If golf is your game, grab your nine irons and tee up. From Scotland to California, you’ll want to get out on the greens at these golf-obsessed retreats. Bonus: They all offer a complimentary golf round for two as their Fine Hotels & Resorts unique amenity.*
Built in 1924, the handsome and historic Gleneagles property, just an hour’s drive from Glasgow or Edinburgh, has hosted both the Ryder Cup and the G8 summit. It was purchased by new owners in 2015, who refurbished the 850-acre, 232-room estate with spacious rooms swathed in thistle motifs and quilted wool headboards. They also added an extensive ESPA spa and nine different restaurants, including the two-Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie, which plates up haute Caledonian cuisine, such as smoked lobster with warm lime-and-herb butter, foie gras with spiced apple and walnut milk, and Perthshire Roe deer. But golf remains the primary draw, and there are three top-notch courses: the iconic 18-hole King’s Course with scenic, split-level greens; an advanced 18-hole lochside Queen’s Course with sunken fairways; and a flat Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA® Centenary Course.
Sun-seekers looking for guaranteed vitamin D should head for the greens of Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, a Ponderosa-style tropical seaside resort in La Romana. Being set on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic means there is plenty of space for three white-sand beaches, an equestrian center, a Mediterranean-style marina, and a beach club with snorkeling, kayaking, and family excursions. The trio of Pete Dye-designed courses include the palm-studded 18-hole Teeth of the Dog course, which has stunningly been carved into the rocky coral coast. Even on hot days, it delivers delicious breezes and breathtaking Caribbean views at nearly every hole.
Travelers on a quest for some Medieval magic can find it in spades in Ireland’s 15th-century stone-walled, slate-roofed Dromoland Castle, one hour south of Galway. Its ancient structures date back to the 11th-century, but the course is far more modern. Imagined by internationally renowned designers Ron Kirby and JB Carr, the impressive 18-hole, 6,824-yard, par-72 championship course stretches across 450 acres of gentle grassy hills, lush fairways, and mossy mounds, all shaded by handsome oaks. The castle grounds are also home to a golf academy that features high-tech amenities, such as automatic power tees, four bunkered target greens, nine driving range bays, and an indoor teaching bay.
For a wilder landscape, Northern California’s Rosewood CordeValle is hard to beat with its 18 holes of championship golf spread across 260 acres and 7,360 yards. The par-72 course, designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Jr., is nestled on the hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, just 30 minutes south of San Jose. It climbs up to a dramatic 150-foot elevation amid ochre hillside canyons and broad meadows. Even if you don’t have a tee time daily, there are many opportunities on the extensive practice grounds for chipping, pitching, putting, and sand play. A good time is guaranteed.
Barbados’ nostalgic, colonial Sandy Lane, just 15 miles from the airport, grants golfers three courses: the Old Nine, the Country Club, and the whimsical and world-renowned 72-par, 7,343-yard Green Monkey (use of which is exclusive to Sandy Lane guests). It was designed by Tom Fazio, who reclaimed an old limestone quarry with an exposed rock face for a striking and primordial setting that is as refreshing as it is challenging.
We couldn’t resist including two destinations to tee off in Bonnie Scotland. The world-famous Old Course Hotel offers the quintessential golf pilgrimage—located, as it is, in the game’s birthplace of St. Andrews and walkable to the British Golf Museum. Six on-property restaurants and bars run the gamut from pub to gastro, while a full-service spa, a roster of kids and family activities, and rooms designed by Jacques Garcia keep non-golfers satisfied. But make no mistake, this is a golf hotel overlooking one of the most iconic holes in history: the challenging par-four 17th Road Hole. Don’t leave without posting a photo on Facebook taken at Swilcan Bridge, a spot where many a golfer has posed for trophy photographs over the decades.
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