18 Underrated Golf Destinations You Probably Haven't Considered

For golfers, smacking a small ball hundreds of yards around expanses of land isn't so much a sport as a lifestyle choice. Players of golf, which is believed to have been invented in Scotland, near the city of Edinburgh, find themselves inexplicably drawn to its subtle charms. Whether it's the simple enjoyment of being outdoors for extended periods of time, the feeling of no two games ever being the same because of variations in wind, air temperature, humidity, and light, or the infinite, and yet minute, calculations required to get the ball to its final resting place (the hole), golf manages to maintain a stranglehold on anyone that plays. 

This much is evident from the massive number of devotees and the handsome selection of gorgeous courses in popular golfing destinations, but sometimes golfers want to roam a course that's a little unfamiliar, off the beaten path. Using a mixture of our global hop-scotching intelligence, first-hand knowledge of golf's usual suspects, and ranking from a selection of golfing sites, we've put together a list of destinations that are undiscovered gems.

Belek, Turkey

Look at a map of this coastal town near Antalya, and you'll see swathes of green set parallel to the shoreline, set back a short distance from the beach. This contrast in color doesn't relate to expanses of forest or artfully landscaped parks but to golf courses that are notable for their numbers — Belek has many to choose from. Several courses are tied to the exquisite resorts, making it easy for guests to combine a vacation that takes advantage of beaches and bunkers. 

The Cornelia Golf Club was designed by British legend Sir Nick Faldo and is part of Cornelia Hotels & Golf & Spa, a large resort where some rooms come with views of the fairways. Visitors to the course can look forward to 27 holes of driving, pitching, putting, and pleasure. Belek also has some gorgeous beaches, sweeping stretches of sand the color of honey, and shimmering turquoise waters out front.

Bend, Oregon

Located around 170 miles south of Portland, Bend is known for its great adventure activities. Visitors can find sports that will get the heart pumping, the blood flowing, and the calories burning. This is a city with great skiing, rafting, rock climbing, caving, snowmobiling, mountain biking, hiking, and so much more. For a more relaxing adventure, there is also excellent golf, with a wide choice of courses in and around the town. 

Sunriver Resort has not one but four fabulous courses to choose from, letting golfers enjoy 63 holes that wind between wetlands, meadows, and tracts of forest. While two of the courses are only accessible to club members and guests of the resort, both Woodlands and Meadows have tee times available for any visitor. Widgi Creek is also open to the public and has an 18-hole course where fairways are hemmed in by towering trees. At Lost Tracks Golf Club, a round of the 18-hole course costs less than $50, even cheaper when booked as part of an annual pass.

Da Nang, Vietnam

Vietnam is famous for its fine beaches along its stretches of coastline. The city of Da Nang, located in the central band of the country, is a popular destination for beachgoers, but it also features a few places where travelers can comfortably enjoy a round. This should come as no surprise to keen observers of the sport since Vietnam was voted the World's Best Golf Destination in 2021 during the annual World Golf Awards. 

From Da Nang, golfers can easily access a number of courses, including those closer to the charming UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An, just a short drive away. Hoiana Shores Golf Club is set close to the coast and has holes that weave among casuarina trees, with dunes forming regular hazards. Views of the South China Sea are a delightful accompaniment at the BRG Da Nang Golf Resort, designed by "The Great White Shark" himself, Australian icon Greg Norman, with pine trees lining the fairways.

Great Rift Valley, Kenya

Another award-winning course, the Great Rift Valley Lodge is often lauded as one of the best golf hotels in Africa. One look at the place and golf won't be the only thing that a visitor remembers. The scenic beauty here is remarkable. From the property, guests can look over the largest valley on the planet, with vistas taking in rolling plains, mountains, and endless expanses of treetops. The golf is fantastic, but those views are something else entirely.

