Everyone loves a good golf trip and we all love them for different reasons. Some of us are looking for that ultimate bucket list experience while others seek the hidden gem value type destinations.
The places listed below strike a balance between bucket list experiences and value. They provide the best bang for your buck and compete hand in hand with bucket list experiences because of the incredibly high value of what they have to offer.
Most of these destinations offer incredible sightseeing and history while others offer plenty of attractions and activities outside of golf. All of these factors weighed in to the decision to include them on this list and, like golf trips in general, each has made the list for its own reasons.
A few notes:
• Good accommodations can be had in the $50 per night/per person range when splitting a room in all destinations.
• A car will be required in all destinations (again, when splitting, the costs are minimal).
• All courses mentioned are worth visiting and we’d have trouble narrowing down the lists.
• Rates listed are for peak times and when a range is listed it covers peak time changes from Monday – Sunday.
Wales is our number one destination for golf in the world when it comes to value for what you get in terms of the experience. The welcome is warm, there are plenty of great golf courses, incredible history, culture and lots to do off the links.
From North America, it’s not the easiest place to visit. Everything from having to exchange currency to bringing power adapters and extended drive times on narrow winding roads come into play here, but in a place like Wales, driving is half the fun.
Apart from that, Wales is home to the most underrated links courses in some of the most spectacular locations anywhere and the cost of golf is on par or less than what it might cost you to play an average golf course here in North America. In fact, for a single green fee at Bandon Dunes (which is way above average) during peak season, you can play two of the least expensive courses listed below four times. And if we’re comparing to a single green fee at Pebble Beach, you can potentially pay for rounds on all the golf courses listed below combined. Moreover, most courses have day rates allowing you to play as much as you want for a minimal increase in fees (as low as £10).
We’ll break things down into two regions—north and south—but considering you can drive from the most southern to the most northern point in Wales in approximately 4 hours, you could easily play one region and move to the next without excessive drive times.
Myrtle Beach is the only North American destination to make it into our Top 5 and does so based on the amount of golf courses available, the various apres-golf attractions and our love of southern hospitality.
Though the courses here present the golfer with very different experiences from all our other destinations, there are so many good golf courses it’s impossible for us to leave Myrtle Beach off the list. Peak season rates can get expensive, but various golf packages negate that. Also, peak season is really only two months at most (April and May).
In addition, the beach and weather are definite upsides — this is the warmest and most leisurely destination in our Top 5. Throw in a day trip to Charleston and you can add history and culture to the list of things that make Myrtle Beach a great place to visit.
Note: Outside of April/May, most of these courses can be played for $15-50 less if not more when part of a package.
Ah, Northwest Ireland. This region holds a special place in our hearts though it has become increasingly more expensive. It seems others are beginning to clue in on this marvelous part of the world and they have begun to charge more because of this discovery, but it still remains a great value destination.
Northwest Ireland doesn’t get the attention some of the other golf regions of Ireland receive and that makes us happy. We bask in the peace and serenity of the Northwest, as well as its friendly people, Craic and great golf.
The logistics of a Northwest Ireland golf trip are similar to Wales. Roads are narrow and winding, it requires some travel time between courses and can be broken up into two regions (north-northwest and south-northwest…confusing we know), but there is one major difference — the currency is Euros and that means better exchange rates.
There are few places that can compete with Northwest Ireland’s beauty and there is so much selection in the way of golf that you might have to make two trips to cover it all.
A couple things to keep in mind: Rosses Point, Enniscrone and Strandhill often offer green fee specials if playing all 3; many of the two course facilities offer discounted rates to play both courses.
It was good enough for Madonna’s wedding and great for us golfers.
The bang for your buck value of the Scottish Highlands is derived from the ability to play one of the worlds best courses, the quality of courses to play after that, the exquisite settings and relative close proximity of courses to play.
Despite being a bit of a ways from Glasgow or Edinburgh airports, once you arrive in The Highlands, all the courses fall inside a rather small radius. From the furthest north (Brora) to the furthest south (Nairn), the drive is at most 1.5 hours, and we don’t see why you’d have to even make that drive in one go. Extend the radius a little bit more and you can include the mesmerizing Cruden Bay in your itinerary. Quite frankly, this rota has so many of our favourites — from Brora to Cruden Bay — that we’d be satisfied golfing here forever.
Apart from the golf, Inverness and Dornoch are great towns and the remote Scottish Highlands demand discovery. In addition to the courses listed below, if you do intend to go on a discovery trip of The Highlands, you might as well take a drive up to Durness and play the 9-hole Durness Golf Club — it might be one of the prettiest in the world.
Finally, many of the courses offer multi-day tickets. For example, Golspie offers a 5-day play ticket for £150 and Brora offers a weekday ticket for £175 (£230 if you want to include the weekend).
As you’ve probably noticed, most of our best bang for your buck golf destinations are located in the British Isles and most are in what many would consider to be remote areas. East Lothian bucks that trend.
The courses listed below are no more than a 45 minute drive from Edinburgh — an amazing walking city with all kinds of history and culture. Hop on a train and 45 more minutes you’re in Glasgow. The south of Scotland isn’t only one of our most highly recommended golf destinations, but just an awesome destination to travel to in general.
The same can be said of the golf courses. Plenty of history, great walks and beautiful surroundings. The value might not be as high as some of the other destinations, but that’s mostly due to its close proximity to Edinburgh.
Of course, the most famous of all the links here is Muirfield, and including it on an itinerary will increase the overall cost of your trip, but it is a unique experience. We don’t think playing Murifield is a must to make East Lothian a worthwhile destination and our decision to include it on this list does not consider Muirfield on the itinerary. Nonetheless, it’s very much worth playing if you can spend the extra dollars.
Worth it if you can spend a bit extra: Muirfield
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