Listen up all you golf fanatics! We’ve got the top five courses you need to take a swing at right here. From the most difficult to the most picturesque, these five European courses are on par (pun intended) with the best from the US. So book a buggy, grab your plus-fours and get ready for tee time! Just keep in mind that if you’re packing your best clubs, you should probably take out some golf insurance to protect your best assets.
Most Popular: Club de Golf Alcanada, Mallorca
Voted the best golf course in Europe for a sixth time by 1golf.eu, this 18-hole course is a regular star in golfing magazines and guides. Designer Robert Trent Jones created the 18-hole course with the philosophy of “easy bogeys and difficult pars”. Not one for beginners, its 58 well-placed fairway bunkers and challenging greens will have intermediates working up a sweat. Built in an ‘environmentally sensitive’ area, you’ll be surrounded by pine trees, olive trees, wild birds and curious animals as you nail that hole in one.
Most Famous: St. Andrews, Scotland
The Old Course at St Andrews is the world’s oldest course and considered by many to be the “home of golf” – it was on this course itself that the first game was played in the early 1400s. Look out for the infamous 10 ft deep Hell Bunker and Road Hole Bunker which have dashed the dreams of many a golfing great. Try your luck and make it over the iconic Swilcan Bridge on the 18th to follow in the footsteps of sporting legends.
Most Difficult: Royal County Down, Northern Ireland
Another contender for the best golf course outside of the US, the Royal County Down is also one of the toughest. Think narrow strips of fairways, deep bunkers and notoriously difficult blind shots… You’ll definitely need a caddy for this course. Oh, and that’s without the wind factor – the strong breeze from Dundrum Bay will do its best to blow you off course. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
Most Picturesque: San Lorenzo, Portugal
For a more scenic route, head to San Lorenzo, perched high up on the Algarve coast. Created by US architect Joe Lee, this world-class course is consistently ranked as one of the best courses in the world. Laid out in a figure-of-8, the first hole is a tricky par 5, giving you a taste of what’s to come. Hole 6 is a difficult dog-leg requiring both accuracy and precision, while the 12th is equally tough with a deep chasm running alongside the fairway.
Most Unusual: La Jenny, France
Established in 1993, La Jenny is definitely one of a kind: it’s nude. Golfers can shed their clothes and putt away au natural at this secluded resort on the west coast of France, while taking in the beautiful ocean views and rugged mountains. Admittedly, it’s not a big course – there are only 6 holes and covers 9 hectares, but it’s definitely one for the brave. So, who wants to get back to nature?