AS the red-hot summer starts to become a distant memory it might be time to start thinking about a winter golf break in the sun – and there are plenty of options to choose from to suit all budgets.
Some of them are pretty obvious, others might not be. Having first covered 3 Winter Golf Destinations You Must Experience, we look at the USA, Dubai and the beautiful island of Mauritius, each coming recommended by our friends at Golfbreaks.
The United States is a vast country and it is clearly impossible to give you a detailed breakdown, but there are a couple of areas that stand out for winter breaks from the UK.
Located an hour south of Charleston you will find Kiawah Island nestled on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The Kiawah Villas range in size from one to four-bedrooms and provide guests with lots of space and great views of the surrounding area.
With five championship courses, including the legendary Ocean Course, golfers will enjoy all the choices available. With first-class dining options, Kiawah Island has everything.
The stylish and well-designed villas come with fully equipped kitchens and TVs in each of the bedrooms. Bedding options vary depending on your choice of unit, but with such a vast array of villas available, there is always a fit with each group. Many of the villas feature ocean and garden views, allowing guests to indulge in the beautiful low country landscape.
With 11 restaurants located across the resort, there is plenty of choice. If you’re looking for steak try the Ocean Room Restaurant – the only steakhouse in the US to earn a Forbes 4-star and an AAA 4 diamond rating. The Sushi Lounge is also located at The Sanctuary, with a bar also onsite for after diner thirst-quenching drinks.
For dining across the rest of the resort and Kiawah Island, Mingo Point Oyster Roast and BBQ serves delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere which includes dancing and live music. Or perhaps you would prefer some poolside dining at The Night Heron Grill. There is also a selection of clubhouse restaurants. The Atlantic Room, Ryder Cup Bar, Tomasso at Turtle Point and Cherrywood BBQ are all perfect for a well-earned meal following a round at Kiawah.
Guests can utilise The Spa at The Sanctuary, which is rated as one of the best in the country. Villa guests also have access to the Night Heron Pool and West Beach Pool complexes on the island.
Kiawah Island is a golfer’s paradise, with five courses. The Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course, host to the 1991 Ryder Cup, Rory McIlroy’s empathic PGA Championship win in 2012 and Phil Mickelson’s dramatic major success in 2021, is an absolute must-play. Add Osprey, Turtle, Cougar and Oak Point to the mix and you have a selection of courses that will rival any resort in the world.
The Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa is located next to TPC Sawgrass in Florida. With a variety of accommodation options, guests choosing to stay here will be sure to experience a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Guests will also be able to indulge in the numerous dining options and relax at the onsite spa or swimming pools. With access to the Cabana Beach Club, guests can relax on the white-sand shores of the Atlantic Ocean after a great round of golf.
Rooms and suites are located in what is known as the Main Tower, with multiple dining options, shops and spa.
There are plenty of dining options. Alice & Pete’s Pub (a nod to Alice and Pete Dye), serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. There are plenty of TVs scattered throughout the restaurant as well as billiards and be sure to test your accuracy at the Floating Hole-in-One Challenge with the smaller replica of the famed 17th hole. Also available is the American Gator Club, a relaxed bar serving refreshing drinks and small bites overlooking the 13th hole of The Stadium Course.
Vernon’s First Coast Kitchen & Bar is the resort’s most formal restaurant and serves farm-to-table cuisine and fresh seafood for breakfast and dinner and offers sweeping views of the resort. Meanwhile, several other quick service and casual options can be found.
Spa & Leisure
For a relaxing day away from the golf course, the Sawgrass Spa offers 20,000 square feet of complete serenity and relaxation. With 18 treatment rooms, guests can enjoy any number of services including massages, therapy baths, and plenty more.
The fitness centre is also housed at the Sawgrass Spa and features a variety of equipment to keep you in shape for your next round. Additionally, the Cabana Beach Club, located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, is accessible to guests and offers private beach access, a swimming pool, and snack bar.
The Stadium Course is one of the best and most famous courses in the world, and simply must be ticked off the bucket-list, if only for the opportunity to play the iconic par-three 17th island hole. Dye’s Valley Course is also located at TPC Sawgrass and is another great test designed by Pete Dye.
Trump National Doral is a five-star resort in the heart of Miami. The 800-acre resort boasts first-rate facilities, which includes a 33-treatment room Spa, 693 bedrooms and suites, six pools, five restaurants, a Kids Club and four golf courses.
