5 Best Golf Vacation Locations in 2023 Reviewed
A golfing vacation offers keen golfers the chance to experience different courses with fresh challenges and explore new locations.
You can play golf in some of the most spectacular places in the world and combine a golfing vacation with a family vacation.
Families don’t need to get bored as some of the choicest locations offer plenty to do for partners and children.
A winter golfing vacation is the chance to beat the weather and head to sunnier climes. You can enjoy locations that may just be too hot to visit in the height of summer.
Here is our tour of the 5 top golf vacation locations:
Spain is probably the first location that comes to mind for a golfing vacation. The country has abundant courses, plenty of golf vacation packages, and resorts in famed coastal cities and stunning green vistas like Basque country. It is an accessible destination for all levels of players. Plus, you can’t beat the climate.
You can play golf all year round in Spain without worries about rain or cold temperatures.
Southern Andalusia enjoys around 3,000 hours of sunshine every year. The Mediterranean locations of Catalonia, Valencia, and Murcia have mild winter temperatures.
The golf resort could have been a Spanish invention. You could plan to visit a new resort each year, and it would probably take you the rest of your life to complete.
Golf resorts are usually hotels that offer a spa experience with their own course plus access to several others. Everything is tailormade for the keen golfer with all the amenities you need on tap.
Marbella is known as the golf capital of Europe. With its beautiful location on the Costa del Sol—nicknamed by some as the Costa del Golf—there are numerous prestigious courses. It’s an idyllic location, nestled between mountains and sea, with perfect temperatures year-round.
Other areas in Spain with enticing golfing options are the south of Andalusia, the courses around Malaga, and the Costa de Luz. In Catalonia, the Costa Brava region has plenty of options, and there are also lots of courses in Valencia. If that’s not enough, you can consider the Balearic and Canary Islands.
The south of Spain is sweltering in the summer months, so head north to the areas around Barcelona which are cooler for long hours on the fairway.
Spain is an excellent destination for a vacation with your golfing buddies. Time off the course is usually time on the beach as many of these resorts are coastal and with sunshine most of the year, what’s not to like.
Prices are very competitive because there is so much choice in Spain. It is a great place for a golfing vacation, and it’s no wonder thousands of amateurs and professionals flock there every year.
2. Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland might be small in terms of the volume of courses, but what it does have packs a mighty punch.
Home to the world-famous Royal Portrush in County Antrim, right next to the Atlantic Ocean, Northern Ireland is celebrated for having some of the most challenging courses in the world.
Portrush will once again be hosting ‘The Open,’ which returns there in 2025 but don’t overlook Portstewart, described by top golfer Rory McIlroy, as “one of Northern Ireland’s hidden gems.”
There are three 18-hole golf courses situated alongside gorgeous beaches, rocky coastlines, and rivers, with their beauty only matched by the challenging nature of the terrain.
Head towards the spectacular Mourne Mountains, and there you will find Royal County Down with the Championship and Annesley links. The Championship course regularly features in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses worldwide outside the USA.
You can’t play in Northern Ireland without factoring in the weather, particularly if you are near the Atlantic coastline.
Wonder why everything is so green? In Ireland, it rains even when the sun’s out!
Rather like the famous Scottish courses, climate may limit the window of opportunity to play if you want to travel to Northern Ireland for a golfing vacation. Still, if you want to challenge yourself, it is an excellent test.
Golfing is relaxed in Northern Ireland, and you don’t need a license to play.
Turkey might not be the first location that might spring to the golfer’s mind, but venues that are not well known have the advantage of something just a little different and can be less crowded.
The Turkish Riviera is on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, and the largest city which provides the gateway to this location is Antalya. The Riviera is an area of outstanding beauty and an excellent choice for a golfing vacation.
There is an established course, Carya, which has been open for nearly twenty years. Nightlights let you play well into the evening, and it has a 72 par.
Voyage Belek Golf & Spa is a massive beachside resort that makes a good base for Carya and the Montgomerie golf course. Several swimming pools, dining options, and entertainment make this a suitable venue for a combined family break and golfing vacation.
The old quarter of Antalya is historic and interesting, with plenty to visit, including a zoo for the kids while you enjoy 18 holes.
Portugal, rather like Spain, has a long history of providing excellent experiences for traveling golf enthusiasts.
Lisbon is an excellent center to choose as a base if you are traveling with non-players or you want to split your vacation between golf and sightseeing.
Lisbon offers abundant green spaces, historical sites, and plenty of coastal access. The city lies on the western Iberian Peninsula, the Atlantic Ocean, and the River Tagus.
Aldeia dos Capuchos is a newer 9-hole course spectacularly set with the ocean as a backdrop. Small but challenging, there are sloping greens, a large lake, and strategic bunkers.
Beachside resorts offer a choice of accommodation if you want a full five-star experience with spa and dining options.
5. The Scottish Highlands
Save the best till last—no real enthusiast can consider themselves a serial vacation golfer without a trip to the Scottish Highlands, the home of the beautiful game.
Drink in the tradition and heritage of golf with a stay in the Gleneagles region. You can check into the luxurious hotel of the same name and a five-star resort.
The Gleneagles Hotel is an excellent base for golfers keen to sample different courses in the region. One of the most attractive is The Queens Course, full of woodland and wildlife. Opened in 1917, it has a challenging par of 68.
On the east coast of Fife, about an hour’s drive from Gleneagles, lies St. Andrews Old. It’s the most famous golf course in the world and has existed since 1552. There are seven double greens, two par-5s, and two short holes.
St. Andrews Old is quite playable even for those with a high handicap, although just the amount of pure history is bound to be a distraction for most golfers.
There are such tempting and famous courses on Scotland's southwest coast as Royal Troon, Prestwich, and Turnberry. Some more far-flung locations like The Machrie, Shiskine, and the Outer Hebrides are also accessible for the truly adventurous.
Stay off the grid in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world or luxuriate in a spa resort. Scotland is an adventure playground for those who enjoy spectacular landscapes while away from the fairway.
Climate is always relevant to a golfing vacation in Scotland, not least the famous Scottish midge. The mosquito is prevalent during the summer months, so good headgear is a must.
The seasons run late in Scotland—spring is delayed compared to the rest of the UK, and summer will be cool. You can expect the weather to be as important a factor as the terrain for your game.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Is the Best Place for Golf in the Winter?
Spain has got to be top of the golfers’ winter vacation list. It is always possible to find mild temperatures in Spain during the winter months, and prices are usually reasonable compared to other far-flung destinations.
The winter is quieter in the Spanish resorts if you want to head somewhere like Malaga. It’s a good time to enjoy this location without the hordes of tourists that descend upon the place during the summer.
The areas of southern Spain can frequently be just too hot in the summer, but they cool down to a pleasant temperature range out of season. They have very low rainfall, making the region the perfect choice for a winter golfing vacation.
A golfing vacation is ideal for playing new courses, enjoying some off-course downtime on the beach and sightseeing, or improving your game with a tailored coaching package.
You can combine golf vacations with golfing buddies or with the family. Many golf resorts offer plenty to do for non-golfing family members so that you can enjoy 18 holes worry-free.
Always consider climate carefully as you pick your golf vacation destination. Southern Spain is exceptionally hot in the summer, with temperatures many players find too warm to enjoy their game.
The weather in locations like Scotland and Northern Ireland forms part of the challenge but research your venue and climate carefully, as nasty weather can spoil your vacation.It really is possible to play your way around the world with golf! And when you’ve booked your stay, researched the weather, and started preparing, visit the STITCH golf shop. You’ll find all the golf bags, club covers, and weather-ready gear you need for an unforgettable golf vacation.