Established in 2000 on the side of a dormant volcano, the property is a triumphant combination of nature and sport. Since the course is actually on an escarpment, the views are elevated and uninterrupted, with places like Lake Naivasha and the Aberdare Mountains among the highlights beyond the fairways and greens; a zebra might even wander onto the tee for a look at a player's technique. The 18-hole championship course was designed to meet elite specifications and straddles the line between challenging and relaxing, making it a great golfing getaway for players of all levels.

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Thanks to its location in Central America, stunning nature, and mass of brilliant things to do, Costa Rica is a popular destination for Americans. Among the areas that U.S. visitors frequent, Guanacaste is high on the list, a province on the Pacific Coast beloved for its mountain ranges and attractive sand and sea. The region also has excellent golf, with three courses that stand out not only for their stunning settings but also for their design and playability. 

Players will be able to not only admire a fine layout with ocean views but also spot wildlife like lizards, monkeys, and macaws during a round. The Reserva Conchal Golf Club has a course that is the handiwork of highly-respected golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II and is reserved for resort guests or owners of a condo unit here. The other options are Hacienda Pinilla, part of a resort with the same name, and the course at the Four Seasons Resort Peninsula Papagayo, which is close to the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia.

Hua Hin, Thailand

A beach haven in the south of Thailand, Hua Hin is close to a royal summer retreat, the Maruekhathaiyawan Palace, a teak marvel known as the "Palace of Love and Hope." Located only a three-hour drive from Bangkok, Hua Hin is an easy getaway for travelers searching for a little rest and relaxation and also golfers looking to get out on the tee box and start swinging. 

The Black Mountain Golf Club has three nine-hole courses, including the East Course, where one green sits on its own island. The West Course is the newest, opened in 2016 and set in the canyon by Black Mountain. Visitors usually play two of the courses to complete 18 holes. At the par 72 Banyan Thailand Hua Hin course, the golf carts display course information in multiple languages, while the Springfield Royal Country Club was designed by American legend Jack Nicklaus, and each hole has five sets of tees.

Kandy, Sri Lanka

Set in the highlands in the south of Sri Lanka, Kandy has an enviable climate cooler than many parts of the country, with greenery all around and some rewarding hiking in the nearby mountains. It is also the home of Sri Dalada Maligawa, also known as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, a UNESCO World Heritage site that houses one of Buddha's teeth. Kandy also happens to be a fine base for golfing excursions. 

Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is more than 130 years old. It was originally created for the British tea barons that owned plantations in the area — there are still tea plantations all around the club. It retains a British colonial feel, and during the 18-hole, par 71 course, populated by cypress and eucalyptus trees, visitors might easily lose track of time and place. A more recent addition to the golfing scene, Victoria Golf Resort opened in 1998 and sits beside the Victoria Dam and reservoir. Anticipate views of water, rolling hills peppered with tea leaves, and woods.

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Close to Malaysia's tallest mountain, this coastal city on the island of Borneo is renowned as a base for snorkeling and diving excursions to the nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, an area that encompasses islands and coral reefs. But there is much more to Kota Kinabalu, as golfers will certainly appreciate, with many marvelous courses easily reached from the city. 

Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club is tied to a resort but is open to the public. It's right in town and has three nine-hole courses, with views of water commonplace. The Sabah Golf and Country Club (Sabah is the state where Kota Kinabalu is located) first opened in 1976 and has quick greens and views of Mount Kinabalu. A little north of KK, Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club is an 18-hole course with a couple of rivers flowing through, making for some interesting play and some fascinating wildlife spotting.

Kraków, Poland

Poland's second city and increasingly popular, Kraków is located in the south of the country and offers some fabulous sights for any visitor. Travelers can explore medieval buildings, a centuries-old castle with various architectural influences, leafy parks, verdant hills with excellent city views, and a market that dates to the 1400s. The city is also a smart choice for golf options, with courses dotted beyond the city sprawl. 

