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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.