Playing golf all year round is not a great proposition in the United Kingdom and Northern European countries. If you asked any keen golfer for their top winter destinations to play golf, Scotland or Northern Ireland are highly unlikely to come at the top of the list.
However, you do not have to travel huge distances to enjoy a great round of golf between the months of November and March.
In fact, the top five winter destinations in southern Europe to play golf are just a short flight away, wherever you are based in Europe.
Bathed in sunshine throughout the year and averaging temperatures of 22 degrees in the winter months, the Canary Islands is a wonderful place for golf.
There are several islands to choose from and each are home to fantastic golf courses. Golf del Sur is arguably one of the best golf courses in the Canary Islands, the course has hosted the Tenerife Open on the European Tour. The course is famed for black volcanic sand bunkers, most notable on the par 3 second hole island green.
The stunning course at Tecina also receives high praise, with its stunning views across the Atlantic. This one is a genuine hidden gem, based o the small island of Tecina, accessible only by boat transfers from neighbouring Tenerife.
There is a broad selection golf courses to play across the islands, with designs from golfing greats including Severiano Ballesteros and Jose María Olazabal. Whether its Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, Lanzarote or Fuerteventura, you will find amazing golf courses on each island.
You will find inland, coastal and volcanic golf courses, coupled with nightlife across the Canary Islands to rival anywhere in the world, you are assured a wonderful time.
Mallorca is a Spanish island full of beauty, with golden sand, crystal blue seas, lush green interior, traditional villages and some of the most picturesque golf courses in Europe.
Temperatures can reach 18 degrees in the winter months and provide perfect golf playing conditions. The only issue with booking a winter golf break to Mallorca is which golf course to choose on your itinerary!
You are spoilt for choice on the island but many visitors begin with a round at Alcanada Golf Club, which was designed by the legendary Robert Trent-Jones Jr, the course offers magnificent views of the sea. Other fantastic golf courses in Mallorca include Son Vida and Santa Ponsa, both of which come highly recommended by golfers who have played them.
If you are looking to add some culture to your golf trip, then look no further than the course at Son Gual. Only a 15 minute drive from Palma, this golf complex has superb facilities and a very relaxing atmosphere.
The cosmopolitan city of Palma is home to some great places to eat, drink and dance. The bars, clubs and restaurants are plentiful and you will find something to suit all tastes.
The Algarve is perhaps the most famous region to play golf in southern Europe and by taking one glance at what the region has to offer, it is easy to see why.
Golf is synonymous with the Algarve and you can make a case for golf being the major reason why the Algarve is such a population travel destination. There are currently over 40 golf courses in the Algarve and simply knowing where to start is a task of its own.
However, the Vale Do Lobo Resort, which opened in 1962, is a great place to begin. This is the largest resort in the Algarve, and home to all you could possibly wish for in a golf holiday, including two 18-hole championship golf courses and exceptional golf club facilities. The impressive Royal Course has hosted the Portuguese Open and has the signature par 3 16th hole, with a spectacular cliff-top drive!
Another luxury Algarve resort for golf is Penina Hotel and Golf Resort, which boasts three golf courses, one of which is the superb Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course. This was the first 18-hole golf course to be constructed in the Algarve.
With such a wealth of golfing options, mild winter temperatures and a plethora of bars and restaurants, both in the resorts and villages, the Algarve is a top European winter destination to play golf.
Moving to mainland Spain and the southern regions are a fabulous place to play golf in the winter. Sotogrande in Andalusia is renowned for having a pleasant climate and while temperatures can become very hot in the summer, during the winter months the temperature is ideal for playing golf.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to golf in Andalusia but Real Club de Golf Sotogrande is a golf course you cannot afford to miss.
This was Robert Trent Jones’ first design in Europe and it’s a beauty. Despite opening in 1964, it remains one of the best golf courses in Andalusia and one of top golfing experiences in the whole of Europe. With sloping fairways and elevated greens, Sotogrande offers a good test while remaining a very enjoyable course to play.
La Reserva is a course you won’t want to miss during a trip to this region. Designed around two adjoining valleys and overlooked by the impressive clubhouse. This is a real test for all golfers, the course is long, well designed and one of the best maintained in the region. One will find an air of exclusivity here and first-class service, highly recommended.
You certainly wont struggle to find somewhere to eat in Sotogrande and there are many top restaurants, bars and boutiques in this stylish marnia. If you prefer a self-contained golf resort, Almenara is a customer favourite. The resort is located near Valderrama (Ryder Cup venue in 1997) and has a 4-star hotel and three 9-hole courses to play. The outstanding hilltop view from the clubhouse, which overlooks Sotogrande and the Mediterranean beyond, is a great place to relax after a round.
Murcia is an autonomous community of Spain, nestling between Andalusia and Valencia on the Mediterranean coast. Temperatures in Murcia are known to reach 20 degrees, even in February, which is a far cry from the winter climate of northern Europe.
Playing golf in 20 degrees is delightful and is one of the reasons why Murcia is in the top 5 European winter destinations to play golf.
You are in for a treat if you book a tee time at Mar Menor Golf Resort, which is close to the town of Torre Pacheco. The 18-hole golf course has been designed by two different designers, with the front nine created by David Thomas and featuring greens with minimal rough but well protected by bunkers and lakes.
The bank nine holes have been designed by Jack Nicklaus and offer wider fairways but with additional rough, allowing for bigger strokes but greater punishment for wayward shots.
Another golfer’s choice is the Nicklaus designed Alhama course. With over 100 bunkers and some stunning natural scenery this course provides a fair challenge.
Away from the course, you have access to all the great facilities are Mar Menor plus the bars, restaurants and night life of Murcia. Sample some of the great wine produced in the region and the traditional meat and seafood dishes, including fresh prawns from Mar Menor.
If you are longing for a round of golf in a pleasant climate and with fantastic surroundings, take your pick from our chosen top five European winter destinations to play golf and you will not be disappointed. For more information or to enquire about these destinations, please click here.