Island Golf Holidays have been increasing the size of our holiday portfolio since the start of the Pandemic in 2020, to give a much more rounded year-round selection of worldwide destinations, some further afield than before, such as Vietnam, South Africa, Argentina, Malaysia and Indonesia and some much closer, such as Scotland. Special mention of our Costa Navarino feature which now has 72 holes on one Estate, in the most beautiful region of Greece, with soon to open 2 luxury properties, the W Hotel and The Mandarin Oriental.
We have tried to keep the Island Venue philosophy as much as possible, but we have had to make a few exceptions to this general rule with some of our new long-haul destinations recently added and stunning new venues such as Navarino Dunes in the beautiful Peloponnese, on a scenic Greek Peninsula.
The end result is a mouth-watering portfolio of destinations around the world to suit most budgets, we do tend to feature the best high-quality resorts, but there are some which do indeed suit everyone’s budget, such as the Elba Palace Golf Hotel in Fuerteventura, the Elba Sunset in Mallorca and many more! We can go “off piste” for customised golf holidays to venues not even included on our website such as Oman and Morocco, particularly Marrakech a wonderful and special place for a golf holiday from October to March – pristine idyllic weather during our awful winter months in the UK.
It is surprising that weather and climatic information is not more widely discussed by travel professionals., I hope that this brief guide can be helpful for everyone thinking of a new golfing holiday in the coming 12-18 months! You can now be guided by where to travel to for every month of the Calendar, follow the sun and avoid the rain and tropical storms, to maximise your time in the sunshine on pristine emerald fairways around the Globe!
I have established a better way of discussing customers holiday plans and invite anyone wishing to have a natter about their ideal next potential golf holiday to contact me and I can set up a 30-minute zoom meeting with you, to assist. Sometimes you may be wishing to plan the holiday of a life time, I have a few that jump out that I can recommend having visited them personally, which you may never have considered, such as The Sanchaya on Bintan Island near Singapore, The Datai on the Malaysian Island of Langkawi, or the Paradis By Beachcomber in Mauritius, Eden Roc at Cap Cana or Half Moon in Jamaica. There are plenty of hidden gems that I have been lucky to have discovered after 40 years of golf travel inspection visits.
I get asked a lot which are the best golf courses I have ever played and there are too many to list, but to whet the appetite I must point out a few of my own personal favourites, it may get the juices flowing, starting close to home and moving further afield…Royal Dornoch, North Berwick West Links & Cruden Bay 3 magical Old Tom Morris masterpieces! The Trump Aberdeen has the best dunes in the world, making it an incredible experience. I rank the Kyle Philips Verdura courses very highly indeed in Sicily! The Montgomerie Course in Belek is also memorable with its massive parasol umbrella pines and rolling fairways. The courses in the Dominican Republic are so exhilarating, none better than the exceptional Punta Espada by Jack Nicklaus the perfect foil to Corales and the Teeth of the Dog & Dye Fore, stunning ocean-side golf. I have always loved the Chateau course at Heritage Resort in Mauritius, the spectacular roller coaster layout at Abama, but I shall save my best for last, the beautiful Ria Bintan in Indonesia and the Els course at Langkawi set the pulse racing. If I was asked which one country has the most exciting golf courses, I would surprise everyone by saying Vietnam, its links courses are off the charts of excellence and challenge. Hoi An Shores is just one to remember! I look forward to hearing from you.
Best In Golf
David Sledmere Managing Director
Island Golf Holidays
There is no doubt that the following destinations are the places to travel to in the first quarter of the Calendar Year. The Caribbean is just perfect weather from January to March, this includes our selection of wonderful venues in St Lucia, Antigua, Canouan, Barbados, Jamaica, Nevis & The Dominican Republic.
