Displaying items by tag: golf

As golfers expand their international travel interests and their desire for more of a challenge, new destinations are emerging as rising stars with exotic and unique appeal. Among those destinations are South Africa, New Zealand, Iceland, Liverpool and Dubai.

safaris, winetasting and golf oh my!
South Africa is home to over 500 golf courses and the PGA South African Open. Among the top courses is Leopard Creek, ranked #1 and located at the edge of Krueger National Park. Fancourt is a very popular links style course, while Blair Atholl is one of the longest courses in the world. Durban Golf Club has been host to 16 PGA South African Opens, and Arabella is a wetlands course and home to thousands of waterfowl. This stunning continent provides a unique opportunity to customize a vacation package that includes wildlife safaris, golf, wine tasting, cultural exchanges, and even luxury rail journeys, for the trip of a lifetime. The only thing to remember when playing golf in South Africa is to keep your eye on the ball and not the roving monkeys, impala, and other wandering wildlife that can easily add strokes to your game!

The land of Hobbits, fairies and Golf!
Home to over 390 golf courses, New Zealand presents a great golf opportunity. With such renowned courses as Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs, (ranked 45 out of the top 100 courses worldwide), the views and the challenge don’t get much better than this. Other popular courses include Clearwater – home to the New Zealand PGA Championship, Gulf Harbour – located in a small peninsula community with a nearby marina, or Formosa – just 45 minutes from Auckland with an under-cover driving range and golf school. While there, try out Golf Cross, a new variation on the sport using an oval shaped ball. For those who want a well-rounded vacation, combine North Island golf with culture, exploration and soft adventure on the South Island. Experience New Zealand’s jet boats, the Flying Fox, thermal pools, glow worm caves and the richness and mystery of the Maori Culture.

Who needs to sleep? Golf at midnight
For a completely different experience, head north to Iceland. Yes, Iceland! Home to over 60 golf courses, the land of the midnight sun presents a truly unique opportunity and bragging rights for teeing off at midnight! Here a week-long golf trip will encompass steep cliffs, black sand beaches, majestic ocean views, fertile salmon rivers and lush green country sides. Iceland golf offers a combination of 9 and 18 hole courses, so this is more of a leisurely golf destination. A sample itinerary might include a day at the geothermal area of the Reykjanes Peninsula. After a round of golf at the Holmsvollur course with volcanic landscapes, indulge with a dip in the original Blue Lagoon. Gafarholt Golf Course is recognized as Iceland’s top championship course and home to several European and Nordic tournaments. Fairways are aligned with lava and heather, making use of the existing rugged and varied terrain. Visit the UNESCO “Youngest place on earth” by taking a ferry out to the Western Islands, where golfers can play a round on the only inhabited island called Heimaey, known as one of the most beautiful in the country. One of the smaller courses but still a great challenge is the 9 holes at the Geysir Golf Course. The course is L-shaped with holes routed in an out-in fashion similar to St. Andrew’s.

Swing away with the Beatles
An emerging area for Britain is Liverpool, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not only birthplace to the Beatles, but Liverpool is also establishing their reputation as a place for golf, with over a dozen courses in the nearby area, including the three Open Championship venues of Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham & St. Annes and Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) which will host The British Open Championship in 2014. between them these Royal links have hosted the Open Championship an impressive 31 times. Include Liverpool on your next trip to the UK and walk in the footsteps of such great champions as Tom Watson, Steve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods, and take on the Royal links for yourself.

Persian gulf meets arabian golf
An emerging golf destination is rising in the Arabian Peninsula, where according to the Emirates Golf Federation there are 21 courses and growing. Most of these reside in Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, with a new course recently built in Oman. This is one of the world’s most inventive destinations and the golf courses are no different. Golfers can combine three, four or more rounds of golf into a week or two week grand Arabian Golf Adventure. Best known for high-end shopping, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman combine to offer visitors not only a shopping mecca, but culinary experiences, falconry, jeep tours and fantasy Arabian adventures in the desert.

