Golfing Around the World
Golf courses dot the world map, with specular greens and fairways luring many golfers. However, hitting a little white ball for 18 holes is not the only appeal. Could the allure of golf be as much about the excitement of travel as it is about the actual sport?
Gianluca Tucci from brand consultancy CN&CO and a member at the Johannesburg Country Club says, “My handicap is not necessarily something to write home about. However, golf affords me not merely an opportunity to enjoy time out with my friends and to make business contacts, it supports my love of travel. Whether it is taking a trip with my golf buddies to the Garden Route where we are spoilt with beautiful courses, or packing my clubs and hitting the skies to explore fairways on other continents, there are literally thousands of golf courses I can enjoy.”
While some historians claim golf originated during the Song Dynasty in China between 960 and 1279, a more widely held view is that today’s game can trace its origins to mid1400’s Scotland.
Whatever its ancestry, passion for golf is found across the world, which makes it easy to use the game as an added incentive for travel.
Famous European courses like St Andrews Links in Scotland are etched in our minds. Many know St Andrews’ Old
Course either as players or during televised spectacles. But over the years iconic courses such as St Andrews have
been rivalled by newer upstarts wishing to lure amateurs and pros alike.
Take, for example, the Els Club in Dubai, designed by South African golfing legend, Ernie Els, fondly known as Big Easy. Set in the desert and overlooking the skyscrapers of this iconic city, the course is awe-inspiring in both design and maintenance. While the high cost and scarcity of water has affected many courses in South Africa, in the desert state with, it seems, unlimited water at its disposal, the course is an oasis.
In Portugal’s Algarve there are breathtaking courses and resorts such as the Club Med Da Balaia, perched on a red cliff-top overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. In the country’s Oitavos Dunes, you will find Quinta da Marinha, revered as one of the best courses in Europe.
Combining island holidays with a round of golf is proving popular, says pro golfer, Gary Daoust: “Playing the Ka’anapali course in Maui, Hawaii, is spectacular. That being said, any course in Hawaii gets my vote.”
With resorts such as Club Med Bintan Island in Singapore actively luring the South African novice and amateur golfer by totally revamping its offering and providing allinclusive golfing packages, all the avid golfer needs to do is pitch up.
In South Africa, golf courses can be found in the Kruger Park – where you have to watch your back for hippos, literally. Courses have also popped up all across the cityscapes, often hidden behind tall trees – just drive between Johannesburg and Pretoria on the N1 and you pass dozens of courses.
Olivier Hannaert, Club Med Southern Africa MD, says, “One reason for moving to South Africa was golf. I love playing golf in South Africa as there are so many options. Despite having played courses in Portugal, Switzerland, Indonesia, Senegal, and more, South Africa’s golfers and courses are some of the best. While travelling, I always look for courses that offer something more than what I can find back home – and South Africa provides that tenfold over.”
With the diversity, accessibility, and travel options open to golfers, following that dimpled little ball can happen in most places on our exquisite planet Earth. So join the travelling golfers and see the world.
Club Med Da Balaia