|Gleneagles Resort Front Entrance|
1. Gleneagles Resort, Site of the 2014 Ryder Cup–This legendary Scottish resort will attract its share of golf tourists in the next couple of years. The Ryder Cup’s popularity has soared and golfers want to test their skills at the venue. This isn’t links golf, though. Gleneagles is home to quintessential parkland golf so at least you won’t lose any balls in the ocean.
2. New World U.S. Golf Destinations–Golfers seeking exceptional designs and golf in its purest form are flocking to innovative destinations that aren’t located near major urban centers. Among the more popular are Bandon Dunes on the Oregon coast, The Prairie Club in Valentine, Nebraska and the newly opened Streamsong Resort, which is situated in rural Polk County, Florida between Orlando and Tampa.
3. Golf Travel Specialists–Tired of sitting in front of a computer screen trying to piece together a golf trip? It’s tedious and frustrating and many golfers are realizing the experts can do it quicker, more efficiently and probably save you a few bucks and lots of headaches in the process. Remember, these guys drink a few pints and single malts with the honchos at the best resorts and courses and are well connected to negotiate great deals and develop itineraries you can only dream about as you point and click your way on the Internet.
4. Dominican Republic— Selected as the Golf Destination of the Year 2013 for Latin America/Caribbean by the International Association of Golf Travel Operators (IAGTO), the D.R. is on a roll. Expansive, luxury resort complexes like Casa de Campo, Puntacana and Cap Cana feature courses by the biggest names in design, Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus. Besides the adroitly designed layouts, stunning picturesque golf course views and fantastic weather, an added bonus is you can enjoy a fine Dominican cigar during or after a round.
5. Nova Scotia, Canada–It’s the biggest thing to originate from Canada since Wayne Gretsky, Michael J. Fox and LaBatts Blue beer. Cabot Links is Canada’s answer to Pebble Beach. This phenomenal links layout on the western side of Cape Breton Island in the town of Inverness in Nova Scotia is a wonderland of stunning ocean views, deep pot bunkers and swales. Opened in June, Cabot Links was developed by Mike Keiser, who created Bandon Dunes in Oregon. A second course, Cabot Cliffs, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, is scheduled to open in mid-2014.
6. South America–The announcement of the 2016 Olympic Games to be staged in Rio de Janiero with golf to be included as a sport has put the focus on Brazil as well as other countries appealing to golfers like Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Golf course architect Gil Hanse was chosen over design teams headed by Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and others to fashion the Olympic golf course. As the course begins to take shape, the excitement will increase and more golfers will consider South America a viable golf vacation destination.
7. Off-the-Beaten Path U.S. Value Destinations–If you’ve already played Myrtle Beach and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama, you’re probably looking for some new budget-happy golf frontiers. The value menu, please. Among the destinations promising affordable golf and well-designed courses are Crossville, Tennessee, Brainerd, Minnesota, Branson, Missouri, Gulf Shores, Alabama, Mesquite, Nevada, St. George, Utah, Brooksville, Florida, Flathead Valley in Montana, Santee, South Carolina and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
8. Ireland–The number one player in the world, Rory McIlroy, hails from Northern Ireland and golfers are increasingly considering Ireland as a golf vacation destination. Ya gotta think, everytime McIlroy hoists a trophy (and that’s a lot these days) Northern Ireland gets a public relations boost. Top courses in that part of the country include Royal County Down and Royal Portrush. Other Irish gems favored by visitors include Ballybunion, Lahinch, Portmarnock, Waterville and Doonbeg.
9. Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland–I’ve read reviews and heard reports about this course that are all over the map. The environmentalists keep railing against it for a variety of reasons and some critics claim the fairways are too tight and the frequent high winds will make it extremely penal for the average bogey players. Moreover, the course has more than 100 different tee boxes, which makes for some long walks and long rounds. That said, the setting is stunning and Donald Trump has spent millions on making it a course golfers will travel long distances to play. Check out this video of Trump International Golf Links and I guarantee, whether you’re a Trump fan or not, you’ll want to play this course.
10. Experiential Golf Travel on Social Media–More golf travel companies are using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post information and images of trips around the world. If you don’t have the time or money to travel to say, Scotland, New Zealand or South Africa, you can experience vicariously the exploits of others enjoying an adventurous golf excursion in different parts of the world.