Thracian Cliffs, Bulgaria

9 European golf courses that rival Augusta National

Located in Georgia, USA, near to the border of North Carolina, Augusta National Golf Club is considered one of the best golf courses on Earth and one of the most exclusive golf courses in the world. Augusta is the home to the Masters Tournament and notable members of the club include Bill Gates, Jack Nicklaus, Warren Buffet and Ginni Rometty, amongst other successful personalities. Entrance is exclusive, but we’re constantly seeing in magazines and TV the incredible layout of this 18-hole course and golfers daydream about testing their technique in the 1st hole, the Tea Olive. 

However, on this side of the Atlantic, we have some amazing, unique and challenging golf courses that don’t need to be jealous of the Augusta National Golf Club.


Golf de Chantilly, France

36-hole course

At Chantilly, approximately 20 minutes away from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport

Tradition and etiquette are two of the most used adjectives to describe this remarkable golf course. Located in the forest of Ile de France, the English architect Tom Simpson strategically designed Golf de Chantilly to challenge the brains of golfers. The placement of the fairways, the many bunkers and the forest will test the players to find the right angle to shoot.


St Andrews (Old Course), Scotland

18-hole course

At St Andrews, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Edinburgh Airport

Established for over six centuries, St Andrews is one of the oldest golf courses in the world and, regardless of the international recognition and status, the course is open to everybody.

Mother Nature has been the main creator of this golf, although, Allan Robertson designed the wide fairways, created the challenging Road Hole green and the famous giant double green. Also, the Swilcan Bridge, the Hell Bunker and other strategic golf features have inspired the layout of many golf courses, such as the Augusta National.


Monte Rei (North), Portugal

18-hole course

Near Tavira, approximately 50 minutes away from Faro Airport

Located near the Algarve and the Spanish border, Monte Rei North is a golf course you should definitely add to your itinerary if you are planning to visit several courses in this area. In contrast to St. Andrews, Monte Rei is one of the newest golf courses on this list, having been established in 2007. Despite its recent beginnings, Monte Rei is already one of Europe’s top-ranked destinations because of the great conditions of the course and the superb holes.


Real Club Valderrama, Spain

18-hole course

At Sotogrande, approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Málaga Airport

The Real Club Valderrama is among our favourite golf courses in Spain and one of the best golf courses in the world. The 18-hole course has hosted many international golf competitions, such as The Ryder Cup, Volvo Masters and WGC-American Express Championship.

This highly-exclusive golf course located in the south of Spain is known as “The European Augusta”. Entrance is mainly for members of the club, however, a limited number of other golfers can enjoy the course.


Campo de Golf El Saler, Spain

18-hole course

At El Saler, approximately 30 minutes away from Valencia Airport

Just 30 minutes away from Valencia Airport, in the middle of the Albufera Nature Park and next to the Mediterranean coast, El Campo de Golf El Saler is a great destination for a golf weekend get-a-away. 18 holes, with a par of 72, to test your golfing skills while you feel the Mediterranean breeze.

Considered one of the best golf courses in the world, The Saler has also hosted important international competitions such as the European Tour.  


Golf de Fontainebleau, France

18-hole course

At Fontainebleau, approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes away from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport

Golf de Fontainebleau, located in the Fontainebleau forest, is considered one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. The course is integrated with the nature of the Fontainebleau forest, where it’s located, with fairways surrounded by oak, pine and beech trees. For that true at-one-with-nature feel, sometimes, you can even spot deer.


Carya Golf Club, Turkey

18-hole course

At Carya Golf Club, approximately 25 minutes away from Antalya Airport

Thomson Perrett & Lobb Golf Course Architects designed Carya Golf Club as the first full-lighted golf course in Europe. Golfers can play at the 18-hole course until late at night without losing sight of the flag-stick. Certainly, the illumination won’t be a problem to the player, who will have to strategically plan each stroke and keep in mind the bunkers with heather-covered edges and the lakes.


Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort, Bulgaria

18-hole course

At Thracian Cliffs, approximately 1 hour away from Varna Airport

Built on the top of a cliff and with a stunning view, the Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort is a unique golf experience: Golfers can see the sea from every hole of the course. Because of this, Thracian Cliffs is the most photographed golf course in Europe. 

Gary Player designed a course suitable for all levels, but still challenging enough for the expert golfers. Sitting on the top of the cliff and with the Black Sea behind, the hole No. 6 will be the most memorable hole for any player, not only because of its difficulty but for the impressive views of the waves.


Troia, Portugal

18-hole course

At Troia, approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Lisbon Airport

Located in the peninsula of Troia, south of Lisbon, this course was designed by the American architect Robert Trent Jones. Also in this golf course, the player will find some of Jones’ famous trademarks: narrow fairways, bold bunkers protecting the holes and raised greens that will engage the golfer in each hole.