Perfect dry weather with high temperatures and not bad humidity is prevalent in the Caribbean during this period of the year. We can organise a very balanced selection of exceptional high-quality beach resort and golfing venues in the Caribbean, to venues like Sandy Lane, Half Moon, Round Hill, Casa de Campo, Tortuga Bay and Eden Roc, to name a few! Book now for 2023 when the best business class air fares roll out, or premium economy mid cabin air fares!! The prices only go up nearer the time!
If you love high class all-inclusive resorts, we recommend Casa de Campo and Half Moon particularly, Half Moon recently totally renovated and revamped was awarded Caribbean Hotel on the Year 2022, it is a personal favourite of mine! A glorious resort where all the rooms are so close to the beach front. Sandy Lane in Barbados is the most famous hotel address in the world and Island Golf Holidays now have a contract and offer it on our exclusive Barbados feature, a chance to discover the famous Green Monkey and Country Club courses, as well as experience the legendary service at Sandy Lane Hotel.
South Africa is also at its very best in the first 3 months of the year at the height of the South African summer, February being the busiest time on the Cape of South Africa from Cape Town across to George and beyond to Port Elizabeth. We now have a scintillating selection of multi centre tours right across this vast country, with golf, safari and sight-seeing inclusions, which take in the Winelands, the Western Cape, The Garden Route and the Eastern Cape, as well as the Kruger National Park, the Highveld and even the Indian Ocean coast in and around Durban. Let us know if you would like us to send you some full colour itineraries.
Island Golf Holidays can offer escorted and non-escorted golf, wine and cultural tours of Argentina.
These trips are absolutely superb and take in Buenos Aires, San Martin de Los Andes and Bariloche, with the opportunity to play famous golf venues like Olivos, Chapelco and Llao Llao. We can include outstanding hotels in the city of Buenos Aires and in deepest Patagonia, which is one of the most beautiful locations in the entire Continent, the scenery on these tours is absolutely exceptional.
Further afield again the period January to March is a fantastic time to visit the Far East, recently we have added new countries like Vietnam, which are opening up to tourism again, we have some incredible multi centre golf and cultural tours of Vietnam, Cambodia and even Japan now available. We do not recommend travelling to any of these Asian holiday destinations before 2023, but we already have some wonderful tours available for these destinations for next year, which are set up but on a customised basis, we always recommend a minimum of 2 couples booking together. The weather in the Far East in places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia is very much at its best from January to March the hot dry period of the year out there!
Closer to home the Canary Islands just 4.5 hours flight away is the place to go for a great golf holiday, the best place in Europe for warm winter weather, with a similar climate and lack of rainfall, as seen in the Caribbean, there are definite similarities in the temperatures! The Canaries are always the go to destination from January to March with its lovely weather through the heart of our worst weather at home!
OK we accept that the Canary Islands will never be exotic as the Caribbean, but there are some great resort venues, particularly the Ritz Carlton, Abama, The Hacienda del Conde by Melia Collection in Tenerife and The Salobre Golf Resort & Serenity & the Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia on Gran Canaria, to name a few sumptuous examples!
Fuerteventura is always the least expensive Island to fly to, with the Sheraton and the Elba Palace properties, remarkable value in fact. Our most popular hotel in the Canary Islands is the adult only boutique hotel on Las Americas Golf Course, the exquisite Las Madrigueras Hotel, very popular indeed for couples from January to March.
The Middle East is of course one of the places to travel to in the midst of the European Winter, we can sell Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman, with properties like the St Regis Saadiyat Island, Westin Abu Dhabi, Grosvenor House and Shangri-La Al Husn in Muscat. One thing for sure is that this is one place you can rely on great weather, even in January, dry heat and blue skies, with little wind.
Of course, nearer to home, we now have an exciting selection of venues on the west coast and on the east coast of Scotland, this is for serious golfers, who enjoy the best links golf in the world. We have the wild and rugged scenery of Machrihanish on the Mull of Kintyre, which can be combined with the exceptional links and hotel venue at The Machrie on the Island of Islay, a heaven for links golf and whisky lovers! We can even add on a 2-night stay at the remarkable and super exclusive Ardfin Estate on the Isle of Jura, but it does not come cheap, but a one off once in a lifetime opportunity to play the most remote and exhilarating and challenging course in the U.K.
