One of the most anticipated events on the golfing calendar kicks off this weekend (September 28th) as the 42nd Ryder Cup arrives in France.
All eyes will be on Le Golf National in Guyancourt as the best golfers from Europe and the USA go head-to-head. Europe will be looking to reassert its dominance on a tournament it has only lost three times since 1995 but Team USA arrive as defending champions and have a resurgent Tiger Woods among their midst eager to build on his recent tour victory.
It is only the second time the Ryder Cup will be held in mainland Europe since its inception. In honour of the tournament returning to European shores we’re taking a look at some of the best course the continent has to offer – perfect for those golfing holidays.
Valderrama Royal Club – San Roque, Spain
Photo credit: Pablo Herrero via Flickr
Where better to start than the only other continental European golf course to host the Ryder Cup. Valderrama Royal Club was the scene of the 1997 edition where a Seve Ballesteros captained Europe side to edge out the USA by a margin of 14½ to 13½.
Follow in the footsteps of legends such as Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, Jim Furyk and Tiger as oyu take on this world renowned course in the Andalusia sunshine. Regularly voted as the best course in Europe, Valderrama has its signature fourth hole – La Cascada – a par 5 with an immediate pond off the tee and a two-tiered green.
And you can enjoy the stunning scenery of southern Spain.
Monte Rei Golf & Country Club – Vila Nova De Cacela, Portugal
Photo credit: Monte Rei
The Algarve is renowned for its pristine golf courses and of all the greens bathed in the southern Iberian sunshine it is Monte Rei that stands above the rest. Designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, Monte Rei is set a little away from the popular tourist town of Albufeira and offers an attractive setting of the Portuguese countryside as you tee off.
Players can expect a different challenge at each hole as the course has an array of water hazards, bunkers and long grass. The highlight is the 14th where you can admire the scenery as you attempt to navigate over the lake to reach the pretty green.
PGA Catalunya – Girona, Spain
Photo credit: Roderick Eime via Flickr
Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains is arguably the best golf course in Spain. Designed to rival PGA Tour course Sawgrass, PGA Catalunya is the venue for a series of high profile tournaments including the Spanish Open.
Mirroring the majesty of nearby Barcelona, the course has been built to test all standard of golfers. Each hole can be played from five different tees and is a veritable delight from the first drive to the final putt. Watch your ball glide over lakes, scream past the mountainous setting and sink into the hole.
The only downside is that PGA Catalunya lost out to Rome to stage the 2022 Ryder Cup.
Carya Golf Club – Belek, Turkey
When five-time Open Champion Peter Thomson assessed the land along Turkey’s Belek golf belt he compared it to the heathland courses near London, which he considered to be among the world’s best. The Australian golfing legend then set about designing a course that would match his vision and thus giving birth to Carya Golf Club.
This traditional-style course takes Mediterranean golf to the next level with a challenging 72-par scorecard. It features the longest hole in Turkey – a 621-yard behemoth known as “Long” on the sixth – while the final nine holes are floodlit meaning that golfers can continue playing on those warm evenings.
Thracian Cliffs – Cape Kaliakra, Bulgaria
Hopping across the Black Sea to Bulgaria, it is easy to see why Thracian Cliffs is the most photographed course in Europe. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Black Sea and the rolling countryside, the fairways straddle the cliffs making it a truly unique course.
Designed by the legendary Gary Player you can enjoy ocean views from every hole and The Black Knight himself holds Thracian Cliffs in the highest regard comparing it to the famous Pebble Beach. This is a course that simply has to be played to be believed and once you’ve completed a round you will want to play it again and again.
Anfi Tauro – Mogan, Gran Canaria
Photo credit: Pascal via Flickr
The Canary Islands are famed for beaches, volcanoes and package holidays but Gran Canaria has one of Spain’s golfing hidden gems. A short drive from Maspalomas is Anfi Tauro Golf Course, considered to be one of the most ambitious courses ever made in Europe.
Designers had to literally move mountains to bring the 18-hole course to fruition but the labour of love was worth it. Tee off with a panoramic of volcanoes and ocean as your view as you battle the Atlantic wind on the 6th and the mountainous landscape on the 13th. Anfi Tauro is a delightful course in an impressive location.
Fancy unleashing your inner Tiger Woods on these courses? You can create your own golfing holidaying with Sunmaster. Head to www.sunmaster.co.uk and start planning your next break. We have deposits available from as little as £49pp on certain packages and flexible payment plans to suit all budgets.