Hashtag holidays abound in 2019 and here we are at the granddaddy of them all, today is “National Golf Day”. Apparently, it’s also Batman Day and Friday is No Pants Day—plan accordingly. We shoot fireworks on Independence Day and wear costumes on Halloween, but what do we do on National Golf Day? I don’t know, but I’m using this day to document five unforgettable golf courses. In no particular order—this list considers course condition, layout, setting, ambiance, people and overall experience.
Los Lagartos Golf Course; Bogota, Colombia
Pants and caddy required at this amazing private club in Bogota. The back nine is one of the most challenging walks I’ve ever had on a golf course, and that’s with a looper. The walk is made more difficult by the customary hour-plus sit-down lunch at the turn. The tenth is a par three and you’ll be stiff, but the Colombian fried rice, steak with fried egg is worth it—delicious. Golf course conditions are prime and the undulating layout is a beauty.
Another Gem Nearby: San Andres Golf Club; Bogota, Colombia
Tegernseer Golf-Club Bad Wiessee; Tegernseer, Germany
Few places on the planet are more beautiful than Lake Tegernsee in Southern Germany’s Bavarian Alps. About an hour train ride south of Munich—the sky is dotted with paragliding parachutes coming off a nearby peak. A 12-mile/19.3 kilometer bike trail borders one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The local beer, Tegernsee Hell is one of the best in the country. This place is overloaded with Bavarian charm and there’s a quality golf course to boot. Carved from a cliffside with views of Lake Tegernseer—this golf course is a beauty. Nuns once grazed dairy cattle on this lush landscape where vibrant green grass grows. Seventeenth century Catholic prayer alters still remain.
Island Golf Club; Dublin, Ireland
We’re prepared for an influx of gripe email for this one because few topics are more controversial than, “best golf courses in Ireland.” I’ll preface this nomination by saying my Irish golf experience is limited to Dublin metro (Corballis Links Golf Club, The European Club, The Island Golf Club, K Club, Portmarnock Golf Links (New), Portmarnock Golf Club (Old), Woodenbridge Golf Club and County Louth Golf Club Baltray). This is a brilliant start, but there is work to do in the north, west and south. At Island Club, the lengthy par three thirteenth and tight par four coming back are two of the great golf holes in the world. An amazing day on the links is capped by one of the best fish and chips in Ireland, and that’s a saying a lot.
Red Mountain Golf Club; Phuket, Thailand
Like Colombia, caddies are required in Thailand, but it’s female caddies driving a cart and players sit shotgun. Thai caddies are customer service first. They raise umbrellas to block sunshine, offer cold towels and replace empty drinks. Vegetation flourishes in the steamy region with many peaks and valleys. This golf course is one of the best conditioned in the country and it’s long-range views are worth the green fee alone. The round of golf is highlighted by #17, a steep downhill par three—from tee to green the drop is more than 100-feet/30 meters.
Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course; Great Exuma, Bahamas
Home of the Web.com Tour’s Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, this Caribbean golf course burns emerald to memory. Platinum Paspalum is the ideal grass for an oceanside golf course and Emerald Bay has it from tee to green. Course conditions are pristine. A round of golf here would be good anytime, but my experience was highlighted by a few things: I played in the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic Pro-Am with the Emerald Bay golf course designer who is Greg Norman. And yes—the Shark can still knock the hell out of it. The design makes proper use of a near perfect canvas. Remember these words of wisdom from Norman when you’re on the tee and feel like it’s a challenging tee shot, “Elvis, what do you mean this is a tough driving hole? They’re all easy.”
From all of us at World’s Best Golf Destinations, Happy National Golf Day!