The April – June period especially when talking about the West of Scotland is the best time to embark on a golf break, or a golf tour, the East Coast of Scotland has a longer summer for sure and one can experience remarkably mild weather in Dornoch, even as late as October!
If you fancy exploring the west coast of Scotland as above, we can break up your journey potentially and accommodate you in Ayrshire such as the Trump Turnberry Resort, or the Marine Troon revamped hotel on the Royal Troon Course, close to Western Gailes, Dundonald and Glasgow Gailes also, some wonderful links with a long standing reputation. The revitalised and reopened golf resort hotel on Loch Lomond at Cameron House is very impressive since it reopened in late 2021 and is the perfect place for a short golf, or leisure break or stop off to the Mull of Kintyre and Islay, Jura in the Inner Hebrides.
We also include the more traditional golfing regions of St Andrews and North Berwick, which lends itself well for a two-centre holiday, combining the recently completely renovated Rusacks and Marine Hotels by the Marine & Lawn Collection. It has never been a better time to stay in these new look hotels, which have benefitted from a massive reinvestment from an American owner, but because of the 150th OPEN being held on the Old Course in July 22 and the massive volume of American golfers coming over for the first time since 3 years, we recommend booking early for 2023 instead, as the golf courses are just so busy in these areas in summer 2022. The golf in North Berwick is equally as impressive as those in and around St Andrews, great links venues at North Berwick, Dunbar, Muirfield and many more to enjoy and explore, secret gems like Gullane 1 2 & 3 and Longniddry! Moving further north the Aberdeen coast is simply outstanding and a holiday here at the gorgeous Meldrum House boutique luxury golf hotel can be combined with the equally impressive Highlands region, where you will find the beauty of Inverness and the Firth of Dornoch.
To whet the appetite, you can enjoy the sensational links courses of Royal Aberdeen, Murcar, Trump Aberdeen, Cruden Bay, Royal Dornoch, Brora, Castle Stewart, Nairn and other secret gems like Golspie and Tain. With tee times at Royal Dornoch already full for visitors for 2022, we recommend booking early for 2023 – again our American cousins have taken a majority of the times at Dornoch this year, one of their favourite venues, as it is ranked in the top 10 in the World!! Our selected hotels at Dornoch and Inverness are exceptional, the Links House Hotel, the Royal Golf Hotel and the Ness Walk in Inverness on the riverside. Whatever your time limit and budget we can organise great multi centre golf tours in Scotland, or short break golf breaks with flights to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness from many UK airports, groups can stay at venues like Archerfield in Townhouses, or Villas, or superb quality golf lodges on Castle Stewart Links also.
Bermuda has the same sort of climate as New York, or Boston although more temperate in the winter for sure, but we would not advise going certainly before March, if you want some heat, the best period is definitely between April and October! The most scenic island it is incredibly small, but with a remarkable coastline and the very best golf courses, with Port Royal, Mid Ocean and Tuckers Point as the 3 stand out courses, as strong a trio as any in our entire portfolio and very affordable. We have a small but varied programme which includes the Cottage style Cambridge Beaches property on a stunning rugged peninsula, the gorgeous and luxurious Rosewood Bermuda on Tucker’s Point Golf Course and the exquisite Pompano Beach Club boutique hotel on a cliff top, but also on the Port Royal Golf Course. The sunsets at Cambridge Beaches and Pompano have to be seen to be believed. You can expect temperatures in the mid to late 20s in the April – June period. We do recommend avoiding July & August when the American Tourists come over from the East Coast of the USA.
