Golf has been a popular sport for hundreds of years now with it first gaining international recognition in the 19th century. Its unknown when exactly golf was first invented, Neanderthals more than likely hit round shaped stones with large sticks but golf as we know it with 18 holes, golf greens, clubs and balls was invented in Scotland. Historic documents show golf was played in Scotland as far back as 1457 when the then Scottish parliament banned the game along with football as these sports were seen as a distraction to military archery. How times have changed. The fact this is the first documentation of the game as we know it, it is widely accepted the Scots had been playing for many years before 1457. Although the Scottish had been playing the game for hundreds of years it did not gain recognition until the 19th century when the games popularity soared by spreading to the rest of the United Kingdom, countries in the British Empire and to the USA.
Golf as We Know It
Golf is now one of the most popular sports in the world and is the most popular “solo” sport played by millions. Over the last few decades the popularity of golf breaks has soared in Europe and beyond. Golfers (like me) love nothing more than heading off with some golf buddies to somewhere that’s warm and littered with beautiful golf courses. As the popularity of golf grows and the price of golf holidays becomes within reach of the middle and working class, the number of golf courses being developed in Europe has soared. Here we bring you a list of 4 of the best golf resorts in Europe.
Vidago Palace Hotel & Golf Resort
Country: Portugal Address: Vidago Palace Hotel Parque de Vidago Apartado 16 5425-307 Vidago
Description: This course set in beautiful surroundings was originally a 9 hole golf course, first designed by Mackenzie Ross in 1936, a reputable Scottish golf course architect who also designed beautiful golf courses throughout France, Spain and Portugal. Most recently, the course was completely remodelled by Carmon & Powell to fit in with USGA specifications. 6 of the original holes are now longer and 12 new holes have been added, testing the dexterity of golfers as the course changes from old to new. All in all a luxurious resort. It wouldn’t surprise me if Daniel Craig walked in the foyer sporting a tuxedo.Signature Hole: Is hole 17, a par 5 hole stretching 574 yards. Regarded as one of the most striking holes in all of Portugal boasting wonderful views of Centennial Park, the iconic Palace and Vidago village chapel. To find out more about this wonderful golf resort please visit: vidagopalace.com/en/golf/the-course/description/
Verdura Golf & Spa Resort
Country: Italy Address: Verdura Golf & Spa Resort S.S. 115 Km 131 92019 Sciacca (AG) Sicily
Description: Regarded as Europe’s most exciting golf resort, the Verdura has been purposely built to impress. The resort has two 18 courses and an excellent 9 hole course making this resort perfect for groups and golf societies looking for a challenging but relaxing golf break. Located on Sicily’s south coast, this beauty skirts around the Mediterranean coast. For the courses beauty, exclusivity and stunning sea views the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort has already been awarded several prestigious awards despite only opening 2010. Signature Hole: Is hole 18 on the Championship Course, this is known as the Pebble beach of Europe with Mediterranean waves crashing against the Sicilian shoreline providing the ultimate climax to an unforgettable journey of golf. To find out more about Verdura Golf & Spa Resort please visit: verduraresort.com
Country: FranceAddress: 3100 Route de Bagnols EN Foret 83440 Tourrettes
Description: Previously a Four Season’s resort. The Terre Blanche is another resort consisting of two fantastic 18 hole golf courses. Each course provides stunning views of the old town situated proudly on top of the hill. Course one (Le Chateau )is the signature course and is listed as one of the best golf courses in main land Europe boasting stunning water features, white sand bunkers, ravines and fast greens. It’s safe to say this course is not for the faint hearted and should only be attempted by golfers willing to take on the ultimate challenge. Course two ( Le Riou) may not be the signature course of the two but don’t let this fool you. Like its sibling course, Le Riou offers spectacular scenery and is technically challenging for golfers with low handicaps. By any means, don’t treat this fun course with complacency.Signature Hole: Like most great golf courses they save the best till last, with the signature hole being the 18th hole on the Le Chateau course. To find out more about Verdura Golf & Spa Resort please visit:en.terre-blanche.com/golf/index.html
Country: Scotland Address: Cameron House Loch Lomond Alexandria Dunbartonshire G83 8QZ
Description: We can’t have a tops list without a course from the home of golf. There are many fantastic golf courses in Scotland and many more historic courses such as The Royal and Ancient St Andrews, Turnberry and Carnoustie usually get the nod ahead of The Carrick Course at Loch Lomond however, this course is a must should you like to do battle in the most majestic surroundings. Enveloping Cameron House Hotel and flanked by Loch Lomond and Scottish Munros on either side, this parkland course is probably the most stressful relaxing stroll one will ever take. Played on by greats like Phil Mickelson, Ernie Else and Adam Scott during the courses succession in hosting the Scottish Open Golf Championship, this course is no stranger to the big hitters. Phil Mickelson even described the Carrick at Loch Lomond as one of his favourite golf courses. Not a bad citation by any means. Despite allowing the world’s greatest golfers play on their course, The Carrick is open to golf groups and societies alike.
Signature Hole: Is the 14th hole, a testing par 3 – 199 yarder that provides stunning views of the majestic loch and a well bunkered green. To find out more about Cameron House and The Carrick Golf Resort please visit: devere-hotels.co.uk/hotel-lodges/locations/cameron-house/golf/introduction.html
About the author:Gavin is a keen golfer who loves nothing more than a challenging golf course to test his skills on. Fortunate enough to play on some of the world’s best golf courses including championship courses from De Vere Hotels: http://www.devere-hotels.co.uk/golf.html