Exotic Golf Courses — Treat Yourself to a Special Day on the Links

OK, what if you had all the money in the world, a fueled up jet at your disposal and your favorite golf clubs packed and ready to go. Where do you go?

In truth, the sky is the limit on absolutely stunning golf courses. You could start the day at Pebble Beach in California for starters, hit St. Andrews in Scotland for a follow up round in the afternoon and try the Mid-Ocean Club course in Bermuda, so long as you got there before the sun went down. That would be trifecta wonderful.

But the obvious choices are, well, getting a bit obvious to put it one way. Let’s scare up some new beauties — and rest assured, each of these courses is eye-popping gorgeous. In so many words, if these courses were women, you’d be proposing marriage before you asked their names. Yah — the courses are what Rembrandt might have imagined if he’d hailed from Scotland and played the old game.

Where to begin: Cyprus

How about a course that winds its way gracefully through Mediterranean olive groves under the pale blue sky of Cyprus with a modern clubhouse that also looks like it might be the clubhouse of the gods or built by ancient architects? Well, you would end up at the Elea Estates Golf Club that is hailed as “Sir Nick Faldo’s Mediterranean masterpiece.” This gorgeous, world-class course is situated in one of the most heavenly resorts imaginable. This challenging course has been named by visitors as the No. 1 course in Cyprus. It reaches a mid-ranged 6,775 yards with par set at 71 strokes.

South Africa

The next stop on the exotic golf course tour is the appropriately named Leopard Creek golf course adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

You may be surrounded by some of the wildest territories on the continent, but there is nothing overtly wild about this immaculately designed, 7,144-yard, par 72, golf course. It is a completely tamed, manicured course with terrific touches, including island greens and well-placed sand traps. Regionally, the golfscape Cape Town golf courses offered to visitors is hard to beat around the world, attesting to the sport’s popularity even in unlikely places.

Indonesia

Have a few extra hours on your hands on a trip to Indonesia? If that’s the case, you owe it to yourself to play a round or two at the Nirwana Bali Golf Course designed by the great Australian golfer Greg Norman.

Of course, any course designed by Norman tells you that the layout is not that old. This conveniently located course 45 minutes from Seminyak and 90 minutes from Nusa Dua, was established in 1997. The 6.805-yard par 72 course is open every day, but the layout is a playful entwining of challenging, position-play fairways and scenic water hazards. From the air, the course is a marvel of design with every fairway and green outlined by the white cart paths, making the course look like a quilt stitched into place by the golf gods.

Vietnam

The Danang Golf Course, an hour from Hanoi, is another Greg Norman-designed course that proves that you can manicure a golf course anywhere in the universe – let’s say the Moon, just for argument’s sake – and the beauty of the course will still not compare to the natural scenery in which you find yourself.

In so many words, the Danang Golf Course, a 7-176, par 72 challenge, incorporates the natural scrub-land beauty as well as any course in the world. With majestic, hazy blue mountains on the far side of a lazy, blue lake, this is a course that looks roughed up, but with sweet pockets of manicured greens and fairways sliding in and around the local landscape. Beauty sometimes looks a little rough around the edges. This course proves that is true.

What are you waiting for? Pack light and get there soon!

Malaysia

Even a map of Malaysia is beautiful. The landscape is so lush, even the grass seems to be a darker green than anywhere else.

Within some of the richest biological environments on the planet, golfing legend Jack Nicklaus designed the world-class 7,338-yard Legends Golf Course and Country Resort. While many visitors are there to enjoy the equestrian facilities or the great fishing, nobody who brings a set of golf clubs along leaves this beauty disappointed. Nicklaus could flat-out play the game, but he is no slouch as a course designer, having dozens of course layouts to his credit.