Trump Doral offers guests championship golf, spectacular cuisine and luxurious accommodation in a superb tropical climate with dedicated and professional staff.
There are four restaurants. The Champion Bar & Grill’s clubroom ambiance is the perfect social location to relax and review your round of golf for the day. The BLT Prime restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor panoramic views of the iconic Blue Monster Course, serving steaks and fresh seafood, amongst other modern dishes.
For a poolside and relaxed dining experience, then the Palm Grill is a suitable option – with locally sourced ceviche, pressed sandwiches and a mix of other traditional dishes. Alternatively, if you’re looking for more of a quick stop dining option, then the Marketplace Café is a great place to pick up a warm beverage, delicious pastry, or a light bite to eat.
Spa & Leisure
The Spa & Wellness centre at Trump Miami boasts 33 treatments rooms, ensuring that all of its guests are extremely well catered for. With a vast range of over 100 signature spa services on offer, men, women and couples can enjoy a full day of relaxation and escape.
Trump National Golf Club boasts four championship 18-hole golf courses, the Blue Monster, Red Tiger, Golden Palm and Silver Fox, as well as the Jim McLean Learning Centre, one of the top golf schools in the country.
Blue Monster Course
This 7,500-yard championship golf course was originally designed by Dick Wilson, but over the past 20 years has been modified and updated to meet the USGA standards by Raymond Floyd and world-renowned golf instructor Jim McLean. Most recently the greens and bunkers were improved under the watchful eye of the PGA Tour for the World Golf Championships, whose inaugural event was played here in 2007. Nicknamed ‘The Monster’, this golf course is an absolute cracker and offers a great challenge.
Silver Fox Course
Unique amongst the Doral courses, golf legend Jerry Pate redesigned the Silver Fox Course to break away from a Florida-style layout to include narrow rolling fairways, raised tee boxes and elevated greens. The golf course offers a diverse mix of short and long holes throughout the course, with water coming into play on 16 of the holes. Designed for all levels of play, and featuring a signature 14th hole island green, the course hosted the 1999 PGA Qualifying School.
Red Tiger Course
For a round that challenges both your mental and physical game, The Red Tiger Course forces golfers to use strategy and shot placement rather than bombing drives all day long. Featuring 14 water hazardous holes, with fairways winding around several lakes, the Red Course provides breathtaking beauty and exhilarating challenges without intimidating length. Host of the LPGA in 2001 for the Office Depot Championship, this is another great test in the lovely Doral surroundings.
Widely recognised as one of the world’s best golfing destinations, the United Arab Emirates is home to several DP World Tour events and an unbelievable selection of desert golf throughout Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.
Here, we look at a few of the Dubai options.
The 5-star, Media Rotana hotel has 460 rooms, a wide range of dining options and a purpose built health and fitness centre.
With five different dining experiences available, you won’t be short of choice. The Connexions restaurant serves an exquisite a la carte menu whilst The Terrace and Prego’s both offer authentic food, found on the outside terraces.
The Bodylines health and fitness centre has everything you could need including a fully functional gym and outdoor swimming pool.
Located in the city centre, the Novotel Dubai Al Barsha provides quick, easy access to many of Dubai’s leisure attractions, including many of the Emirate’s world famous golf courses.
The Novotel Dubai Al Barsha has 465 rooms, all with a flat screen TV, minibar and tea/coffee facilities.
There are three restaurants available on-site: ‘365 All Day Dining’ where food from all over the world is freshly prepared all day. ‘Café Java’ is a cafe open 24 hours serving fresh light meals including French pastries, coffees and smoothies. ‘Cravin’ Cajun’ is the final on-site restaurant where American dishes from all over the states is served. ‘Bubbles Bar’ is a modern bar with a Parisian feel where cocktails are served from midday to past midnight. Lastly, ‘Deck Se7en’ is a beautiful poolside bar overlooking Jumeirah, serving fruity cocktails and easy snacks.
There is also a spa with seven treatment rooms and a wide variety of relaxing, enriching treatments to enable you to relax after your round of golf.
Located on the banks of Dubai’s water canal, Hilton Al Habtoor offers 44 floors of luxury. There is a fantastic choice of nine restaurants and lounges and four rooftop pools, making this hotel the perfect retreat while on a well-deserved golf break.
