Off to a Tee: Dream Golfing Destinations
You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and book a golf holiday—the only question now is where to go and how to get there. Scotland may be the game’s birthplace, while North America certainly has no shortage of fantastic fairways. But exotic courses in pockets of paradise can offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to create memories that will last long after the 18th hole.
Whether a safari experience, an exceptionally sweet ocean view or an exquisite atmosphere, each of the following courses is sure to provide plenty of thrills for golfers who make the trek to see them.
Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand
Perched on a clifftop 140 metres above the Pacific, the Tom Doak-designed Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay was hailed as a modern marvel when it debuted in 2004. The 7,119-yard course isn’t a typical links terrain; instead of sand dunes, the land tilts toward the sea in a series of ridges and ravines. Watch out for the par-five 15th hole: it’s fondly known as the Pirate’s Plank, thanks to a steep drop on either side of the narrow fairway—and if you miss the green your ball will plummet for a full 10 seconds before sinking into the ocean below.
Leopard Creek, South Africa
No trip to South Africa would be complete without a safari and Leopard Creek—a private course located on the southern edge of Kruger National Park—brings the buffalo, elephants and giraffes to you. While architectural and landscaping techniques ensure that the golf course is naturally protected from wildlife, it’s not uncommon to hear a lion roar while you’re preparing to putt and many of the water hazards are home to hippos and crocodiles. In fact, one of the course’s most memorable moments is the par-five 13th hole, set 32 metres above the aptly named Crocodile River that runs along its left side.
Kapalua Resort, Hawaii
Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the 18-hole Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on Maui—home to the PGA Tour’s season-opening event each January—offers insanely photogenic views of volcanic mountains and oceans. Its 7,411-yard layout features wide fairways, generous greens and dramatic elevation changes, the most exciting of which is the aggressive slope of the 663-yard final fairway.
La lguana, Costa Rica
Friendly monkeys and brightly hued macaws only enhance the tropical atmosphere at La Iguana, a Ted Robinson Jr.-designed golf course nestled among Costa Rica’s unspoilt natural landscape on the island’s central Pacific coast. Adjacent to a lush 1,100-acre rainforest and with sun-drenched views of the ocean, the course combines great beauty with everything from short par-fours to a long, rambling par-five protected by a water hazard running from tee to green.
Kawana Hotel, Japan
Located less than a two-hour trade ride from Tokyo, the Fuji course at Kawana Hotel offers stunning views of both its snowcapped namesake mountain and Sagami Bay. The 1936 C.H. Alison layout winds around undulating terrain scattered with a smorgasbord of scenic shots, sunken fairways and deep bunkers. One standout is the 568-yard 11th hole, at the foot of a tee-shaped lighthouse, while the par-five 15th is a downhill drive along the cliff’s edge.
Preparing to Tee Off?
Feeling inspired by our list of dreamy golf destinations? Consider planning your trip with the help of an AIB holiday loan. AIB offer loans from €1,000 with a loan decision in just three hours*. You can apply online through AIB Internet Banking, the AIB Mobile App. You can also book a branch appointment or phone 0818 724 725 if you’d like to speak to someone in person..
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*3 hour loan decision applies to fully completed new personal loan applications processed within 3 hours 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri excl. bank holidays. Loans from €1,000-€30,000. Excludes applications: to restructure or clear existing AIB credit facilities; received through Branch and referred to a lender for review, from customers in financial difficulty; for Student and First loans; applications through Business Centres; or where total borrowings exceed €100,000 (excluding Home Loan debt up to €600,000).
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