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Carte Blanche anywhere in world - where's the best bang for buck golf location?


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#1 shadymg

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 06:41 PM

I go twice a year to China for work, and travel quite a bit domestically, so I have a few frequent flyer miles i'm looking to use on vacations with my gf. She doesn't love golf, but she's very good and will play with me when we travel as long as we do some other tourist stuff while we're there. Not just looking for cheap golf, but gorgeous view/golf courses that are very affordable.

Which leads me to thinking, what locations have the best bang for your buck golf courses. I figured it would be 3rd world countries, but wanted to know if i'm missing out. I thought i remembered reading somewhere that many courses in Scotland were nice and cheap? What about Central/south america given i'm on the west coast of US?

Just from my expereinces, here's where i've been thus far and my impressions:
  • Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) - Very nice courses, very affordable
  • Philippines (Borocay/Clark Air Force Base) - nice course conditions, decent price (around $75/round not including caddie)
  • China (Mission Hills) - stupid expensive
  • EDIT: Forgot about Australia: Melbourne & Queensland, both very affordable for stunning courses. No caddie required which was nice and saves $$$. Only issue is weather was quite unpredictable.
Ideally the location would be on a good route that I could get to without having to spend a ton of miles.

All suggestions/ideas welcomed!

EDIT: This would be a short trip/vacation, think 1 week max. Gf would kill me if i tried to play golf more than 4 out of 7 days.

Edited by shadymg, 06 February 2019 - 12:37 AM.


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#2 CheckJV

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 09:34 PM

I have no hope of ever doing this myself but I’m following this thread because I’m sure there will be lots of places suggested of which I have never heard.

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#3 rcb1586

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 09:53 PM

I've always wanted to visit Thailand. Some of my friends have been and said it is very affordable in general. I'm not sure about the golf though.
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#4 shadymg

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 10:14 PM

View Postrcb1586, on 31 January 2019 - 09:53 PM, said:

I've always wanted to visit Thailand. Some of my friends have been and said it is very affordable in general. I'm not sure about the golf though.

I definitely have thought of Thailand. Someone on another forum mentioned it's not as affordable as you would think. I guess they jack prices up since mostly for tourists.

Also I should say I've heard south Korea is insane expensive

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#5 az2au

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 10:20 PM

Phuket is great for sure. I used to spend many weekends there play golf when I lived in KL. The golf isnít all that cheap but everything else is so that makes up for it.


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#6 robdalky

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 10:23 PM

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#7 Zac1321

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 10:59 PM

in august i was in australia for work and made a 3 day stop on the tail end of it down to Barnbougle on tasmania. Very very affordable.  Considering the course conditions and location it seemed like an absolute steal. i loved every second of it. i know weather can be unpredictable down there but its an easy flight (but long) from the west coast to melbourne and a quick hop from there down to tasmania

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#8 shadymg

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 02:13 AM

View PostZac1321, on 31 January 2019 - 10:59 PM, said:

in august i was in australia for work and made a 3 day stop on the tail end of it down to Barnbougle on tasmania. Very very affordable.  Considering the course conditions and location it seemed like an absolute steal. i loved every second of it. i know weather can be unpredictable down there but its an easy flight (but long) from the west coast to melbourne and a quick hop from there down to tasmania

Can't believe I forgot about this!! I agree!! I've actually been to Australia and agree with everything you said. Even got to lose a ball to an all too close male kangaroo lol. I'll definitely go back there

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#9 FairwayFred

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 07:34 AM

I'd say find a place in Scotland.  You can join a world top 100 course for less than $500 a year.
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#10 jvincent

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 09:54 AM

If you stay away from the Open rota and big name courses then Scotland and Ireland have a LOT of courses that fit the bill. Often the courses/clubs are a couple of hundred years old.

In and around St Andrews as an example there are places like Crail and Elie.

Since most of the courses in Scotland and Ireland are on the ocean the views are generally pretty good. Be prepared for the weather though.


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#11 Dancin

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 10:27 AM

I think links golf is the best so I'm a little biased but even without that, Scotland and Ireland is definitely it. Joining one of the clubs as an overseas member is ridiculously cheap and usually gets you reciprocal discounts and free golf at other clubs too. You'll play courses with features you won't see anywhere else in the world because nobody would build some of those courses that way today.

People I know have done Ireland golf trips including the flight cost for cheaper than what a trip to Bandon costs and that's without having an overseas membership.

