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Teeing Up for a Holiday? Hit the Links at These Top Spots

As the world continues to recover from the pandemic, more and more people are returning to the time-honoured tradition of travel. With border closures a thing of the not-so-distant past, the call to adventure is being heard loud and clear from Perth to Sydney and people are lining up to hop on the next plane out.

One increasingly popular vacation is a secluded golf outing. If your idea of the perfect getaway is a day on the links and a night full of luxury, we’ve put together a list of the top five destinations to tick off your bucket list.

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Kingston Heath Golf Club - Melbourne, Australia

Founded in 1909 as the Elsternwick Golf Club, the Kingston Heath Golf Club is one of Australia’s premier golf courses. Recently named Gold Digest’s 11th-best course in the world, this legendary setting has hosted 7 Men's Australian Opens, 1 Women's Australian Open, 7 Victorian Opens, 2 Australian Masters, and the 2016 World Cup of Golf. Continuing this legacy, the course will also host the 2028 President’s Cup.

Once the longest course in Australia, Kingston Heath was originally a 6,812-yard trek with a par of 82. Since then, it’s been shortened to a more standard 72 par, but it’s kept one trick up its sleeve. You see, this course is hiding a special 19th hole. Unveiled in 2008 after a green’s renovation project, the 19th hole has been used by both the PGA Tour and Golf Australia in official tournaments in place of the 10th hole.

If you’re looking for a world-class golf experience but don’t want to jet halfway around the world, then Kingston Heights is very much worth considering. More since they're not that secluded but rather an extension of the great city of Melbourne, meaning you can finish your day off in a different but equally entertaining manner. Being it just going out for a movie, having some fine dining, or blasting it off in a club with your caddy and buddies, finishing the night with a round of live poker in Crown, it is surely a step up in experience from staying home and just visiting

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Apes Hill - Barbados

If you’re fancying something a bit more exotic, Apes Hill on the tropical island of Barbados is a resort that you absolutely need to keep in mind. The island’s newest golf resort, this luxury resort is also the highest in Barbados soaring 300 meters above sea level, the entire estate is home to truly breathtaking views.

Apes Hill was re-opened in 2023, but the overhaul has been so dramatic that it’s better to think of the new version as a completely new facility. With less than a year of serving the public, the resort has been surprisingly quick to make a name for itself. In 2023, the course was named Development of the Year by Golf, Inc. magazine. On top of that, it won Best Golf Real Estate Venue, Best Eco-Friendly Golf Facility; Best New Golf Course Barbados; and Best New Golf Course Caribbean at the 2023 Golf Awards.

Engadin Golf Club - St. Moritz, Switzerland

Maybe white sand beaches and tropical drinks aren’t your thing. In that case, Engadin Golf Club might just be the place you’re looking for. As Switzerland’s oldest golf club, Engadin has played host to countless celebrities and notable figures. Sean Connery famously skied here while filming Goldfinger and socialites from the Lords of Windsor, the Italian aristocracy have been known to vacation here.

Aside from the incredible scenery of the Swiss Alps, Engadin offers something for everyone. The resort features two full 18-hole courses in the summertime and a truly unique 9-hole course in the winter. This course is built each year on the frozen Lake St. Moritz and is the highlight of the annual Snow Golf Days.

One great feature of Engadin is that it’s one of the more family-friendly gold resorts out there. Kids up to age 12 can play for free and kids age 13-18 play for half price. What’s even better, is that dogs are allowed to accompany you on your outing; though only on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons via appointment.

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Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort - Bozhurets, Bulgaria

Quite possibly the most breathtakingly beautiful course out there, the Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort is nestled in Bulgaria's steep, salt-stained cliffs on the Black Sea. Designed by the legend Gary Player, this course is one of the most unique in Europe. While each hole on this course has been meticulously designed, the 6th hole is the one that many golfers will remember.

This hole is the crown jewel of the course. With a distance of 211 meters, this is the longest par three hole at Thracian Hills, however, it plays significantly shorter due to its incredible design. The green here has been carved into the cliffs some 40 meters below the tee, giving players a real challenge as they must deal with this significant drop combined with the coastal winds. With cliffs on the left and the sea on the right, you’ll need to be a straight shooter to birdie this hole.

After a round, unwind at the Thracian Cliffs Resort with amenities including two white sand beaches, a full spa, several sports facilities, six panoramic dining rooms, a game bar, and an elegant piano lounge.

Pebble Beach - California, USA

Easily one of the most famous golf courses in the World, Pebble Beach is home to five full 18-hole courses and has hosted six U.S. Open Championships; that’s more than any other course in the last 50 years. In 2001 Pebble Beach was the first public course to be named the Number 1 Golf Course in America by Golf Digest. With this kind of reputation, it should come as no surprise that this is one the most expensive public courses in the US with greens fees running $625/person.

Designed by legendary golfers Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the links first opened on February 22, 1919. Since then, it has been redesigned a few times with Jack Nicklaus designing the current 5th hole in 1998.

As only one part of the larger Pebble Beach complex, golfing isn’t the only thing to do here. The incredible 17-mile Drive predates any of the golf courses and is very much worth an afternoon trip.

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Making the Cut

No matter your skill level, these courses are all amazing options for any fairway fan. From white sand beaches to frozen mountaintops, these destinations have something to offer any golfer, as well as their travelling companions.