The hotel provides an array of rooms from guest rooms to suites, with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing for spectacular views of Dubai. The modern and stylish rooms provide an ideal getaway from the Dubai heat. The hotel also offers three outdoor swimming pools, a 24-hour health club and a spa tub. With a tennis court, jogging track and playground, there is plenty to keep the whole family occupied.
The Elixir Spa offers unparalleled comfort and relaxation to guests, with 4,000 sqm of restful space. There is a wide range of therapies available. The spa includes a sauna, spa tub, steam room and a Turkish bath.
Home to the Dubai Desert Classic, this is a must-play layout in Dubai. The Clubhouse reflects a Bedouin tented village, and visitors are guaranteed to experience the oldest Arabian tradition of all, hospitality.
Opened in 1988, the Majlis Course was nicknamed “The Desert Miracle” when it became Dubai’s first all-grass championship course. It is a par 72 measuring 7,200 yards. The course record is held by Ernie Els, with a 61.
The seven lakes and the natural vegetation make this golf course visually stunning, and a real challenge.
A design collaboration between Colin Montgomerie and Desmond Muirhead, The Montgomerie Golf Club features 14 lakes and 81 bunkers.
Set within a pine forest and sandy ridges, the feel of the natural environment has been maintained, thereby enhancing the particular characteristics of the golf course. Although large in size, the greens can be very misleading, with the slopes and speed quickly grabbing your attention. The fourth hole is a signature par-five, dubbed the Snake hole for its saddleback fairway which doglegs towards the green.
The stunning course measures 7,283 yards from the back tees. It meanders through a series of valleys and a network of lakes to create a high quality golfing experience, along with striking views of the Burj Khalifa from almost all holes on the course.
The warm up area can further be converted into a 9-hole short course during the evenings.
Opened in 2007, the Els Club has been an instant classic which has garnered much praise from the golf community for its perfect blend of modern contemporary design with more traditional features. The Els Club prides itself on being able to provide a five-star experience to all golfers from start-to-finish.
The course has a true links feel, with broad rolling fairways, steep greenside bunkers, grassy swales and tricky Bermuda grass greens.
A tiny tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, playing golf in Mauritius is complete bliss. Stay at some of the island’s most luxurious resorts, play picture-perfect courses and enjoy the friendly hospitality. Indulge in the many colours of the island, with the deep blue of the sea, white sands of the beaches, and emerald green fairways.
The five-star Constance Belle Mare Plage is located directly on a 2 km white sandy beach, set in tropical gardens. The beach is protected by an offshore coral reef, making it ideal for swimming, water sports and snorkelling.
The hotel has 278 rooms, suites and villas. All rooms are comfortably furnished using modern wood and marble. They have a furnished terrace or balcony, air conditioning, bathroom with separate shower/bath/ WC, hairdryer, satellite TV via an Apple Mac Mini system that provides complimentary Wi-Fi , movies and music on demand. There is a telephone with voicemail, mini bar, individual safe, desk, sitting area and 24-hour room service. The most popular room type at the hotel is the Junior Suite, either sea facing or beachfront.
The hotel has seven restaurants. La Citronelle is the hotel’s main buffet restaurant, serving international cuisine. If you fancy something more classic, you could also sample La Spiaggia which specialises in Mediterranean cuisine.
For local Mauritian dishes, try the Deer Hunter, which is located in the Legend clubhouse. For lighter snacks, such as sandwiches and salads, you can either choose Indigo Beach or Le Swing, or even La Kaze, which also serves grilled dishes and Pizzas. Last but not least, the Blue Penny Café Gourmet Restaurant is a must-visit at least once during your stay.
There are two spas, four swimming pools, a kids club, floodlit tennis courts, fitness facilities and the boathouse offers a wide range of complimentary water sports activities.
The Legend Course, designed by South African Hugh Baiocchi, is a championship layout, surrounded by water and built to USPGA specifications. It is located right next to the Belle Mare Plage resort and regularly holds a Senior Tour event. Nature lovers alike can admire herds of Java deer on this course.
The Links Course was opened in 2002, designed by Rodney Wright and Peter Alliss. It is a 5-minute transfer from Belle Mare, and is a more undulating layout, set in a natural terrain with the course facing the setting sun. There is a complimentary shuttle service to both golf courses for hotel guests.