Located on a stunning outcrop of land between the Tuscan hills and the Med – Argentario boasts a minimalist yet ever-so-trendy designer hotel with pools, gym and tennis courts. The course is resort-style fare, but it hardly seems to matter.
Poland is a relative newcomer to the world of golf tourism and, as such, has yet to shrug off all of the preconceptions associated with being a former Eastern Bloc country. However, we can guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you venture there for a golf break. The quality of the courses will surprise you, as will the weather for the most part, and so will the wide range of top-quality accommodation. Leading the country’s charge is Sand Valley. Located in Gdansk, the course made its debut in our Golf World Top 100 Courses Continental Europe ranking last year, coming in at 82nd. Featuring wide fairways, vast waste bunkers and funky greens reminiscent of the controversial and some say borderline extreme putting surfaces found on the Castle Course at St Andrews, it’s a firm, fast-running inland links of the highest calibre, with many memorable and visually exciting holes. The on-site accommodation is a collection of luxury villas that the resort says are ‘Scandinavian in design and American in spirit’. All are located within a short walk of the first tee and the clubhouse, and accommodate from six to 12 people.
José Maria Olazabal’s redesign put Pula on the map, although it’s still one of the more underrated courses in this list. The hotel is within a renovated castle and features a pool, spa, jacuzzi and top-quality cuisine. Only loses places due to higher risers.
The simple fact that golf is not the focal point of the resort sees Pine Cliffs slip a little. The nine-hole course is nice enough, offering some great cliffside views, but it’s not enough to entice you for a golf break. Only the multitude of amenities keeps it in the Top 100.
A course full of character and class set among historic woodland and parkland terrain. Vidago’s relatively close proximity to the capital city of Porto and the fine wines of the Douro Valley make this a destination that will appeal to connoisseurs first and foremost.
Biella (Le Betulle)
The highest riser in the list thanks largely to increased recognition of its Top 100 course, Le Betulle, which is ranked 70th in Europe. It’s set amid mature woodland and boasts amazing par 3s. The hotel is one for the connoisseur, with incredible food and wine.
A double-digit rise due largely to increased recognition for its Top 100 Courses Continental Europe ranking of 33. In addition to a 27-hole Robert Trent-Jones Jr. design, there are luxury apartments and villas. Limited amenities except for a 3,500-sq-metre wellness centre.
Two solid courses – the Dunes and the Pines – are not championship calibre but very good nonetheless. Opinions varied on the quality of the hotel, but all agreed it has great amenities. Scores high for both value and customer service, so a good option for many golfers.
A gem of a course that glides through olive and carob trees and offers beautiful sea, lake and mountain views. Yet somehow it flies under the radar. The deluxe Korineum Hotel and the Elite rooms are within walking distance of the first tee.
Faldo’s Oceanico course is ranked 89 in our Top 100 Courses Continental Europe and is supplemented by the O’Connor Jnr course, which we also rate highly. Both are presented well. Accommodation is luxury apartments and villas. There’s also an onsite sports club and a golf academy.