Top 10

Golf Escapes for Non-Golfers

For serious golfers, the appeal of a famous fairway or brand-new course is obvious, but at certain resorts, non-golfers can have just as much fun. Read about ten Leading Hotels of the World that have magnificent courses but also offer plenty of distractions on and off the green.


LEAVE golfers on the Jim Fazio-designed course and explore the stunning coral reef and crystal-clear Atlantic Ocean surrounding this Grenadines resort.
LEARN how to cook at the in-house culinary academy of this historic Florida hotel-Roosevelt was once a guest-then dine at its celebrated Palme d'Or restaurant.
KNOW that Egypt's largest Thalassotherapy center and tailor-made nutrition programs are on offer at this Red Sea retreat and golfer's haven.
EXPECT as much pampering as playing at this Swiss wellness resort boasting an immense spa of ten pools, three saunas and over thirty types of massage.
PERFECT your forehand at this sport-focused Andalusian resort featuring an enormous tennis center that is managed by former Wimbledon champion, Manolo Santana.
SAIL AWAY on the 72-foot yacht of this Algarve hotel, then choose from seven restaurants-including the one-Michelin star Ocean-for a romantic evening meal.
DINE at Italy's only Alain Ducasse restaurant, Tratorria Toscana, housed in this beautiful Tuscan retreat, where you can also go horseback riding and boating.

Leading Golf Escapes

Round Up: Expert-Led

From caddies to competitors, everyone has an opinion about how to play the perfect stroke or most tactical game. Few however, can argue with the state-of-the-art technology and professional golf Academies at these Leading Hotels.


South Africa's premier golf resort, Fancourt is home to three Gary Player–designed courses, including the renowned Fancourt Links. Seamlessly merging past and future, 18 of the property's suites are housed are housed in a National Monument dating from 1847, while the celebrated Golf Academy is a showcase for groundbreaking technology. The TaylorMade Performance Lab uses motion-caption equipment-previously only available for PGA Tour professionals-so players can measure their center of gravity, shaft line, backspin, and more, to correct errors and select (or even design) clubs.


On a calm coastline in the Dominican Republic is Casa de Campo, considered the Caribbean's best golf resort with three Pete Dye–designed courses. The legendary Jim McLean golf school recently opened an outpost at the expansive resort, overseen by master instructor Eric Lillibridge. Plus, Casa de Campo now carries Callaway RAZR X woods or irons-the only resort in the Caribbean to do so.


At one of the United States' most exclusive resorts, Fisher Island, golf pro Dan Colvin uses video technology to map players' technique and then puts them to the test on the challenging Seth Raynor–designed course. Lessons are also available for groups and juniors.


In Asia, meanwhile, Vietnam is receiving attention from the golfing world, with a cluster of new courses opened near the small coastal city of Da Nang - the most celebrated of which is the Montgomerie Links Course. Located less than two miles from the ultra-modern Nam Hai hotel, it was designed by the Colin Montgomerie himself, and boasts spectacular views of the East Sea and Marble Mountains. PGA golf professionals run the on-site Golf Academy, using video-swing analysis to tailor training sessions to players' exact needs.

Casa de Campo
Casa de Campo resort set the benchmark for luxury travel in the Dominican Republic in the early 1970’s. It continues to elevate the standard - recent developments include a glass pavilion lobby, a new swimming pool complex, and a Le Cirque – backed Beach Club. Pristine guestrooms overlook gardens and one of the resort’s driving ranges to provide a natural base for golfers to play the three renowned Pete Dye-designed courses. The most famous of which, the “Teeth of the Dog,” is considered the best in the Caribbean. Casa de Campo is a 7,000-acre resort with new hotel rooms and villas, a variety of restaurants, Cygalle Healing Spa, chic boutiques, private beaches, worldclass sports facilities, marina and the Altos de Chavon village –with museums, restaurants, an amphitheatre and church.
Fancourt
South Africa’s magnificent Garden Route stretches along the country's south western coastline and enjoys the world's second-mildest climate. Fancourt is located across 613 hectares of this natural paradise, in close proximity to the Outeniqua mountain range and the warm Indian Ocean. As Africa's leading golf resort, the property boasts three Gary Player-designed championship courses, including the world renowned Fancourt Links. The estate recently converted its national monument, the Manor House, into a luxurious boutique hotel. Fancourt has a holistic spa, four restaurants and many indoor and outdoor leisure facilities on-site. Retail options include an exclusive women’s boutique, jewelry store, real estate office and two pro shops.
Fisher Island Hotel and Resort
Fisher Island Hotel & Resort, located within the luxurious, private residential island community of Fisher Island, offers guests the ultimate exclusive vacation. Accessible only by auto-ferry or yacht, the 216-acre resort features a private beach and beach club, nine-hole professional golf course, world class tennis center, marina, seven dining options, 4,000 square-feet of meetings space and a full-service spa. Complimentary golf carts are provided to guests for island transportation, as well as in-room Wi-Fi high speed Internet service and a 24-hour dedicated concierge.
The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam
For many travelers, exploring Vietnam involves the north-to-south circuit between Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Min City; but those in the know stop at the enchanting Nam Hai resort. Located close to the ancient trading port city of Hoi An, the resort has re-invigorated Vietnam’s luxury hotel scene. French architect Reda Amalou created a contemporary, design-focused aesthetic, while Indonesian designer Jaya Ibrahim infused interiors with an abundance of dark wood furniture, slate floors and sleek amenities. Outside, three symmetrical swimming pools cascade down the manicured lawns to Ha My Beach, a stretch of white sand looking across the South China Sea. The setting, service and cuisine have transformed The Nam Hai, and by extension Hoi An, into a Vietnam-must in its own right.

