Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world, played by over 60 million people worldwide every year. Golf originated on the continent of Europe and remains one of the best places in the world to play the game. Some of the golf courses here attract professionals from around the world to play here every year. Here you can not only enjoy some of the most historical and oldest cultures in the world but you can also take a day or two to play on some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world creating a perfect spot for a family vacation. If you are thinking of spending a portion of your vacation on the sunny links in Europe, consider some of these top golf spots.
St. Andrews, Scotland
You can not talk about golf in Europe without talking about the accused St. Andrews Golf Course in Scotland. It is believed to be the birthplace of the game and is the oldest golf course in the world. The links here were founded in the 1400's where it became increasingly popular throughout Scotland. It is here that the rules of the game were developed and hammered out over the centuries. For example the original course was 22 holes but was later changed to 18. Major championships are played here every year and a round of golf here would be a proud notch on any avid golfer's belt. The Old Course is open to the public and combines history with a love of the game.
There are many hotels in St. Louis Andrews to choose from. Five-star luxury hotels to smaller more intimate accommodations as well. Even if you do not play golf you can join a guided tour of grounds and learn about the history and even hear some spooky ghost stories and legends.
Approximately 30 miles north of Paris, in the Ile de France forest and is considered one of the best courses in France, if not the best. It is notoriously challenging as well as remarkably pretty. Several major tournaments are played here as well and it's close location to Paris make it easy to get to and still have a wealth of history and sites to see for whole family.
The town of Chantilly is equally as historic with the famous Chateau de Chantilly built in the 1560's. You can tour the grounds that once bread some of the regions most noble horses as well as the museum, stables and house itself. The town has many great restaurants featuring mostly authentic French food. It is a smaller town but with its fantastic charm and renovated golf course, it will be a once in a lifetime experience.
The sun drenched countryide and mile uplinks of coastline makes Spain one of the most scenic locations to play golf. The sunny, mild climate make it a good place to play any time of year. One of the top ranked golf courses here is the Cantalunya PGA course. Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains, not far from Spain's northern border with France, these well laid out and scenic course is one of Spain's best. The course itself is not far from the beautiful Costa Brava, one of Spain's most stunning stretches of coastline. The wine and food in these regions is delicious and is a unique blend of both Spanish and French influence. The Stadium course is considered the best at Catalunya and was the product of over a decade of planning to make it not only stunning visually but challenging to play as well.
What is even more perfect is that Catalunya is located a mere 45 minutes north of Barcelona, one of the best cities in Spain to explore. You can either stay in Barcelona so that you can enjoy all that wonderful city has to offer with its art, culture, food, wine, and music or you can stay at some of the local hotels.
Another renovated course in Spain is Valderrama, considered to be as grand as the Augusta National in the United States. This course is located near the southern tip of Spain not far from the Strait of Gibraltar. It is located just outside the village of Sotogrande, a charming small town. This is considered one of the best courses in the world and it also hosts many international championship tournaments making it very notable to most golfers. Keep in mind though that it is still a private course so it may be difficult to tee off and it is known for being quite expensive as well.
Ireland is covered with world class golf courses so no matter what region you are traveling too, odds are you will easily be able to find a golf course unlike any other. In the historic town of Ballybunion, you certainly will not be disappointed. There are some of the most beautiful links in the world set in the scenic countryside of County Kerry. It too is notorious challenging but fantastic and most overlook the chilly Atlantic waters.