Golf is a big tourist industry in its own right and one that continues to grow. Amateur players continue to pursue a keen interest in playing in the furthest parts of the globe and that’s a big driver for this multi-million dollar sector.
Part of the appeal is that, unlike any other sport, golf allows those amateurs to play on the same courses as their professional heroes. That’s a big plus for golf tourism but where, exactly, are the best destinations for lovers of the sport?
We name the current best golf cities in anticipation that the China Pak Golf Estates in Gwadar will would stand shoulder to shoulder with some of these locations named.
1. Mallorca, Spain
Some players like to head for an exclusive golfing resort but for those who want an all-round tourist package, there are few locations that could match Mallorca. This is the largest island in the Balearics and beyond the sporting realm, it’s known for sunny beaches and some lively nightlife.In golfing terms, this is one of the best locations in the whole of Europe as it contains no fewer than three international class courses.
Serious players can take their pick between Canyamel Golf or they can head to Palma and try either the Arabella Golf Son Vida or the Golf Son Gual SL. Better still, take an extended vacation and pack in all three of these world class venues.
2. New York City, USA
When we think of all the tourist delights that New York has to offer, golf may not be the first thing that springs to mind but this really is one of the world’s best. Those who are keen followers of the PGA Tour will know that the schedule regularly heads to this part of the country and while some courses may be a little too exclusive, there’s more than enough for amateurs to enjoy.
There are options to suit all budgets too with 13 public courses that are easily accessible but for those who want to expand their horizons, there are some truly world class venues within a short drive of the city centre.
The choice is exceptional but perhaps the biggest draw is Winged Foot at Mamaroneck. Here we have two historic courses – west and east – and between them, they have hosted six Major Championships. Availability is scarce but a planned trip well in advance can make New York the most perfect golfing destination.
3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The UAE as a whole has been busy catching up with the rest of the golfing world and it’s Dubai that takes centre stage here. Any armchair golf fan should be very familiar with the Dubai Desert Classic – a popular tournament, sanctioned by the European Tour that has been attracting the world’s best professional players since 1989.
In 30 years of tournament play, the Dubai Desert Classic has been held on two different courses – the Emirates Golf Club and the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. The latter is the first location to look out for and, aside from the Championship Course, players can have a bit of fun on the floodlit par 3 venue.
With its distinctive sail shaped clubhouse, the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club mirrors the opulence of the region but it is the more accessible of the two main venues here.The Emirates Club can boast two championship locations including the Faldo Course, designed and named after the multiple major winner, Sir Nick Faldo. This was the first grass golf course in the entire Middle East and, with a host of fine dining and other facilities on hand, it’s the number one Dubai destination for golfing tourists.
4. St Andrews, Scotland
There are countless top class locations across the world but for those who want to play at the home of golf, there’s only one place to be. No-one can be 100% certain but it’s widely acknowledged that the Old Course at St Andrews is the first ever golf course in the world. It’s hosted multiple Open Championships and features some of the most famous and recognisable holes on the planet.
Situated on Scotland’s West Coast in the county of Fife, St Andrews is in high demand and it’s not so easy to get on and play here. The official website of the St Andrews Golf Club carries a full guide for visitors and it states that there are temporary memberships available.
However, these memberships are only granted to bona fide golfers which means that you must possess a handicap certificate. You must also be proposed by a member and that proposal must arrive no later than a week in advance of your intended tee time. There’s a lot of officialdom to work through but for the chance to play at the greatest and oldest golf course of them all, it must surely be worth it.
5. Sydney, Australia
There are few destinations in the world that can match Sydney as far as sports lovers are concerned. A trip here can take in some world class tennis, footy, rugby and some international cricket at the Sydney Cricket Ground. On a global scale, the Australian Open golf championship doesn’t quite get the same recognition but the course involved is a standout for many holiday golfers.
The tournament has switched between a number of locations Down Under but since 2018, the Australian Open has been held at The Lakes course at Eastlakes in Sydney. It’s a stunning venue but the Lakes is one of many that can be found in and around the city and in New South Wales as a whole.
Like all of the locations on this list, Sydney has more to offer as an all round tourist package but it’s hard to beat in terms of golfing tourism in Australia.
In comparison with these outstanding golfing destinations, the six hole course at Gwadar is very much in its infancy. In time, the venue will be developed and will be a base for residents and those flying in for work obligations. As word gets around however, this golf complex in the thriving port city of Gwadar on the coast of Pakistan may yet become known as a popular location for golf tourists all over the world.