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As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, most of us are looking for ways we can economise in every aspect of life. Not going on a golf holiday may seem an obvious one but, as we golf lovers know, – it’s not quite that simple. The annual golfing break away is an essential part of our lives and not something that can be kicked to the curb without considering every option to make it happen. Throughout Europe there are deals to be had on golfing getaways and there are countries where green fees are extremely reasonable. If you do a little research, you can find places to play golf in Europe that offer high quality courses and good value for money. Here below we consider some of the best options.
Most of the venues mentioned have packages or deals available that make the green fees considerably cheaper than quoted. They are set up for holiday deals and these can be had if you shop around.
Bulgaria has become an increasingly popular destination for holidaymakers from the UK in recent years. It’s a stunningly beautiful country with incredible beaches on the Black Sea coast and spectacular mountains in the interior. It’s a place rich with culture and art, beautiful churches and historic sites dating back over 3,000 years. The country has worked hard to attract tourists since the fall of communism and the construction of golf courses has been an inevitable part of that. The striking terrain of the Black Sea coastline lends itself perfectly to golf.
Golfing visitors can experience the incredible Thracian Cliffs, a clifftop masterpiece designed by Gary Player – It’s one of the top ranked layouts in Europe, a real bucket list course and hotel guests can play it for only €79.
There are two further layouts within striking distance in the shape of Black Sea Rama and The Lighthouse where green fees are under €100 at both.
Inland, in the foothills of the Pirin mountains, the beautiful course at Pirin Golf and Country Club offers spectacular views. There you can enjoy a round plus lunch for just €70.
Cyprus is an island full of history and beauty and is home to six golf courses. It’s also somewhere offering great value for money.
Opened in 2002, the course at Aphrodite Hills is a Cabell Robinson design that’s played host to the European Tour’s Cyprus Open. It’s a striking layout that sits comfortably in the Mediterranean landscape. A top-end course but there are green fee deals available working out at less than €100 per person – they also offer twilight rates.
Elea Golf Club boasts a Nick Faldo designed course set on a hillside with incredible views out to sea. Another championship course, green fees are around the €80 mark.
Secret Valley is another excellent course running through a river gorge co-designed by Tony Jacklin. Twilight rates are available from just €45.
When you think golf and Slovakia many will first picture Rory Sabbatini winning Olympic silver in Tokyo. But Slovakia is also home to some excellent golf courses offering great value for money. The two layouts at Penati – Heritage and Legend are particularly good. Heritage is a Jonathan Davies design that pays homage to the golden age of course architecture. It’s a very natural layout with beautifully shaped fairways and greens. Legend is a Nicklaus design presenting a solid test of championship golf.
The standard fee is €85 per round but there’s a twilight rate and you can play 36 holes for just €128.
Elsewhere in Slovakia, there’s excellent and relatively cheap golf to be had at the Black Stork resort and at Tale where the Gray Bear course was the first 18-holer to open in Slovakia back in 1993.
Adrian Meronk recently put Polish golf on the map by winning the Irish Open at Mount Juliet. The country is home to some excellent golf venues. One of the best is the Modry Las resort in Choszczno in the north west of the country. It’s a Gary Player design in an area of rolling terrain and thick woodland. It’s an excellent layout carved through the forests with lakes and wildflowers abounding. Modry Las offers exceptional value with regular green fees starting at just €50.
The inland links at Sand Valley in Paslek is one of Poland’s best layouts. It’s a fast-running track on flat and open terrain flanked by stands of pine trees and waste areas. Sand Valley offers excellent stay and play packages – four nights and four rounds for less than €500.
There are many famous and exclusive destinations in Portugal but a number of them offer good value (particularly around the Lisbon area,) and there are other, lesser-known venues where golf is relatively cheap.
Aroeira outside Lisbon boasts two excellent layouts offering low prices. Dating from 1973, Aroeira 1 was designed by renowned course architect Frank Pennink. It’s a challenging layout that’s twice hosted the Portuguese Open. The course’s difficulty increases as it moves into the undulating back nine. Designed by Donald Steel, the second course at Aroeira opened for play in 2000. The layout is set in beautiful rolling, wooded countryside on the Setubal Peninsula south of Lisbon.
Aroeria 2 has hosted the Qualifying School for the Ladies European Tour and the Portuguese Ladies Open. Green fees at Aroeira start from just €53.
On a spectacular and rugged stretch of coastline some 40 miles north of Lisbon, the course at Praia d’El Rey was opened for play in 1997. It’s a design by Cabell B. Robinson delivering a raw, linksy test. It’s one of the top ranked layouts in Portugal but green fees of under €50 can be had.
Penha Longa has been host to the Estoril Open de Portugal. It’s one of the most recognisable courses in Portugal. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, the layout is set in the grounds of a former monastery estate. Last minute green fees of less than €40 are often available.
Staycations are the new thing, particularly with the unreliable nature of international travel right now. The UK is home to the world’s best golf courses and many of them charge some fairly eye-watering green fees. But there are other, less famous options offering great value and quality to boot. You might try a municipal course, a nine-holer like Durness in northern Scotland, or Wooler in Northumberland where a round is just a tenner! Elsewhere, there’s value to be had at courses like Kington in Herefordshire – the highest course in England where the green fee is just £30 or striking Borth and Ynsylas GC in Wales where a round starts at £32.50.
Across the UK and the rest of Europe there’s cheap golf to be had if you shop around. Consider a lesser-known golfing country or some of the less famous tracks in the more established golfing destinations. You’ll find some hidden gems to explore.
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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