Most golf enthusiasts planning a European golf holiday already know that many championship courses are open to the public. But for the other golf lovers who desire a little more information, this guide to five of the top public courses may be a bit of a surprise. That’s because many of the world’s leading golf courses are available to both its private club members and the general public. While some reservations may take a little longer than others, here are five of the best public golf courses in Europe.
Golf Club Budersand Sylt
2599 Hörnum (Sylt), Germany
+04651 27 10
Located in an area known as the “Beverly Hills of Germany,” Golf Club Budersand Sylt is an elite country club whose 18-hole course is open to the public. Situated in the country’s northernmost island near the Danish border, the golf course and club is part of a luxury resort which includes a five-star hotel, fine dining and an award-winning spa. The par 72 course designed by Rolf-Stephan Hansen measures 6020 meters (6583 yards) from the white tee, with a flat, albeit slightly undulating, terrain and spectacular ocean views. Visitors are welcome daily, but advance booking is suggested and a valid handicap certificate from each player’s home club is required. Also at one of Germany’s most popular golf courses is a putting green and the clubhouse with a pro shop, rentals and restaurant.
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St. Andrews Links
The Links House
W. Sands Road
St. Andrews KY16 9XL
+44 1334 466718
Featuring seven golf courses in Fife, Scotland, including the iconic Old Course, St. Andrews is the largest public golf complex in Europe. However, due to its legendary status, the 6,680-meter (7,305 yards) par 72 Old Course, said to be the world’s oldest, requires booking reservations several months in advance by luck of the draw with the Old Course Ballot or by purchase of a golf package directly or with a tour operator like St. Andrews Golf Travel. Of course, golfers who simply don’t want to wait until late in the year to play a round of 18 will have a much easier chance of booking one of the other six courses, including the Jubilee and the New Course. Nevertheless, the Old Course is considered by many golfers as the ultimate golf course for their respective bucket lists.
2 Avenue Golf
78280 Guyancourt, France
+01 30 43 36 00
Situated close to Paris and Versailles, Golf National offers three golf courses including the famed Albatros. Known as one of the finest championship golf courses in Europe, the Albatros is a 6,600-meter (7217 yard) par 72 course and has been the host of the Open de France since 1991. Co-designed by Hubert Chesneau and von Hagge Design Associates, the championship course was named best in France last year and is well known for its outstanding greens and multiple hazards. Le Golf National offers a variety of special offers to golfers, including an all-inclusive golf day with a VIP breakfast, a round of golf, gift bag, on-course catering and more. In 2018, Golf National will host the Ryder Cup, the biennial high profile golf tournament pitting the European team against members of the U.S. team.
UNA Poggio dei Medici Golf Club
Via di S. Gavino, 27
50038 Scaperia, Firenze, Italy
With sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside, UNA Poggio dei Medici Golf Club offers what’s likely the finest golf course in Italy. Located on a magnificent resort in the Mugello Valley, the par 73 championship course opened in 1992 and extends 6,468 meters (7,073 yards) but also features four other starting tees. Designed by Alvise Rossi and golfer Baldovino Dassù, the course is open to hotel guests and visitors year ’round, seven days a week and is also available for private or team lessons. The 70-room upscale hotel also features a restaurant for up to 170 guests, a fitness center and a gorgeous swimming pool, in addition to Villa di Cignano, the former hunting house of the famous Medici Family available for weddings and other special events.
Avenida Loa Cortijos, s/n
11310 Sotogrande, Cádiz, Spain
+34 956 79 12 00
Located in the Andalusia region in southern Spain, Valderrama is home to the golf course consistently named the best in Europe. Designed by the famed American architect Robert Trent Jones, the prestigious par 71, 6,392-meter (6,991 yard) championship course is best known for its small, raised greens and cork tree-lined fairways, as well as signature holes like the par 5-par fourth hole, La Cascada (the Waterfall) and the par 5 490-meter (536 yard) Los Gabilones 17th hole. In April, Valderrama was the host of the 2016 Open de España but has also hosted many other leading golf tournaments, including the Volvo Masters, WGC-American Express Championship and the 1997 Ryder Cup. Valderrama Golf Club is private member’s club but also welcomes visitors, who can book reservations online.