Belek in Turkey was a new addition to our programme 3 years ago pre-Pandemic and is the best place for golf and all-inclusive luxury beach hotels in, or shall we say close to Europe, just over 4 hours flight duration and 2 hours ahead of the UK. The weather on the Antalya coastline is wonderful, being honest the only time of year I would avoid would definitely be January and definitely July and August for evidently opposite reasons, but great deals can be had in December and February.
July and August are just too hot and let’s say there are potentially too many Russians staying in the luxury hotels, enough said! Indeed, the best months to visit Belek are April and May particularly, when one can expect temperatures from 25 – 30 degrees, perfect sunbathing and golfing weather! Golf courses are less busy in late May and June, which is worth remembering.
Our recommendations are the exceptional Regnum Carya, which has the best all-inclusive concepts, owning both Carya and National courses, the Gloria Resorts including the Golf and Serenity Resort Hotels and their 45 hole golf complex, which are very much less expensive than the Regnum, as well as the opulent Maxx Royal Hotel which owns the destination’s finest golf course, the Montgomerie! We can sell other venues in Belek such as Sirene Belek Resort, Sueno Deluxe Hotel, Voyage Belek also. I have been selling Turkey for so many years that at the outset, there was only 1 golf course (The National) and 4 hotels.
The April to June period are great months to take a holiday to the Costa Navarino Resort, accessed via Kalamata airport, a resort which currently now has 54 holes with a new 18 opening soon in summer 2022. Designed by Olazabal, the Navarino Hills complex will soon be enhanced by the opening of the outstanding W Hotel and Mandarin Oriental luxury properties, aimed very much at the discerning golf visitor. These in addition to the super Westin Costa Navarino and The Romanos properties which have already built up a great reputation with European Golfers, who have also enjoyed the Bay and Dunes Courses. The new course at Navarino Hills looks even more impressive.
This unspoiled and wonderful part of Greece has now become the MUST VISIT venue in Europe and the biggest golf complex anywhere! One can expect idyllic weather from April to June in this part of Greece, with temperatures of about 28 degrees and not humid. This is an exceptional place not just for a great golf escape but also for a memorable beach vacation for couples and families also.
Island Golf Holidays also feature the Aphrodite Hills properties in Cyprus, which include the Hotel By Atlantica and the Aphrodite Hills Residences, which are more aimed at the golf market, with a wide array of luxury apartments, townhouses and sumptuous villas, many with cliff top locations. Again, the weather in Cyprus is generally perfect from April to June, perfect conditions for a golfing holiday with high temperatures and lack of humidity. The revamped Aphrodite Hill Golf Course (2019) is a superb and scenic test of golf, enhanced by the close proximity of Secret Valley, Elea Golf & Country Club and Minthis Hills, so plenty of variety with contrasting courses all available. Island Golf Holidays also feature the Korineum Golf Hotel located in Northern Cyprus, accessible via Larnaca airport. A lovely boutique resort with a spectacular golf course on the mountainside, with brilliant and spectacular views of the Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean Sea becomes very desirable from April to June and our most important venues are the superb Verdura Resort on the Med’s largest island Sicily – tucked away in the southwest. The resort owned by the Rocco Forte Organisation whose HQ is in London, has a picture-perfect location down by the sea at the bottom of an exhilarating 36-hole golf course Estate built by the exceptional architect, Kyle Philips. The second course was redesigned in 2021-2 and is now open again and back to its very best. For the purist the East and West courses at Verdura are exceptional and extremely challenging, having twice hosted the European Tour. The courses have superb ocean and mountain vistas and the hotel is very close to the Beach. There are great deals at specific times of the year before July particularly. In the July & August months the Resort can be very busy with Italian Tourists from Rome and Milan!!
