This is the beginning of a new category of articles and posts which will, quite irregular to start with, surface here on Golficiency.
Over the years of golf travel and golf travel preparation, I was a keen collector of travel ideas and hence created quite a substantial golf bucket list. It grew longer and longer. So long that it’s easy to snip here and there and build a neat little golf trip around it.
As my list consists of international courses of all sorts, it should be relevant and interesting for a broad spectrum of golf enthusiasts, just like you!
I traveled for golf and I traveled with golf — and I’m sure you appreciate as well some well investigated golf course, travel and suitable accomodation information to have you all prepared for a great golf break with your partner, your mates or your family.
Could there be anything better than golf travel; get around the world, see new places, meet new people, play the best golf courses and stay at fantastic hotels and resorts? … See, there you have it! Nothing beats a great golf trip. Well, almost nothing.
Stay tuned for some great articles coming your way. Make sure to follow Golficiency on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to not miss a thing.
As the weather turns colder and more miserable outside here in Central Europe, it fills me with great memories of late 2019, when I played golf during winter, which in Mallorca feels nothing but great with its blue skies and very pleasant and moderate temperatures.
At the same time it gives me a heavy heart as so much happened during the past months which did not turn well for golf in the Balearics or for the lovely islands in general. Of course I’m relating to the COVID-19 lockdown and all the unfortunate consequences that come with it.
This is a travel and course report of the better times when playing golf was an obvious thing to do in good weather and when every chance to play such a course is an absolute must.
Mallorca is a golf mekka, I don’t break this to you I’m sure. On this rather small island there are not less than 24 golf courses and the vast majority of them are publicly available to play.
The oldest, since 1964, and maybe hence the most original course of the island is Golf Son Vida, meandering around the famous Castillo Son Vida Hotel and through the posh and sophisticated Son Vida urbanizacion, just 10 minutes outside of Palma.
Nowadays Mallorca is famous as a golf destination all across Europe, if not the world — and it all started with Son Vida, the grand dame of Mallorcan golf courses.
To be pretty clear upfront, I had a great time in Mallorca, couple of months ago. Playing golf in beautiful sunshine in the middle of the European winter, having great company with like-minded people – what else could you ask for?
Well, you could want to live like a king while you are there? Exaggerated? Yes of course, but understandable at the same time.
Golf in Mallorca is a feast for the senses. People playing golf here are hedonists, longing for joy, fun, elegance and pleasure. And they get exactly that. The golf courses in the region cater for exactly those people, offering great golf and at the same time great amenities, great food and service.
Imagine you could play like a king, eat like a king and sleep like a king! Sounds promising? Then you should maybe consider the Castillo Hotel Son Vida Mallorca as one of your next golf trip destinations. Not only are the courses top-notch, the hotel seriously screams superiority, classiness and luxury. No wonder the hotel is part of the prestigious “Luxury Collection“, a sub brand of hotels that really live up to utmost luxurious requirements.
The Castillo Hotel is run by the Marriott hotel group, sits on top of a mountain in the Urbanización Son Vida, the famous neighborhood of stately mansions, overlooking Palma and the bay.
I’ve been to Dubai couple of times, always enjoyed it very much, did a lot of touristy things, did a lot of expat things, played a lot of golf—but what I didn’t do for some reason is night golf: golfing under floodlights.
See Iona Stephen in this Golfing World video teeing it off at the Faldo Course at the Emirates Golf Club Dubai to get some impression how that looks like. As I haven’t experienced this myself, it’s hard to assess how the actual feeling might be, whether it’s such a different game that it’s not real golf anymore. Watching the video, it does look like proper golf and I’m intrigued to check it out myself soon.
Two rounds of golf at a fantastic Mediterranean venue, in such a beautiful spot in the world. What else could you ask for. Is it worth it though?
The island of Mallorca has always been close to my heart. Not that I spent most of my holidays here, but when I first set foot on this island many years ago, I fell in love with the interesting complexity of it which seems to get forgotten sometimes when you read about Mallorca and its annual struggle to cope with the sheer amount of tourists coming here.
It’s an obvious beautiful island but also looking a bit deeper, it reveals so many great things, so beautiful spots, so tranquil places, so utterly fantastic stuff which stay more or less uncovered if you’d just spend a beach summer break or something alike there.
Cyclists know why Mallorca is special and golfers do, too.
With the year 2020 becoming more and more strange, this all is going differently than planned. Early May will be the first possibility to hit some balls and if all things go alright and there is no second COVID-wave coming our way the season will be shortened quite drastically anyway and requires some adjustments to the travel and game plan of 2020.
