Best Golf Break Destinations For Women
If you haven't done so already, it’s the time of year when thoughts turn to planning your next golf trip, which might coincide with a celebration such as a special birthday, a hen party, or perhaps you’re a Lady Captain arranging an away-day. Of course, there doesn’t have to be a reason, as female golfers never need an excuse for a break with the girls.
For over 25 years I have helped to organize a golf outing for lady members at West Essex Golf Club, and I haven’t missed one! What started as a simple day out for a handful of ladies quickly grew in popularity – a case of FOMO – and within a year or so, 30 plus women wanted more, and a day turned into an overnight break. From every home county and beyond, as well as Le Touquet in France, we have experienced some great venues and each has its own stories to tell!
In the early days, a group of women packing their bags to go golfing were few and far between, but that’s definitely not the case anymore, as women love to travel whether it’s for a day out or jetting off to sunnier climes. For example, at Faro Airport, it's no longer just guys grabbing their golf bag at baggage reclaim, before heading to the Algarve, Portugal’s golfing mecca.
Personally, whilst the quality of the golf course and accommodation is important, and ideally easily accessible - walking distance from the hotel to on-site golf - above all else, what ticks the box is good food, a terrace or an atmospheric bar to enjoy good company and a few drinks, as well as having the option to visit nearby places of interest. If a spa is thrown into the mix, this makes for the absolute perfect venue. I’ve been very fortunate through my role in the golf industry, as well as the annual West Essex outing, to have had the opportunity to enjoy an abundance of golf clubs and resorts, so here is a selection of my favourite UK venues.
Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, East Anglia
- Hotel rooms: 80
- Golf: Gainsborough Course, 5322 yards, par 71. Constable Course, 5688 yards, par 72
- Off course facilities: Spa, fitness centre, two restaurants
- Visit Stoke by Nayland website
This resort represents excellent value for money. The two 18-hole parkland courses are a thoroughly enjoyable test of golf. The resort is compact and nicely laid out. Bedrooms are notably spacious, but depending on the size of a group, there’s also the option to book one of five country lodges. The spa and indoor pool are a fair size, there’s a casual restaurant-cum-sports bar and a wonderful elevated terrace for pre or post-golf banter, plus a 2 AA Rosette restaurant for more formal dining. It is also worth mentioning that the pro shop is always well-stocked with women’s clothing.
The Goodwood Estate, West Sussex
- Hotel rooms: 91
- Golf: The Downs Course, 5055 yards, par 72. The Park Course, 5584 yards, par 72
- Off course facilities: gym, swimming pool, wellness centre, choice of dining options
- Visit: Golf At Goodwood website
Goodwood has two 18-hole courses – Park and Downs - that are up there with some of the best golf courses in Sussex. Both are a pleasure to play with magnificent views, although the Downs Course is the tougher of the two. The Park Course is on the doorstep of the Goodwood Hotel, which has stylishly modern bedrooms, a health club and an excellent choice of post-round dining options. From the hotel, it’s a few minutes’ drive to the hub of Golf At Goodwood and it’s here you’ll find the Downs Course and the understated luxury of the central and impressive clubhouse, The Kennels. As the name suggests, the Goodwood estate is remarkably dog-friendly.
Prince’s Golf Club, Kent
- Lodge rooms: 38
- Golf: 27 holes - Shore, 2759 yards, par 36. Dunes, 2792 yards, par 38. Himalayas, 2818 yards, par 36
- Off course facilities: Two restaurants, lounge bar, access to the beach
- Visit: Prince's Golf Club website
Head to Prince’s Golf Club for a true links experience, which sits on one of the most beautiful stretches of English coastline. There are three loops of nine, and whatever combination you choose, rolling fairways, deep and penal pot bunkers and a prevailing sea breeze put all your golfing skills to the test. The club features in Golf Monthly's UK&I top 100 golf course rankings and is up there with some of the best links courses in England. Prince’s original clubhouse is now The Lodge that features spacious accommodation including some two-bedroom lodges with en-suite facilities and a lounge area, which are perfect for a fourball. There are two dining options, one of which is the elevated Prince’s Suite in the clubhouse from where you can view the course and across Sandwich Bay to the White Cliffs of Ramsgate.
Old Thorns Hotel & Resort, Hampshire
- Hotel rooms: 150, as well as self-catering apartments
- Golf: 18 holes, 5048 yards, par 72
- Off course facilities: Three dining options, champagne bar, spa, health club, Toptracer golf range
- Visit: Old Thorns Hotel & Resort website
The heavily wooded 18-hole course at Old Thorns has an interesting layout with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, although due to the undulating landscape, some women might prefer to use a buggy. Spring is the best time to visit when the rhododendron bushes are in full bloom. The resort is cleverly designed, allowing for individual space for golfers, as well as wedding parties and conference delegates. There is the option to book a private room for dinner, so you can make plenty of noise at your heart’s content before heading to the champagne and cocktail bar! There is also a health club and spa.
Gleneagles Resort, Scotland
- Hotel rooms: 205 bedrooms, 28 suites
- Golf: King's Course, 5,220 yards 69, par 75. Queen's Course, 5,495 yards, par 74. Centenary Course, 5271 yards, par 71
- Off course facilities: Variety of outdoor pursuits, spa and wellness centre, several dining options
- Visit: Gleneagles website
If you really want to push the boat out for a memorable 5-star experience on and off the golf course, then look no further than Gleneagles. The King’s and Queen’s courses have similar woodland characteristics, while their younger sibling, The PGA Centenary Course, has a US-style design element with huge bunkers and greens. There are so many other activities on offer at the 850-acre estate including archery, fly fishing, shooting, tennis, gun dog training, horse riding, the list goes on. Depending on where your mood takes you, there’s a great choice of dining options and as you would expect, bedrooms are luxuriously furnished – nothing is left to chance.
Bowood Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort, Wiltshire
- Hotel rooms: 43
- Golf: 18 holes - 6001 yards, par 75
- Off course facilities: Two dining options, spa, golf performance centre
- Visit: Bowood Golf & Spa Resort website
The course at Bowood is more challenging than some, largely due to its length, but don’t let that put you off. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the course features a great mix of undulating woodland and lakes, and quite often you’ll be followed by a herd of friendly deer. The spa is the perfect place to round off your day before heading for some lovely food in the restaurant which boasts 2 rosettes. The bedrooms are elegantly furnished and after a good night’s sleep, you should take advantage of the excellent practice facilities that includes 3 academy holes that lace their way around the left-hand side of a fabulous covered range.
The above are just a few options for you to consider and they only scratch the surface because there are many other great venues across the country that tick all the right boxes. Check out websites for special offers, especially Sunday savers, and remember that many clubs and resorts will offer a deal if you get a size-able group together. What are you waiting for?
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Alison Root has over 25 years experience working in media and events, predominantly dedicated to golf, in particular the women’s game. Until 2020, for over a decade Alison edited Women & Golf magazine and website, and in addition to writing, overseeing all content and developing industry relationships, she was the go-to voice for TV and radio to comment on breaking women’s golf stories. Alison is also the Editorial Director of Glorious, the new digital platform devoted to elevating women’s sport and that includes golf! She is a 14-handicap golfer (should be better) and despite having had the fantastic opportunity to play some of the best golf courses around the world, Kingsbarns in Scotland is her favourite.
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