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#12 shadymg

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 12:23 PM

View Postjvincent, on 01 February 2019 - 09:54 AM, said:

If you stay away from the Open rota and big name courses then Scotland and Ireland have a LOT of courses that fit the bill. Often the courses/clubs are a couple of hundred years old.

In and around St Andrews as an example there are places like Crail and Elie.

Since most of the courses in Scotland and Ireland are on the ocean the views are generally pretty good. Be prepared for the weather though.

So i did hear correct! Do you have a ballpark around how much is a round of golf average? Caddie required?

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#13 cardoustie

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 12:24 PM

Do Hawaii and New Zealand
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#14 jvincent

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 12:43 PM

View Postshadymg, on 01 February 2019 - 12:23 PM, said:

View Postjvincent, on 01 February 2019 - 09:54 AM, said:

If you stay away from the Open rota and big name courses then Scotland and Ireland have a LOT of courses that fit the bill. Often the courses/clubs are a couple of hundred years old.

In and around St Andrews as an example there are places like Crail and Elie.

Since most of the courses in Scotland and Ireland are on the ocean the views are generally pretty good. Be prepared for the weather though.

So i did hear correct! Do you have a ballpark around how much is a round of golf average? Caddie required?

We didn't play any courses in Scotland where a caddie was required. Most (all ?) will have push carts (or trolleys as they refer to them) for rent.

Costs will vary by season. We went in the shoulder season so the less famous courses were in the 75 pound range.

Edited by jvincent, 01 February 2019 - 12:43 PM.


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#15 shadymg

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 01:14 PM

View Postcardoustie, on 01 February 2019 - 12:24 PM, said:

Do Hawaii and New Zealand

Hawaii was a good call, especially as i live in California. I've been to Kona (Big Island) once and the deal sites had pretty good deals on some pretty nice courses.

New Zealand would be interesting...i thought my mate down there told me it was more expensive than Australia, but maybe he was talking about a particular old famous course?


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#16 shadymg

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 11:27 AM

Anyone have any experience with Latin/South America? Especially thinking of places like Brazil or Argentina where the dollar goes so far. I think I recall Mexico and Costa Rica being somewhat expensive because they're always near/for resorts and tourists...

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#17 raynorfan1

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 12:06 PM

IME Golf is very expensive in places that are otherwise cheap to live (Southeast Asia, Latin America, etc).  Itís mostly isolated in very high end resorts that want huge greens fees. Conversely, there are some places with very cheap golf, but relatively higher living costs (Scotland). My guess is that a place like Myrtle Beach or the RTJ Trail, or maybe someplace in Central Europe or the Balkans optimize on these two axes.

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#18 Man_O_War

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 03:28 PM

Anywhere Links courses are affordable. (True Links) (Ireland, Coast of England.)  Then Kenya to Southern Africa
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#19 BNGL

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 04:44 PM

North Dakota. Not big names there by any means but some of the best golf you can play; Hawktree, Links of ND, Bully Pulpit, King’s Walk. All fantastic 18 hole clubs, plus every little municipality has (and takes extreme pride in) their 9 hole club. Larimore ND has a fantastic 9 hole course that has some extreme elevation changes as it goes in and out of the valley.

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#20 Matt J

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 05:10 PM

Probably not Central America.  Not a lot of golf other than Mexico.  What else is out there is mostly private.


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#21 Oufcfan

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 09:45 PM

Portugal, Turkey & Bulgaria .
Never been myself but have heard great things from friends whoíve been.
Just hope I get a chance to try them soon too!

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#22 gentles

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 09:43 AM

Pick a place in Scotland and join a course. For example, an out of town membership at Brora is ~$500 or so, and with it you get passes to play all the other courses in the region for cheap too, including dornoch at certain times. Ever since we went last summer Iíve been trying to figure it out!

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#23 shadymg

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 01:29 AM

View Postgentles, on 03 February 2019 - 09:43 AM, said:

Pick a place in Scotland and join a course. For example, an out of town membership at Brora is ~$500 or so, and with it you get passes to play all the other courses in the region for cheap too, including dornoch at certain times. Ever since we went last summer I've been trying to figure it out!

help me understand. if you have to pay $500 for a membership and then only be there for a week, wouldn't that be pretty expensive? or you saying makes sense if you're going for several months?

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#24 Malvern

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 01:55 AM

From the west coast unfortunately South Africa is probably the bridge too far but it ticks every other box.

New Zealand has some of the best value golf and high end if you want that as well.