In Majorca we have some very contrasting and different types of hotel including the new and spectacular Elba Sunset close to Palma Nova, but in a lovely cliff top west facing spot, extremely affordable. The Pure Salt Port Adriano close to the very impressive T Golf Poniente, an exquisite boutique and adult only hotel, looking down to Port Adriano Harbour from a cliff top location, it is also very close to Santa Ponsa Golf Courses, Bendinat & Andratx. These contrast well with the exceptional two golf hotels on the Son Vida Estate with the Castillo Hotel Son Vida which was totally revamped in 2019 and now created as an adult only hotel, with its sister hotel, the pure golf hotel, The Sheraton Arabella Mallorca Hotel, right on the Son Vida course. The Son Vida Estate has 54 holes on one resort including the highly ranked Son Muntaner one of the top 3 courses in Mallorca!
There is no doubt that Majorca can be a bit chilly before April, but just perfect from April to September, one of the most idyllic venues in Europe for a golfing holiday, with unsurpassed hilly and coastal scenery!
This famous golfing destination, especially the Algarve was introduced to the Island Golf Holidays portfolio in 2020 and has been well known as a great golf destination since the early 70s! The weather in the European Spring and Summer is just brilliant and Lisbon and Madeira particularly become considerably warmer after March (can be a bit chilly before April especially in the Estoril/Cascais and Silver coasts up at Praia del Rey).
The Island of Madeira is all about the boutique golf hotel, Casa Velha do Palheiro in the midst of the beautiful Palheiro Gardens and above the panoramic Palheiro Course. Definitely it is true to say that the best months to visit Madeira are from April to November.
The Lisbon Region has some fantastic golf courses, including the wonderful West Cliffs, Praia del Rey, Royal Obidos, Penha Longa and the Oitavos Dunes being the standout must play courses! The Algarve speaks for itself, but we sell golfers to the boutique hotel on the region’s most scenic course, Palmares, the Beach House Hotel, Dona Filipa & The San Lorenzo Golf Resort as well as luxurious venues like Quinta do Lago and The Conrad Algarve.
One can expect temperatures of 25 degrees plus in the Algarve in the second quarter late Spring early summer season.
Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is a great (off season) period to travel to from April to June – much cheaper than the October – March periods and still dry season and with similar temperatures. We highly recommend considering travel in our early summer months.
This period of the year is the hardest for us to promote, as most UK golfers don’t want to escape overseas in our own British Summer, especially in the months of July and August. Although September is a popular month to get away and less expensive in most places.
If you are looking to escape for a proper old-fashioned summer beach holiday with some golf as a secondary thing, we would recommend the following types of destination for sure.
Sicily, Turkey, Majorca, Greece, the Algarve, Madeira, The Seychelles and interestingly enough, the Canary Islands. Tenerife, La Gomera, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura have great weather even hotter in this period of the year but offer exceptional inclusive golf deals, which could be 50% of the prices valid in the more popular winter season.
I would highlight the great deals available in September at the Ritz Carlton, Abama, The Las Madrigueras adult only hotel on Las Americas, The Hacienda del Conde by Melia, the Salobre Golf Resort & Serenity and the Elba Palace Golf Hotel, to name a few. The best month of the entire year for climate in the Canaries is September, yet it is 50% less expensive to October!
Our golf breaks to Scotland of course are exceptionally desirable, but the availability in 2022 is fairly limited it must be said, especially at the most popular venues like St Andrews, we highly recommend booking very early for 2023 especially at special venues like Dornoch, Inverness, Aberdeen and North Berwick, even The Machrie on Islay in the Inner Hebrides.
However, our number one destination for this time of the year, as it is the height of their summertime and dry season when the humidity is low is the Island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. To some extent, but perhaps with not quite so idyllic weather the island of Praslin in the Seychelles, the ultimate and most remote luxury golf holiday retreat, the Constance Lemuria Resort, a wonderful place for a holiday of a lifetime with the best beaches of the world on resort on Praslin.
Mauritius is the place during this era of the year, a Tropical Island with an array of high-quality golf and beach resorts, there is simply no long-haul venue like it anywhere and we organise more golfers there than anywhere and mostly during these months. There are 9 golf courses all of which are awesome designs, with fabulous ocean and or mountain views, spectacular, hard to highlight one or two, as they are all equally enjoyable.