Pulse: Off-the-beaten Course?

When the Arnold Palmer-designed golf course opens at Las Piedras Fasano in Punta del Este in 2012, it is sure to entice a new wave of golfers and visitors to this glamorous corner of Uruguay. There are, however, already a number of far-flung golfing resorts that take players to new destinations and reveal challenging courses designed in synch with their natural surroundings.


The Palace of the Lost City at Sun City is, as the name suggests a wonderland destination that specializes in exotic excess. The 18-hole Lost City Golf Course is no exception. Designed by South African golf master Gary Player, the course takes its design cues from the sprawling bushveld landscape with a desert-style layout, and, at the 13th hole, a huge lake with real crocodiles. Tackling a similarly dry landscape in the desert state of Rajasthan is Umaid Bhawan Palace, the splendid former royal residence. The resort features its own 9-hole course (owned by Maharajah Gaj Singh), but many guests opt for a round at the nearby Sardar Club Golf Course, where fairways are affectionately known as "browns." By contrast, the spectacular 18-hole Longjing course at China's Fuchun Resort is surrounded by lush green hillsides of the Hangzhou province. The Daniel J. Obermeyer-designed course was carefully fitted into the hills of a traditional tea plantation, and it features a challenging, split-level driving range. Italy may be a well-trodden golfing destination, but the Masseria San Domenico Golf Resort & Spa, in pristine Puglia, offers something a bit different. Covering 6,300 meters, the 18-hole course was made using local stone and plants, and combats its blustery position on the Adriatic Coast with tactically positioned bunkers and greens.

Fuchun Resort
While most city dwellers tend to escape to the shore, Shanghai natives head inland to the beauty, rest and rejuvenation offered at the Fuchun Resort. The property, set amidst a hillside tea plantation in the lake district of Fuyang near Hangzhou, was inspired by a 13th-century painting by Huang Gongwang. A striking twopiece scroll, it depicts the same landscapes into which today’s resort blends so seamlessly. Serenity is also found within, at the renowned spa that offers sessions of Himalayan yoga. Active travelers will gravitate to the signature 18-hole Golf Club, a masterpiece course sculpted from the tea-covered hills. For all guests, a cup of the resort’s signature Mingqian Longjing tea enjoyed, in the amphitheatre at sunset, is an experience not to be missed.
Hotel Fasano Punta del Este
A destination for South America’s most glamorous crowd since the 1950s, Punta del Este draws comparisons to the Hamptons, but has a laidback spirit that is Uruguayan. Capturing this unique personality is at the heart of the new Hotel Fasano Punta del Este, the Fasano family’s first venture outside Brazil. With their signature appreciation of tradition, the resort’s luxurious, private bungalows and villas and larger Estancias fit harmoniously between the green plains and River Maldonado. The Fasano gastronomic restaurant appears as if carved into the rockface with rugged stone walls, wood flooring and caramel leather banquets. Its upper outdoor deck has sweeping views of the 1,000-plus acre estate, all the way to the beachfront that rises in the distance.
Masseria San Domenico Spa-Thalasso & Golf Resort
Nestled in Puglia's idyllic landscape, and host to millennia-old olive trees, the Masseria San Domenico bridges the beauties of its past with its luxurious present. Like the largely unexplored region itself, the hotel is full of hidden wonders, most notably the caves beneath the property which were home to Apulian monks fleeing Moorish attackers during the Middle Ages. The largest cave (now next to the outdoor swimming pool) was used to store olive oil, and the pressing equipment is on display today. The hotel still produces fine oils, which the chef uses in the cuisine served in San Domenico restaurant. Deeper underground, a natural hot spring provides the mineral-rich water for hotel’s Thalassotherapy spa, a center dedicated to relaxation, as befits the unspoiled surroundings.
The Palace of the Lost City at Sun City
Set among 60 acres of remote South African wilderness, this sprawling complex built in the crater of an extinct volcano is a wonderland destination where opulence in the bush takes on new meaning. The jewel property in the Sun City resort, the Palace boasts interiors with hand-carved walls, bespoke furnishings and ceilings that depict a classic African landscape. Outside, the imitation sea and palm fringe beach, Valley of Waves, includes a 5,600-square-meter wave pool, waterslides, sway bridge and Botanical Garden trails. A sense of adventure prevails at the 18-hole Lost City Golf Course, which features a crocodile-filled pond. There is also a chance to see the Big Five on safari tours at the adjoining Pilanesberg National Park.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
The mystical city of Jodhpur boasts forts and palaces that rise against the backdrop of the surrounding Thar Desert and walled old city. The most spectacular is the Umaid Bhawan Palace, an architectural marvel designed for the Maharaja in the late 1920’s. Part of the palace remains the official abode for Jodhpur’s royal family, while another houses a luxurious heritage hotel that makes guests feel like nobility. Interiors are opulent, with Art Deco touches, gilded furniture and colored murals. The Palm Court, with a soaring 105-foot cupola, stops many visitors in their tracks, as do the royal suites, the former residences of the Maharaja Umaid Singh. Service is unparalleled and the concierge can set up such activities as tennis, village safaris, horseback-riding, polo and croquet.
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