Queenstown is a cracking place, plenty of other things to do. Google Jacks Point and then book your ticket

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#25 Dancin

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 10:00 AM

View Postshadymg, on 04 February 2019 - 01:29 AM, said:

View Postgentles, on 03 February 2019 - 09:43 AM, said:

Pick a place in Scotland and join a course. For example, an out of town membership at Brora is ~$500 or so, and with it you get passes to play all the other courses in the region for cheap too, including dornoch at certain times. Ever since we went last summer I've been trying to figure it out!

help me understand. if you have to pay $500 for a membership and then only be there for a week, wouldn't that be pretty expensive? or you saying makes sense if you're going for several months?

Most courses in the summer season are going to run $100 and up a round and having a membership at one of them almost always includes highly discounted rounds at other courses. So as long as you make a trip once a year and play your course a couple times, you're probably getting your money's worth. Also non member play is often limited to certain days of the week; whereas, having a membership lets you play any day. Again the reciprocal agreements may get you on other courses on days the general public can't play too.


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#26 blakej824

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 12:07 PM

Portugal should be the choice based on your stipulations.  Amazing golf, dirt cheap for Americans to visit the country, great vibe of the people and environment.  They literally just drink and eat all day and night.  There are numerous hotel based courses that offer stay and play packages around 700 euros for 5 nights and unlimited golf.  PM if you'd like details, I've visited the country 5 times now.

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#27 gentles

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 08:34 PM

View Postshadymg, on 04 February 2019 - 01:29 AM, said:

View Postgentles, on 03 February 2019 - 09:43 AM, said:

Pick a place in Scotland and join a course. For example, an out of town membership at Brora is ~$500 or so, and with it you get passes to play all the other courses in the region for cheap too, including dornoch at certain times. Ever since we went last summer I've been trying to figure it out!

help me understand. if you have to pay $500 for a membership and then only be there for a week, wouldn't that be pretty expensive? or you saying makes sense if you're going for several months?

Depends how long you're planning on going for. I read your OP that you were looking for a slightly longer term (>1 month) stay in a single place. For a shorter term dash you're better off just going to pay Green fees.

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#28 TigerTom

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 06:53 AM

I have played in some of the destinations you are looking at. From Australia to Costa Rica and Brazil and from Spain to Dubai with stops in Ireland and Scotland.

If your trip was pure golf Ireland/Scotland would be a no brainer but in order to keep your girlfriend happy I would go elsewhere.

Based on your criteria I would say Mauricias, maybe Dubai, southern Spain or Belek but would have to agree that Portugal is the best call. Great weather, pristine beaches, the food (especially the fish and seafood) and wine is unbeatable.

And you’ll play some brilliant courses like: Palmares, Vale do Lobo, Monte Rei, San Lorenzo in the Algarve or West Cliffs, Praia del Rei and Royal Obidos in Peniche. Around Lisbon you have Oitavos Dunes, Penha Longa or Troia.

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#29 chano14

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 09:17 AM

In Argentina golf is very affordable, but is a rare case in latin america.

In Buenos Aires, you can play PILARA GOLF CLUB a Nicklaus Signature Course, home of 2018 Argentina Open (PGA Latam Tour) for less than 20USD on weekdays. It s crazy cheap
Buenos Aires has too many public golf courses (+80 within one hour of the city centre). The offer is so big, that public courses like PILARA, cannot charge you 200USD because it would be empty. There are just 5-6 clubs that are completely private that you cannot play even on weekdays.

I ve played more than 25 courses around the world (Trump Doral, TPC Sawgrass, Le Golf National, PGA National, The European Club, Carton House, Olympic Course in Rio) I can tell you in Buenos Aires you can find 7-8 courses in superb shape and with interesting designs (old school english courses, nicklaus-style modern courses) that will definetely worth the money.

In Patagonia, in the lakes area,  you have 3 Courses: "Chapelco Golf" (nicklaus, PGA Latam), "El Desafio" (Greg Norman, finishing back 9, absolutely spectacular) and "Arelauquen" that are 3 solid courses, in great shape and located in beautifull valleys in the mountains and you will not pay more than 30-40usd a round

There are some other great courses in Argentina and I don´t think you will pay more than 40-50usd in any of them. But again Argentina is a rare exception.

(also great wine, meat, nightlife, natural monuments to see)

Edited by chano14, 05 February 2019 - 09:18 AM.


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#30 Luke.Sutton

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 02:28 PM

Iíve read caddies are $2/day in Nepal. Iíve been really wanting to visit Himalayan Golf Course.


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