Courses I most definitely want to play this year in my area:
In addition some others a bit farther away:
Originally I had some others on the list, some in Munich, a trip to Hamburg, another one to Berlin, one to Weimar or to the south-west of Germany.
Also, the original plan had open slots for travel to Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark and Abu Dhabi at the end of the year to play some golf. I’m pretty sure this is not happening this year though.
Stay positive, play as much golf as you can and appreciate that you can play at all.
For those who don’t know Arabella Golf Mallorca so far, here is a quick reference.
The Arabella brand was founded by the German billionaire family Schörghuber. The empire was built on construction and beer—two things which not only go well together but apparently are very lucrative, if you do it right. The Bavarian Paulaner beer might be something you are aware of in that sense (and taste).
But they also ventured into hotels and golf, two things that also fit quite nicely. Under the Arabella brand there are hotel resorts and golf courses across Europe; predominantly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain.
For Mallorca in particular, there is a subsidiary bearing the name of the famous island in the brand itself: Arabella Golf Mallorca. They operate several courses in the Palma region and are respected as some of the best on Mallorca, if not Spain altogether.
The year 2019 ended well for me. After I basically stowed away all my clubs for the winter break – yes, you heard right, I don’t play in snow – just then I received the invitation to take part in the 2019 Mallorca Press Cup.
The cup itself is an annual gathering of European golf and golf travel writers of all sorts of media, to group them together in beautiful Mallorca and have them experience the great golf and great amenities available.
No question, I was all in for it, packed my stuff and off I went on a cold dark December morning to be greeted two hours later by Mediterranean sunshine, cosy temperatures, and last but not least by the chauffeur and his black S-Class Mercedes who was about to take me to my hotel.
It’s been some years ago that I went to Mauritius for our honeymoon. The island, the hotels, the golf, the whole trip turned out to be quite exceptional—and not just because it was such a special occasion.
Mauritius is Africa’s second largest economy and indeed rich in beautiful beaches and golf courses. Being on the island, I was fortunate enough to play the “The Links” and “The Legend” courses at Belle Mare Plage, and also the Le Touessrok as it was known back then, today referred as the Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club. And I enjoyed them all.
Yes it was my honeymoon and I may have been in an emotional high anyway, but by all means, the setting, the quality and the general attractiveness of the courses is superb.
I left the country/island after two weeks, knowing I will be back some day. First because one of the hotels we stayed in was absolutely the best you could ask for, and second because there are still some golf treasures to be lifted.
For my second trip I have two courses definitely on my list:
Both courses look just fantastic on pictures. Both are situated on the south coast of Mauritius and Anahita is actually placed adjacent to the Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club; not on an island but on a beautiful peninsula, formerly belonging to the Four Seasons hotel group.
The Anahita is a fully fledged Ernie Els design 18-hole course, while the Heritage is a Peter Matkovich design 18-hole plus 9-hole pitch and putt. They are not far from each other, so just perfect to fit in one trip—as getting from A to B in Mauritius is not as easy (and quick) as it sounds.
I just can’t wait to plan my next trip to Mauritius to check out the courses, maybe the related hotels and to tell you guys everything about it afterwards.
Truth be told, I never had the chance to play golf in Ireland. I’ve been there couple of times, mostly for business, but never was able to squeeze in some golf. I know… shame on me.
When I think about golf in Ireland I’m dreaming about lush green fairways, great hospitality and a fantastic experience eventually. What I do however picture (for some reason) are links courses such as the typical suspects Old Head, Tralee, Lahinch, Waterville, Doonbeg, Ballybunion, just to name a few.
Obviously with that I don’t do justice to all the great courses which are indeed inland courses. The famous K Club comes to mind, and not to forget, Adare Manor.
While Adare might have been a tad more under the radar than others, this is absolutely about to change very soon, if not already happened recently. Adare Manor was officially chosen to stage the 2026 Ryder Cup! And what an event to start with.
The venue, golf course and hotel complex, was opulently renovated in 2017. It’s an original Robert Trent Jones Snr. design and was reconstructed and renovated by Tom Fazio and is since then equipped with all the modern aspects and technology golf has to offer. While the setting by the 18th century manor house and the park-style routing suggests something else, the course boasts state-of-the-art technology, for example SubAir systems, the first ever course in Irland to use that.
Fazio commented: “Most golfers will never have seen anything like this course. It looks and plays like no other course in Ireland. This will be a stand out course in Europe and, with the Adare Manor house and estate as its setting, will be one of the finest stay and play venues ever created.”
Looking at the pictures taken from the Adare website, don’t tell me you’re not falling in love with this place. I am most definitely. I seriously can’t wait to play there and review everything one day, hopefully before the Ryder Cup is foreshadowed in a couple of years.
So I’m waiting for that invitation—just saying! :)