a total of 4 lakes, along with many trees which will add more and more definition to the course over time. There are 4 par-3s (all 170 yards in length), several of the par-4s have doglegs and one of them is a huge 490 yards in length!
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33. Club de Golf Vallromanes
Club de Golf Vallromanes is an 18-hole course with a par of 72. The course is divided into two distinct sections. The first 9 holes of the course stretch across a flat valley, while the last 9 holes hang on the edge of a hill. The enormous greens on the course are one of the stand out features, with a putt of over 40 metres!
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34. Shirland Golf Club
Just a few minutes from junction 28 of the M1, you will find an 18-hole course hidden away at the head of a stunning Derbyshire valley. Shirland has a manicured layout which merges brilliantly with the rugged beauty of the surrounding area. This all makes for an unforgettable golf experience. If you’re looking for a game of golf in tranquil surroundings, then Shirland is the place for you.
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35. Garlenda Golf Club
Garlenda Golf Club features an 18-hole course with no two holes the same, the variety across the course will suck you in and leave you wondering why you’d never played here before. One of the highlights for us is the par-4 4th hole, which is slightly doglegging to the left. The green is protected by 2 bunkers and a river at the back, while the fairway is closely lined with trees, so you’ll need to be on the top of your game.
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36. Golfclub Petersberg
This scenic course is situated on the southern slope of the Dolomite Alps, set at an altitude of around 1,200 metres. One thing you’ll instantly notice is that the course is surrounding by pictorial mountaintops. The course was opened in the spring of 1989, being the first course in South Tyrol. Numerous doglegs and beautiful greens are surrounded by trees.
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37. Druids Heath Golf Club
Druids Heath Golf Club offers a challenging and exciting 18-hole, par 72 course. This course is a test for all levels of golfer. The course stretches over 6,660 yards. As well as a quality course, the surroundings of Druids Heath Golf Club also add to the experience, with the course being set in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside.
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38. BlackSeaRama Golf
Another addition from Bulgaria, which is one of the true hidden gems in Europe when it comes to golf courses. BlackSeaRama Golf Course is another course with stunning views over coastal cliffs, what more could you ask for while you’re being tested on a brilliant Championship golf course?
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39. Forfar Golf Club
This heathland course is just 12 miles from Carnoustie and a must-visit for any golf holiday in the area. The tight fairways and classic layout give this inland course a similar feel to a links course. There are several difficult holes on the course to keep you challenged throughout. A tough test for golfers of all levels of ability.
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40. El Valle Golf
Situated in a natural desert valley, you will be hard pushed to find a golf course with better surroundings. With the small dunes and elevated views over the desert valley, you might be tricked into thinking you’re playing golf in the middle of Arizona. This course is routed in a core format, so basically, several holes are grouped together, keeping the surrounding development on the perimeter.
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41. Calanova Golf Club
With the Mijas mountains on one side of the course and the sea on the other side of the course, you are sure to find spectacular surrounding views on every hole you play on the course at Calanova Golf Club. Credit to Manuel Pinero who designed this 18-hole course in late 2005, the greens consist of brilliant shaping work. Be careful of the hazards which are clearly visible on every hole.
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42. Sherry Golf Jerez
This a new course to Andalusia, which has been designed in an American style, meaning you will have to use brains as well as brawn to score well. Be ready to get your driver out on the tee, with wide fairways and expansive greens. The flat fairways ensure that the course provides a test of accuracy. With every good golf course, Sherry Golf Jerez is suitable for both amateurs and professionals alike.
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43. Fermoy Golf Club
Established in 1892, the wooded course at Fermoy Golf Club is a test for expert and novice golfers. Once you’ve enjoyed your round of golf, you can relax in the newly refurbished clubhouse and restaurant which overlooks the course and beautiful surrounding countryside. One thing you will notice when you’re at Fermoy Golf Club is Corrin Hill and its stone cross at the summit, a focal point for the whole area.
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44. Golf de Bastide de la Salette
This spectacular undulating 18-hole course is set out within a garden of Provence. In turn, this offers unrivalled views of the Garlaban Massif and the town of Marseille. The winding fairways are compliment the valleys perfectly, which creates an almost unbelievable contrast with the flatlands. It has got to be said, this course is one of the most exciting that architect Michel Gayon has ever designed.
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45. Golf De Falgos
Right by the Spanish border Domaine de Falgos is a must play for any golf enthusiast in the area. This top quality course lies in a unique location with beautiful surroundings. It is set amongst rolling mountain countryside. Golfers of all abilities can hone their game on this course; it does require skilful shot-making. Enjoy a round of golf on a spectacular course right by the foot of Mount Canigou, overlooking the bay of Rosas.
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46. Santa Clara Golf Club Marbella
Just a couple of miles east of Marbella and surrounding by so many well-known golf course, it isn’t hard to see why Santa Clara Golf Club Marbella is sometimes overlooked. However, we would urge anyone who is on the Costa del Sol to visit this course. The course will test even the best of golfers and it is unforgiving. The course is designed to the latest USGA specifications of a parkland course. There are plenty of water hazards throughout the course, including a giant river which swirls across the golf course and many lakes.
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47. Golf Club Grado
This 18-hole championship course is the most modern and largest course at the Northern Adriatic Sea. The location is breathtaking, with the pathway of the course being sandwiched between lakes and ponds. This course is arguably one of the most beautiful in Italy. Pack your bags and get to Golf Club Grado, you won’t regret it! A brilliant round of golf with views to match.
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48. Golf Santo Antonio
With so many top courses in the Vilamoura and the Algarve, it is easy to understand why Santo Antonio Golf Course is sometimes overlooked. However, we would happily place this course in the same category as many of the regions top courses. The course architect has succeeded in creating a fascinating, yet challenging course, with its own unique style. This course is sure you have you eager to come back for another round in order to master the more challenging holes.
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49. Guadalhorce Club de Golf
Guadalhorce Club de Golf has a course which can be divided into two distinct areas. The first area, from the 1st-9th hole, bears no major water hazards. Whereas the second area from the 9th-18th hole is where it gets tricky, with uneven terrain, raised greens and more difficult fairways. This course is a must-visit for any golf holiday in Malaga.
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50. El Paraiso Golf Club
What could be more appealing than a course situated in a location which gets over 300 days of sunshine a year? Well, southern Spain does and that’s exactly where El Paraiso Golf Club is. As with many of the hidden gem golf courses in our top 50, El Paraiso is surrounded by picturesque landscape, with hills on the boundaries and views of the coast. Fairways on this course are wide, but we warn you to attack them carefully, the roughs are dangerous traps. Also, make sure you watch out for the water hazards! Many Spanish courses get overlooked for those near the likes of Malaga and Alicante, but this one shouldn’t!
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