Kraków Valley is a golf and country club that sits a short drive from its namesake city and has rolling fairways, tricky bunkers, and trees as far as the eye can see. Royal Kraków Golf & Country Club has green fees of about 240zł (around $60) for 18 holes, though students under the age of 24 can play for half that price. Nearer to the city of Katowice, Śląski Golf Club is located not far from warehouses and industry on the outskirts of the city, but it enjoys large expanses of greenery as its domain.

Marrakech, Morocco

One of the most beguiling destinations in Morocco is a feast for the senses, from the heady smells of spice vendors in the Medina to the hearty tastes of a warming tagine to the sounds of the circus-like atmosphere in the central square, the Jemaa el-Fna, a piece of  UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The city is also a good base for golf at resorts that lie on its outskirts. Samanah Golf Course, part of a country club with the same first name, was styled by Jack Nicklaus and his team and is only 15 minutes away from the heart of Marrakech. While the 18-hole course is certainly pleasing to the eye, the views of the Atlas Mountains are breathtaking. 

With a history dating to the 1920s, Royal Golf Marrakech has an air of opulence about it. Popular with Moroccan royals, it has also hosted significant figures from Europe and beyond. The original 18-hole course was joined by a new nine-hole addition in 2008. Elsewhere near the city, two other courses beckon — the Montgomerie Marrakech and the Tony Jacklin Marrakech.


With one of the strongest economies in Africa, the island nation of Mauritius has a solid tourism industry and is a huge draw for honeymooners looking for a little Indian Ocean magic in a  culturally rich country. Golfers will enjoy all this charm, as well as some spectacular courses. Hugging the southern coast, Heritage Golf Club has an inspiring setting and two courses that, together, offer 45 holes of golf.

Water is also on view at Anahita Golf Club — designed by four-time major champion Ernie Els — but here it is in the form of a lagoon. German legend Bernhard Langer designed Ile Aux Cerfs Golf Club, a 19-hole course set off the east coast of Mauritius, with access via helicopter or a dedicated boat. This is a course that will have players stopping their golf shots so they can take shots with their cameras, with lakes, volcanic formations, and the surging ocean all visible. If Mauritius isn't a golfing paradise, we don't know where is.

Northland, New Zealand

As bucket-list destinations go, New Zealand is usually up there, a country of incredible, almost unreal scenery — no wonder that the "Lord of the Rings" films were shot here. From soaring mountains to fjords that plunge dramatically into the sea and pretty beaches to rolling hills that are a pastoral fantasy come to life, New Zealand has it all. In a scenic area at the upper part of the North Island, a region smartly called Northland, a number of golf courses stand out. 

The Bay of Islands Golf Club has a dependable roster of members, but public visitors can book tee times and play an 18-hole course at any time of the year. While strolling around the course at Carrington Estate, players will see the grand Pacific Ocean and hills packed with grape vines. The pick of Northland courses is the one at Kauri Cliffs, part of the namesake resort. Here, a number of holes run alongside steep cliffs that just drop right off into the Pacific — how's that for high drama? It is no surprise that Kauri Cliffs regularly features as one of the most popular golf courses on the planet.

Patagonia, Argentina

A region covering vast areas of southern Argentina and extending into Chile, Patagonia has the kind of bold, dramatic topography that speaks of immense forces and terrain that seems to lie at the very extremities of the planet. Visitors to this part of the world will see huge, arid plains that unfurl as far as the eye can see, sharp mountains with jagged profiles, and crystalline lakes that seem to redefine purity. These sorts of vistas — the ones that will blow your mind — are on view from fairways and tees at courses here. 

At the Llao Llao Resort, Golf & Spa, the course sits within the Nahuel Huapi National Park, and while selecting the right club for their next shot, players might find themselves distracted by the lakes, woods, and towering peaks around. Close by, Arelauquen Golf & Country Club offers horse riding, polo, kayaking, tennis, and also an 18-hole course where the scenery is a visual treat.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has fantastic, unknown beaches, lush rainforests, and fabulous music, so it is no great shock that it is so popular with tourists. What many American travelers might not be as familiar with is the island's wealth of golf courses, many of which are tied to plush destination resorts. The Links at Royal Isabela is a hypnotic course, winding its way along a breezy waterfront and set atop cliffs 200 feet above sea level before it descends towards sections of dunes. Players will be able to see local flora and fauna — the dazzling butterflies are particularly mesmerizing — while completing a round. 