Hole 15 at Real Club Valderrama © Real Club Valderrama

The top 5 golf courses in Spain

With a wonderful Mediterranean climate and an average temperature of 20C in spring, Spain is a well-known destination for sun, sangria and golf. In our favourites golf magazines and TV programmes, we constantly see this sunny country hosting some of the most important golf competitions, such as The Ryder Cup, Volvo Masters,  the Spanish Open or previous events such as the Gene Sarazen World Open. We know what you think when these amazing green courses appear on your screen: What course is that and how do I get there?

Well, we’ve put together the best 5 golf courses in Spain so you don’t have to wander around the internet anymore searching. All of these amazing Spanish golf courses have 18 holes and huge fields full of challenges for the most ambitious players. But probably the biggest challenge the golfer will have to face is to keep focus and don’t get distracted by the beautiful scenery of the fairways.

Getting there is easy peasy with Golf Drives: 

  • You get an instant quote
  • Golf bags are included in all journeys
  • We take you from the airport to the resort
  • And if you want to visit the 5 of them, we can take you from one course to another!

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1. Real Club Valderrama

18-hole course

At Sotogrande, approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Málaga Airport

The Real Club Valderrama is one of the best-known golf clubs in the world and the best golf course in Europe according to the magazine Golf World. Located in a prominent hill at Sotogrande, in the south of Spain, it has a single 18-hole course, along with a 9-hole par 3 course.

The golf club was built in 1974 following the designs of the renowned American golf course architect Robert Trent Jones. In 1984 Jaime Ortíz-Patiño acquired the golf club and recalled the original architect to expand and redesign the gold course. Since then, The Real Club Valderrama has just collected ovations and awards for fun.

Also, you are probably familiar with The Real Club Valderrama as the host for some of the most exciting and relevant competitions in Europe, such as The Ryder Cup, Volvo Masters, WGC-American Express Championship or Ladies Spanish Open, amongst others. 


2. Campo de Golf El Saler

18-hole course

At El Saler, approximately 30 minutes away from Valencia Airport

El Saler is located in the Albufera Natural Park, 30 minutes away from the centre of Valencia and right next to the shore of the Mediterranean. The biggest challenge for the Spanish architect Javier Arana was to design The Saler in a protected landscape. Still, the course will test the skills of the golfers with a mix of links and forest holes, being split into 18 holes, with a par of 72. Also, the golf club has two putting greens, a practice area, golf school, driving range and pro shop.

Considered one of the best golf courses in the world, El Saler has also hosted important competitions like the Spanish Open and the European Tour. 


3. Real Club de Sotogrande

18-hole course

At Sotogrande, approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Málaga Airport

Number 3 brings us another course designed by the American architect Robert Trent Jones. The Real Club Sotogrande was the first golf course he designed in Europe in 1964 and after 36 years his 622-metre layout still fascinates the selected golfers that visit it. The golf course is located in the province of Cádiz and it was built only 150 metres from the Mediterranean.

The 18 holes of the golf course have been precisely designed, making the player plan each stroke carefully. Wide fairways lined by eucalyptus, oak, cork, pine and palm trees, and bunkers and water hazards strategically placed are some examples of the obstacles the golfer will have to overcome.


4. PGA Catalunya Stadium Course

18-hole course

At PGA Catalunya Resort, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Barcelona Airport (El Prat)

PGA Catalunya Resort has been considered the best Golf Resort in Spain, having one of the best golf courses in Europe: The PGA Catalunya Stadium Course. The convenient location is one of the reasons why The PGA Catalunya is a great decision for your golf holidays, just one hour away from the Pyrenees and 20 minutes from the delightful Costa Brava. Also, during the summertime, the cooler temperatures of the northeast mainland, makes it a suitable alternative to the intense heat of southern Spain.

The Stadium was designed and planned by several architects for more than a decade and, since it opened in 1998, has been ranked one of the 100 best golf courses in Europe. Just a few months after its opening, the PGA Catalunya Stadium Course hosted the Gene Sarazen World Open in 1999 and the Spanish Open in 2000. The ups and downs of the course create many memorable holes, like the first tee with an elevated drive where the player will prove themselves from the very beginning. 


5. Finca Cortesin Golf Resort

18-hole course

At Finca Cortesin, approximately 1 hour away from Málaga Airport

The Finca Cortesin is located between the Estepona Mountains and just a few metres away from the Mediterranean: an 18-hole course surrounded by an outstanding landscape. Also, as a golf resort, the Finca Cortesin is ranked one of the world’s top 50 hotels, delivering great customer service to all of their players. 

The course has one of the longest layouts in Europe with almost 7.000 metres of extension. Finca Cortesin was designed by Cabell Robinson and landscaped by Gerald Huggan and keeps the balance between the natural characteristics of the Mediterranean forest and high-quality Bermuda grass. Every hole is different and an exciting challenge for the golfers that will have to overcome bunkers full of white marble sand that are strategically placed around the golf course.

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