In addition to Emirates Golf Club, home to the Dubai Desert Classic, Jumeriah Golf Club was the first course built for championship play. Al Badia has 12 holes that feature uniquely designed water features, while Saadiyat Beach was the first ocean course built in the Persian Gulf. Abu Dhabi Golf Club is a Troon managed course unique for their club house with a large winged falcon perched atop a golf ball.

To plan your unique golf adventure, contact AZ Trails Travel.

Published in Journey's Travel Blog
Friday, 12 March 2021 09:49

Teeing Up Your Golf Vacation !

Golf continues to be a popular sport among all age groups and ethnicities. According to a report by the National Golf Foundation, 36% of the US population played, watched, or read about golf in 2019. There were 24 million on-course golfers. The junior golf program continued to recruit a new generation where one in four juniors were ethnically diverse and one in three were girls.

golf vacation 1As the sport continues to grow, domestic golf vacations continue to be popular forms of travel for many amateur golfers. Most avid golfers are familiar with the top courses such as Augusta National, Pinehurst, Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and Shinnecock. These courses should be booked well in advance if you plan to play them and be aware there may be requirements to produce your handicap in order to get on the course. If you are not a handicapped golfer and just enjoy the sport for fun, there are lots of options to play and hone your skills, or just have a fun day on the course.

There are some tricks however, to planning a successful golf getaway. To start, the type of getaway will help determine the best place in the U.S. to visit, as well as the structure of your trip. There are numerous types of golf getaways, but these are the most popular.

Guys or gals groups, where the entire focus is on the golf. These groups of friends and family will play as many courses as possible, and sometimes golf up to 36 holes in a day. They are focused on spots with evening entertainment and good restaurant options nearby, so they don’t need to drive too far. Typically, moderate style accommodations, condos or villas are the preferred style of accommodation and locations with numerous and varied types of courses to diversify play. Great locations include the Carolinas, especially Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, Arizona, normally Phoenix/Scottsdale or Tucson, and Nevada, especially in and around Las Vegas or Mesquite. These are some of the best locations for winter and spring golf getaways, but during the summer months there are other fantastic locations in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and along the East Coast.

Couples golf vacations will usually have a more upscale focus, desiring a nice environment with a full- service resort or hotel, scenic courses to play, and other sight-seeing or cultural activities. Couples may also be seeking exciting culinary opportunities and perhaps some local wine or beer tasting. It combines the best of both worlds and seeks out destinations that have a lot to offer.

Such destinations include Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, The Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama, multiple locations in California, and in the summer months there are great options in upstate New York, or Bend, Oregon, depending how far you want to travel. There is even an opportunity for a golf cruise along the lower Mississippi combining the best of river travel with a bit of golf in some new and unexplored areas. There are limited sailing dates for 2021 so ask your Signature Travel Network travel advisor to check availability.

golf vacation 2Family golf vacations usually involve junior golfers, and time devoted to family.  These trips need to be well-planned to be sure there is something for everyone, especially the non-golfers. With younger children, obviously Florida is a good choice with Universal Studios and Walt Disney World as options for the younger members of the family, and a lot of challenging courses in the Orlando area to choose from for the golfers.

Other options with older children or teens could easily include San Diego, with great beaches and attractions, as well as numerous courses, like those in Torrey Pines or the Carlsbad area.  San Antonio, TX offers great family attractions with the Alamo and the River Walk, and well rated golf courses. Tucson, AZ, with fantastic golf resorts and options like Old Tucson Studios, Saguaro National Park, and Pima Air and Space Museum to entertain the family.  Williamsburg, VA or Hershey, PA also provide some unique opportunities for family golf. 

When working with your Travel Advisor, be sure to mention the number of rounds you wish to play, how many people in your party, the handicap scores or level of play you desire, a target budget for the trip, and the style of accommodation you prefer.  If you plan to bring your own clubs, great, but if you need to rent clubs on site, be sure to specify if you need a left or right-handed set of clubs.  There are a wide variety of options for planning a successful golf getaway, so reach out to your favorite travel planner and tee up your next golf vacation. 

Published in Journey's Travel Blog