The World's Most Scenic Golf Courses: A Guide for Travelers
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Golfers, we know you have your favorite clubs and courses. We also know that there are probably a couple of golf courses on your bucket list because they’re renowned for their challenging nature… Or their absolute beauty.
If part of the reason you love being on the course is the majestic scenery, here are the world’s most scenic golf courses that are well worth swinging your golf clubs at.
Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort, Bulgaria
Bulgaria might not seem like a premier golfing destination, but once you set your eyes on Thracian Cliffs, it’ll find a firm spot on your “Courses to Play Before I Die” list. The biggest clue to its spectacular features is in its name—you’ll be teeing off atop a rugged cliff, affording you some of the most magnificent golfing views on the planet.
With a sea view on every hole, you’ll need to harness your focus when it comes to getting a good score here! The course itself has some bite, although it offers multiple tee positions for golfers of all levels.
Between the majestic views of the Black Sea and the possibility of losing a golf ball down the cliff, it’s an exciting play. We’ll all understand if you don’t score your best here—the environment is too beautiful to not get just a little distracted!
Royal County Down Golf Club, Northern Ireland
Routed naturally and inconspicuously through a nature reserve, Royal County Down is surprisingly eye-catching for a fairly level links-style course. From all holes, you’ll have an awe-inspiring view of the Mountains of Mourne and the shores of Dundrum Bay, giving you a different pretty picture from every angle.
There are no trees to obstruct the expansive view on this course. You can see for miles, which adds an almost tangible element of freedom to this course. The sun, the sand, the sea… And, of course, the beautiful curves of the golf course make this a lovely place to swing your clubs.
Kauri Cliffs Golf Course, New Zealand
We’d expect nothing less than a jaw-dropping course from the land of Lord of the Rings, and Kauri Cliffs doesn’t disappoint. Six holes play right beside the Pacific Ocean, along a cliff top that drops steeply to the sea.
You’ll be able to marvel at the ocean from 15 holes, and even the holes without a view are stunning. Routed through forest, marsh, and a bit of farmland, there’s a bit of beauty on every acre of this course.
Banff Springs Golf Course, Canada
Banff is the epitome of mountain golf. 360-degree views and a layout to challenge every golfer, there’s absolutely nothing to be lost by playing a round here. Laid out in Canada's Rocky Mountains, you’ll be surrounded by stunning vistas in every direction.
On the course, the closely-packed fir trees give the illusion of being in another world, far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s an intimate course, and you’ll be so closely surrounded by nature that you’ll be forgiven for dropping a few shots along the way.
The layout is challenging, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from playing here. This experience is about much more than just golf, so whatever your skill level, add Banff to your bucket list.
Royal Birkdale Golf Club, England
For a rough-and-tumble links course that’s very flat, this course is beautiful. It’s expertly routed and has a huge expanse of open space around it, making you feel like you’re really out on the moors.
It’s located on the Southport coast, and you’ll catch a glimpse of the water from a few of the holes. Whether the weather’s cool or clear, you’ll feel connected to nature and enjoy the gorgeous natural scenery at the Royal Birkdale.
It’s a bit of a diamond in the rough, but if you happen to be in the Southport area, don’t miss it! The atmosphere isn’t the only draw, though—the golf is superb as well.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, USA
The spirit of true Scottish links right in the USA. But nobody goes to Bandon Dunes just for the golf… It’s also one of the most spectacular golf courses in the country. There’s a total of six courses—with a new one coming in 2024—each one blending perfectly with the natural landscape.
Three of them play right along the ocean, with dramatic views and the constant sound of the waves crashing below you. The courses that aren’t along the coast are still absolutely gorgeous, featuring green brush, curvy landscapes, and a sea breeze.
Leopard Creek Country Club, South Africa
South Africa is known for its beauty and its wildlife, and while this course takes care to keep wildlife from venturing onto the greens and potentially being injured (or injuring a golfer), there’s plenty of beauty to take in on this course.
Every hole is an experience on its own. Most of them feature water hazards in the form of lakes or streams, and some feature picturesque views of the surrounding “koppies”. While the fairways are on the forgiving side, it’s a beautiful experience to play your way through this course.
Cape Wickham Links, Australia
Every single hole on this course has a sea view. Situated on the northeastern tip of King Island, this course pays tribute to the traditional links style of Scotland, featuring undulating terrain and expertly-routed holes that flow effortlessly with the natural landscape.
No two holes play the same, so despite the views and the ocean breeze, you’ll need to pay attention if you want a good score here! Also, keep in mind the Australian weather—your round won’t be remembered with as much fondness if you get sunstroke! Wear a hat, be generous with sunscreen, and stay hydrated.
The Legends Golf Course, Mauritius
Don’t think the beaches in Mauritius are only for sunbathing! The championship Legends Golf Course is routed through an indigenous forest and runs alongside one of the most beautiful beaches in the area.
It’s got everything a nature lover could want in a golf course—ocean proximity, mountain views, and immersion in a forest environment. If you’ve got a camera, slip it into your golf bag and be prepared to take longer than usual as you stop to enjoy the rich scenery.
About the Author
Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring young golfers, he writes in-depth articles for his website, Golf Influence.