As winter lessens its icy grip across the UK and Europe, and snowdrops and daffodils start to poke their heads through the soil, the thoughts of golfers everywhere will be turning towards getting back onto the fairways.
Although the best of the UK weather may still be a few weeks off, there are a still plenty of opportunities for golfers to tune up their swing on some of the best golf courses in Europe, while their local clubs prepare for the new season ahead.
Golf resorts are an excellent choice for anyone looking to begin their preparations for the new season, offering both outstanding golfing experiences, and also a chance to relax and unwind afterwards – and not just in the clubhouse bar! In fact, golf resorts offer much more besides, with spas, gymnasiums and swimming pools just a few of the additions that are available through golf resort holidays.
So what are the best golf resorts to go for? Here’s a run-down of the top 10 golf resorts to be found in the UK and Europe.
Wales’ Celtic Manor resort is a true world-class resort and represents a jewel in the crown among UK golf courses and resorts. Situated within easy traveling distance of Cardiff International airport, the 5-Star Celtic Manor resort can be found among 1400 acres of parkland in the picturesque Usk Valley and the resort has been nominated to host the 2010 renewal of Ryder Cup.
The Celtic Manor boasts three golf courses – the Roman Road course, the Montgomerie course and the Twenty Ten course, which will stage the Ryder Cup matches. Off course there is a host of facilities available to help you relax and unwind after a day on the fairways, including a health club and spa, as well as shooting, tennis and a range of walking trails among the Usk Valley’s stunning landscapes. Find cheap flights to Cardiff
Set in 850 acres of stunning Perthshire countryside, Gleneagles is world-famous as a luxury resort; indeed, its 5-Star Gleneagles Hotel has welcomed a number of celebrities, while its three golf courses have played host to countless famous names from the golfing world and beyond.
Gleneagles’ golf offering includes the Kings Course, which until recently was the venue for the Scottish Open, the Queens Course and the Jack Nicklaus-designed Centenary Course, which will welcome the 2014 Ryder Cup tournament.
Aside from the golf, there’s the chance to sample some of the finest fishing in Scotland or ramble through the stunning scenery, while hotel facilities include a gymnasium, sauna and Jacuzzi. The Gleneagles resort is situated only an hour’s drive from Edinburgh International airport. Find cheap flights to Edinburgh
Golfers seeking solace from the UK weather could do worse than to consider the excellent La Manga golf resort. Situated in the Murcia region of Spain, on the Costa Calida, and an hour’s travel from Murcia airport, the La Manga golf resort has deservedly won the accolade of being named European Golf Resort of the Year on numerous occasions – and with good reason.
With three championship standard golf courses to choose from – the West Course, the North Course, and the South Course – the La Manga golf resort offers the very best in both golf and leisure facilities – all under the Spanish sun! Find cheap flights to Murcia
The Sotogrande resort lies in the Cadiz region of Spain and is situated within easy travelling distance of both Gibraltar and Malaga airports; providing golfers with an excellent base from which to enjoy the best of the local area’s golf offerings.
With numerous excellent golf courses located within a 30-minute drive, golfers will never be far from the fairways. Meanwhile the resort hotel provides first-class hospitality for those times away from the course, and the town of Sotogrande itself also offers a wide choice of bars and restaurants.
With stunning panoramas over the Mediterranean coastline and the Rock of Gibraltar, Sotogrande is an ideal destination for a sun-soaked golf holiday. Find cheap flights to Malaga
Turkey may not be renowned for golf quite yet, but the Sueno Golf Resort is making giant strides into putting Turkey on the map for an excellent golf break. Situated in the coastal town of Belek, in the Antalya region of Turkey, the purpose built Sueno Golf resort offers golfers a choice of two excellent courses to tackle – the Pines and the Dunes.
Rich in character, both courses offer a stern challenge to golfers of all abilities. With a wealth of facilities to enjoy off-course, as well as the glorious Mediterranean climate that Turkey affords, the Sueno Golf Resort can be reached via the region’s Antalya airport, only 25 minutes away. Find cheap flights to Antalya
Situated in the Algarve, Le Meridien Penina golf resort offers golfers a choice of three excellent golf courses, each of which is situated only a 9-iron from the hotel. The resort’s 18 hole Championship golf course, which has been designed by Sir Henry Cotton, and along with the supporting Palmares and Morgardo courses offers golfers an excellent choice when it comes to golf, while off course the resort’s plentiful facilities are of 5-Star standard.
With Faro airport situated only an hour away, Le Meridien Penina offers excellent golf in the Algarve sunshine. Find cheap flights to Faro
Situated in some 550 acres of prime Warwickshire countryside, The Belfry resort needs little introduction. The resort’s Brabazon golf course has seen many of golf’s great names walk down its fairways during each of the four Ryder Cup tournaments to have been played on the course and golfers can follow in the footsteps of Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Padraig Harrington, and Tiger Woods.
With a further two courses situated within the resort – the PGA National Course and the Derby Course – The Belfry offers golfers a stern test regardless of the course played, while the outstanding facilities on offer away from the fairways makes The Belfry a ‘must stay’ resort for any golfer to experience.
What’s more, The Belfry resort is easily accessible, being situated within easy reach of Birmingham International airport, while the region is well served by road and rail. Find cheap flights to Birmingham
The Praia D’El Rey resort, situated less than an hour from Lisbon, Portugal, offers golfers one of the most picturesque and challenging golf experiences in Europe. Boasting a championship-standard golf course that intricately combines the best of links and inland golf,
Praia D’El Rey also affords some stunning, unspoiled beaches that are ideal for soaking up some Portugese sun away from the golf course, while the resort’s luxury facilities ensure a wholly relaxing time. Lisbon airport is around an hour’s drive, so visitors can be on the fairways soon after they arrive. Find cheap flights to Lisbon
Deep in the heart of County Kildare and within 30 minutes of Dublin Airport lies The K Club.The venue for the 2006 Ryder Cup, the K Club boasts two championship standard golf courses – the Palmer Course and the Smurfit Course, both of which have been designed by Arnold Palmer.
Both radically different to one another, both courses offer a sublime golfing experience, while the first class resorts facilities provide the perfect way to relax and unwind.
The K-Club offers everything a golf resort should – and much more – and there’s no reason not to give the K Club golf resort a visit! Find cheap flights to Dublin
The Desert Springs golf resort can be found around one hour north-east of the Spanish town of Almeria and its airport, and offers golfers the first, true American desert golfing experience in Europe.
Influenced by the desert courses found on the American golf circuit, Desert Springs boasts a champion standard golf course which has been designed and built to USGA specifications, while offering a demanding yet fair test to golfers of all levels, as well as a completely different golfing experience.
The resort also boasts a range of first-class leisure facilities in which to relax away from the course, including tennis courts, horse riding and swimming pool, and it’s little wonder that the Desert Springs golf resort enjoys a lofty reputation among golfers looking for that perfect blend of excellent golf and warm sunshine. Find cheap flights to Almeria
So, while your local golf club may still be playing on winter greens and the fairways may feel like sponges underfoot, a golf resort holiday may be the answer to getting your swing back in the groove, in preparation for the new season.