For many golfers, a dream vacation would entail playing all day on a championship course and sleeping all night in a luxury holiday home, just steps from the emerald green fairway. And in recent years, the golfer’s dream of staying at the proverbial 19th hole has become a reality.
Prior to 2006, many
holiday homeowners in popular golf resort destinations did not let out their
houses, noted Alex Upson, director of Cluttons
Resorts, which sells vacation homes in the Caribbean, Asia and Europe. But
the recent worldwide economic turmoil has prompted many homeowners to open
their properties to short-stay guests, meaning golfers can now choose from a
broad array of fairway-side holiday homes. Additionally, privately-owned
apartments and houses tend to offer significant savings — and more square
footage — when compared with stays at international hotel resorts at the same
Golfing holiday homes are
seldom as popular as those on the ocean, so they are usually more affordable
than seaside spots. That said, condos that front golf courses rent for 20% to
40% more than those set further back. Rates range wildly, from affordable
luxury to ultimate extravagance, depending on the fame of the course, the time
of year and the amenities of the lodging. In northern climes, peak golf season
is the summer, but the closer a place is to the equator, the more likely the
peak season is winter. Contact local golf clubs and associations for advice,
and see average monthly temperatures on weather sites like Weather Underground.
When considering a holiday
home, check out how close it is to multiple courses. “Golfers like to hit five
or six courses on a vacation to get a feel for a number of links,” said Chris
Hadjikyriacou, director of sales at BuySellCyprus
Real Estate and an avid golfer of his country’s courses, such as Minthis Hills, set on the grounds of a
12th-century monastery, and Aphrodite
Hills, a seafront course that opened in 2002.
Many online agencies list
descriptions, photos and ratings of international holiday homes, such as AirBnb, Cluttons Resorts, FlipKey, HomeAway,
Roomarama, Owners Direct, Vacation Rentals
by Owner (VRBO) and West Coast
Villas. The inventories on these sites do not have much overlap, so you may
need to check out more than one agency to find the golf-fronting property that
suits your needs.
Here is a sampling of some
golf holiday homes worth renting.
The world’s most legendary ground for golfers is the Old Course at St Andrews, the birthplace of golf. A five-minute ride away from
the Old Course in the quaint town of St Andrews is a three-bedroom, three-bath
townhouse that features a replica of the Road Hole Bunker from the 17th hole in
its backyard. On HomeAway since 2011, the Georgian home is tastefully furnished
in a contemporary style, features a Mercury Thermostone range cooker in its
full kitchen and rents from between £1,250 to £2,800 a week, with peak rates
during summer tournaments.
has long been Europe’s favourite spot for golf holiday homes because its
courses are designed in sufficiently varied ways to challenge players of all
skill levels. Located between Marbella and Sotogrande in the Costa del Sol, Finca Cortesin is a coastal development set by an 18-hole golf course of the same
name, which opened in 2006 and this year plays hosts to the Volvo World Match Play Championship. Built in 2008, the property is a five-bedroom, five-bathroom Cortijo-style villa
with 7,290sqft of space. It is available for 4,500 euros per week on average
from Cluttons Resorts.
Perhaps the ultimate chip to sink in the United States is at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, host to the Masters Tournament and a purist’s delight for its well-designed greens. Within walking
distance of the course is a three-bedroom, 4,000sqft 1915 Italian
Renaissance-style house with 55 windows and a concert grand piano. Listed on VRBO.com since 2011, the property rented for $15,000 during
Masters Week at the start of April 2012, but at other times of the year it
typically goes for more reasonable weekly rates in the mere thousands.
Australia has many gorgeous golf courses that test a golfer’s shooting
skill, such as Kingston Heath and Metropolitan in Melbourne. One course that
is admired is the Palms in Queensland, which
re-launched after a complete renovation last year at the resort Sanctuary Cove. Its seventh hole is by
the front door of a five-bedroom house that comes with a
four-seat buggy that gets you to the clubhouse in less than 10 minutes. Owned
by estate agent Harriet Atlass, the sun-bathed property opened in 2007 and is
close to a nearby marina filled with interesting shops and restaurants. If you
follow Aussie tradition and play a game of "bottle, bottle, bottle,"
where players bet a bottle of red wine on the front nine, back nine and total
score, toast your victory at the balcony of this holiday home, which backs onto
a deep-water mooring on the yacht-lined Coomera River. Rates start at 1,600 Australian
dollars for a four-night stay.
A three-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami, Barbados is a Caribbean
paradise where an oversupply of apartments since 2007 has led to a drop in
weekly rates by up to 20%. In St James, just north of the capital, Bridgetown,
a sun-bleached eight-bedroom manor oozes British colonial
charm. More importantly, it has a cherished location on the grounds of the Royal Westmoreland, a championship course. Guests at the property, which is managed by West Coast Villas, can pay for exclusive
passes to play the private Royal Westmoreland, plus there are discounted club
rentals for travellers looking to avoid hefty baggage fees. The seaside manor
house has spacious guest rooms and plantation-style hardwood furniture. In the
last six months it has changed hands, been upgraded and let out at rates from
$3,000 per night.
Hawaiian Islands has plenty of killer golf course resorts that are worth the
long flight, such as Princeville on Kauai, Manele Bay on Lanai and Mauna Kea on the Big Island — all with holiday home
choices. On Maui, though, lushly groomed fairways undulate next the sea in the
shadow of the spectacular volcano Haleakala. In Maui’s town of Kapalua, a
one-bedroom, two-bathroom house backs up to the Kapalua Golf Course, with a lanai that takes in views of the greens, for rates from $185 a
night. On VRBO since 2010, the property
is more homespun luau than generic Margaritaville, with rooms blending
contemporary furnishings with native artwork.