Winter need not be a barrier to enjoying a spot of golf. With mild weather, world-class courses and short flight times, Europe provides a host of excellent winter golfing options virtually on your doorstep.
And of course, a winter golf holiday provides so much more than the opportunity to play. Getting a little winter sun, enjoying a break from the poor weather in the UK, and indulging in a little rest and relaxation are all part of it, and will help break up the long winter period into more manageable chunks.
If you’re pondering a winter golfing break in Europe, take a look at our top three options:
Situated in the south of Portugal, the Algarve is a fantastic destination for golf throughout the year. Plus, its abundance of beaches, activities and tempting cuisine mean it’s an all-round crowd pleaser – perfect if not everyone you’ll be travelling with is as big a lover of golf as you! However, what makes it stand out as a winter golfing destination?
The weather is, of course, one of the biggest factors, with the region boasting some 300 days of sunshine per year. Temperatures average just under 20 degrees C in November, dipping to 16 and 17 degrees C in December, January and February, meaning that even in the low golf season (December and January) it’s possible to enjoy mild weather.
November is a particularly good month for winter golf in the Algarve, since the weather can still be very good (of course, that’s not guaranteed!) and fees are lower than during the peak season. December is one of the quietest months, and you should be aware that some courses close for maintenance at this time, so always check which will be open when making your travel plans. January, meanwhile, typically provides the lowest green fees, not to mention cheaper accommodation. February offers similar benefits, but with the added advantage of slightly warmer temperatures and less rainfall.
The quality of the Algarve’s courses is the other major reason to come here; its internationally renowned greens make it a favourite among professionals. Among the top places to tee off is Monte Rei North, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. This par 72 championship course has a distinctive and challenging layout, and is often considered the best in Portugal.
Costa del Sol
Situated in Andalucia, Spain, the Costa del Sol is one of the country’s best-loved holiday destinations. For golf lovers, an incredible range of courses is the highlight of the region’s mix of glorious beaches, fascinating cities, laid-back resorts and reliable sunshine. And, thanks to its average of 320 days of sunshine per year, it’s a bright, welcoming place to be even in the winter months, when the rain is pounding on the courses of the UK.
While the sun will likely be shining for most of your winter golf holiday in the Costa del Sol, it’s worth bearing in mind that temperatures will be cooler than during the rest of the year, often in the mid-teens. The advantage of this, however, is that accommodation is less expensive, there are fewer tourists, and the golf courses are less crowded, which are certainly worthwhile trade-offs! Plus, the Costa del Sol offers a particularly large range of golf courses, making it a great place to go if you like the sound of having a big pool of choices to pick from.
Among the best options is Torrequebrada Golf, which you’ll find in Benalmadena. Having opened in 1976, this is widely considered to be one of Europe’s best courses, and it’s also among its most scenic, with every hole having views of the sea and mountains. While being just 6,400 yards long, the course provides a lot of challenges, not least thanks to its hilly landscape and strategically placed water hazards and bunkers. Its twisting course is one that many golfers come back to time and time again to improve their game.
A winter sun favourite, the Canary Islands are a great choice for a getaway when the UK’s weather is poor. Boasting a good selection of courses, Tenerife is the best option for keen golfers. Its year-round spring-like climate makes it an enjoyable place to play in the winter months – indeed, December to February manage to stay pleasantly warm, while destinations further north start to suffer from falling temperatures.
The majority of the courses are located on the south of the island, which is where the busiest resorts – including Playa de las Americas – are. A new and especially tempting place to play in Abama Golf, which was only built in 2005. Considered by many to be a masterpiece, it challenges players with its undulating greens and lake obstacles. It’s also a very beautiful course, with more than 25,000 palm trees, and lakes connected by waterfalls.
Another great option is Golf del Sur, which comprises three loops of nine holes – its Links, North and South loops. With black volcanic sand bunkers contrasting bright green playing surfaces, this is the only 27-hole championship course in Tenerife.