Palmas Athletic Club also has holes that look onto the sea, but here, there are two courses, including one built on the grounds of a former sugar plantation. In what was once an area used by horse riders, El Legado features a course that sits between the Caribbean Sea and a mountain range. It all makes for a gorgeous golfing experience, another string to Puerto Rico's magnificent bow.

Santiago, Chile

The capital of Chile has a striking location — the ridges of the Andes mountain are clearly visible to the east of the urban area and appear exceptionally breathtaking when their peaks are blanketed in snow. And yet, even with such vertiginous landscapes so close by, Santiago has some enjoyable golfing. 

Las Araucarias Golf Club is as much a sports club as a social hub, with families coming here to enjoy the natural setting around a lake, parklands, and woods, and facilities that include a swimming pool, sauna, and a space for exercise classes. There is also an 18-hole golf course, and all this is located less than an hour from the Chilean capital. There is a similar set-up at Hacienda Chicureo Club, also close to Santiago, where visitors can let loose with some tennis, swimming in a heated pool, beach volleyball, padel tennis, and a tremendous course regarded as one of the most unique in South America, thanks largely to its sloping terrain and challenging design.

Taipei, Taiwan

An island with great geographic variety, Taiwan is a verdant destination with a selection of courses near its capital city, Taipei. There is a real historical feel to Taiwan Golf & Country Club, which opened more than a century ago as the first golf course on the island. It sits northeast of the city center, near a waterfront area that draws couples looking for a romantic spot to hang out, especially during the stunning sunsets. 

Notable as the country's most northern course, Ocean View Golf Club has dramatic terrain, with the rolling Pacific on one side and mountains on the other, making it a beautifully scenic place to play a round. Also on the north coast and a short drive from Taipei, Gold Coast Golf Country Club features a par 72 course set above oceanfront cliffs. It's a scenic, breezy spot with wavy terrain and endless views of the roiling ocean — some fairways face toward the water, making shot selection key.

Upper Peninsula. Michigan

This part of Michigan is positively stunning, a perfect summer vacation haven. It's a treasure trove of courses for golfers, with visitors spoiled for choice. Marquette Golf Club has 36 holes, the only course of its kind in Upper Michigan, one split between the Greywalls and Heritage courses. The former debuted in 2005 and was lauded for its authentic reflection of the rugged surrounding region, as well as the views of Lake Superior. At the Heritage course, nine holes built in the 1920s were joined by an additional nine in 1969, and lake views are also part of the appeal. 

Red Fox Run Golf Course is an 18-holer where fairways are strictly corralled by trees on either side. Pictured Rocks Golf Course, a short distance southwest of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, is as pretty as its name suggests, with woods, undulating areas of play, and water hazards that add danger and delight to a round.

Western Cape, South Africa

Anyone who has visited this part of South Africa will rave about the natural beauty on display. Cape Town is here, after all, and South Africa's legislative capital is one of the most magnificently located cities in the world. It's a destination with mountains, rolling pastures, vineyards, and gorgeous seascapes, and much of that will be on view at golf courses in the Western Cape. Pezula takes advantage of the bounteous nature with a setting atop headlands between the Knysna Lagoon and the Indian Ocean. 

At Fancourt, there are three courses to choose from, all designed by local hero and nine-time major winner Gary Player. Each course presents a different aesthetic, from classic links to one set near woods and mountains. Much closer to Cape Town than the preceding two options, Arabella Golf Course is anchored by a resort, has plenty of tricky features, and is set by a lagoon and mountains covered in native shrubs.