However, our number one venue selected by our best customers is the Heritage Le Telfair, which has the best all-inclusive deal called Gourmet Bliss, which encompasses about 9 a la carte dining venues. This exclusive resort at Bel Ombre will soon be enhanced by the opening in late 2022 of a second course on the Heritage Resort, with the exclusive La Reserve opening now in September 2023, for hotel guests and December 2022 for local members only, designed by renowned Peter Matkovitch, it will be a superb addition to the already renowned Heritage Golf Course The Chateau. The main reason for the delayed opening of the exclusive La Reserve Course is the opening of the Clubhouse is now delayed to mid 2023.
This will mean Heritage will become the second 36-hole resort in Mauritius alongside the well-established Constance Belle Mare Plage and its sister hotel Constance Prince Maurice, with their excellent Links and Legends Courses. Special mention too of the Anahita Golf & Spa Resort, which like the Shangri-La Touessrok on the east coast offers free daily golf on the Els Anahita course and Ile aux Cerfs, a scintillating and extremely different pair of golf courses, wide open generous fairways, long strategic holes on the Els and the tight shorter course with much more vegetation off fairway and small greens contrasting with the massive links style greens with run offs at Els Anahita. Both courses have superb ocean views on their back nines!
The massive island of Sri Lanka is located at the northern tip of the Indian Ocean, many say it is like India in miniature, a wonderful country and a place ideal for a multi-centre golf and cultural tour including safari rather than a one off single beach holiday, which can be done at the Shangri-La Hambantota Resort on the Southern Tip. Direct flights are always direct to Colombo from Heathrow. If you would like a tour of the entire country we can organise and quote you for that – just let us know, it is a very rewarding destination with oodles of history and culture with marvellous scenery, but golf wise, not on a par with Mauritius.
The Caribbean Region including the Dominican Republic is to be avoided really during this period of the year, because of the chances of getting a Tropical Storm affecting weather, in a similar way this can also occur in Mauritius in the month of February on the other side of the world. Greece and the region close to Kalamata can be lovely in October especially the first half of the month, it is indeed a prime period for golfing visitors, but it can be wet especially from the middle of the month so no guarantees here of great weather, it is hit and miss!
The Canary Islands really are all destinations for ALL SEASONS, in a sense there is no wet season at all and the months from October to December really are mostly lovely, with temperatures of between 20 -26 degrees and little wind at that time of the year. I would highly recommend a holiday to La Gomera off Tenerife, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura. Prices can often be less than January to March with equal temperature, worth careful consideration and the golf courses are less busy generally.
I would highly consider a holiday here in October and even November – much better travelling to Sicily later in the year, rather than early in the year, you can get lucky and experience glorious weather. The golf package deals are amazing once we get past September at Verdura Resort.
The months of October and November are extremely popular in the Algarve and Madeira especially, but also very busy because of the lock downs of 2020 and 2021, if you have the choice you are better advised when talking about the Algarve to wait till 2023 instead.
Turkey is a great destination for a golf and even a beach and golf vacation in October and considerably less expensive than September, the weather in Antalya and Belek can still be high 20s in this month and even November can be sublime. Certainly, in November 2021 they had almost 4 full weeks of idyllic high-pressure blue skies and no wind, ideal for strolling the emerald fairways through the giant parasol umbrella pine trees! November has its challenges purely because there is much less daylight, so tee times are more pressurised!
If you have managed to read right through this review of where to go and when – guided by the climatic conditions around the world, then you will see that Island Golf Holidays really do now offer a good array of golf destinations for every week of the year, plenty of mouth-watering choices and with venues to suit most budgets, although to be fair we don’t generally sell many hotel venues that are not 5 star, but there are very affordable 5 stars and also very exclusive and expensive ones too, with some very good 4 star venues also.