Golf is a beautiful game, and one of the things that make it so great are the landscapes, features, and layouts of the courses themselves. Tropical golf destinations, for their part, benefit from amazing weather, lush greenery, unique formation and, of course, the sounds and sights of the ocean, resulting in some truly unforgettable tropical golf courses. Below are some of the very best.
Big Island, Hawaii
While the US certainly has its share of famous golf courses, it’s hard to beat Hawaii if you want that tropical feel, and the Big Island especially delivers when it comes to championship courses.
Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii
Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Waikoloa Beach Course is a beautiful, Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course located on historic lava flows and featuring dramatic landscapes that overlook the Kohala Coast. Highlights include waterfalls, sand-bottomed pools, lush lawns, and even a good chance of a spotting a humpback whale!
Mauna Lani Resort
The Mauna Lani Resort is built atop the former residence of Francis I’I Brown, a world-famous golfer in the early 20th century and a former Amateur Champion in Hawaii, Japan, and California. The resort continues that winning heritage today with its north and south courses. The north course is built on a lava bed of pahoehoe and features a stunning 17th hole in a natural amphitheatre, while the south course is known for its challenge and its mountain and ocean views, as well as a 15th hole that is one of the most photographed in the world.
Where to Stay
Hale Honu in the Mauna Lani Resort promises an incredible Hawaii golf experience. You’re staying on a 36-hole, golf-oriented resort, for one, and the 4-bedroom villa comfortably sleeps up to 8 guests. The villa itself is also stunning, with its own private pool and hot tub and an authentically Hawaiian decor.
As arguably the top golf destination in the Caribbean, Punta Cana is home to several world-class championship golf courses, as well as a great variety of golf courses at multiple skill levels.
Corales Golf Course
Designed by Tom Fazio and home of the first ever PGA Tour event in the Dominican, Corales is an 18-hole beauty in the Puntacana Resort that features cliffs, coral quarries, and a privileged oceanside location.
Cocotal Golf Club
If you’re looking for a lusher course (as opposed to the more ocean oriented Corales), Cocotal is a great bet. Designed by Spanish golf champion Pepe Gancedo – nicknamed the Picasso of Golf for his inventive designs – the Cocotal Golf Club is characterized by the hundreds of coconut trees and numerous lakes that are spread out throughout the course.
Teeth of the Dog
Located in Casa de Campo and designed by Pete Dye, Teeth of the Dog is celebrated for its fantastic oceanside location, with 7 ocean side holes. Though it certainly offers a great challenge, it’s a favorite of golfers of all skill levels.
Where to Stay
There are a high number of gorgeous, fully-staffed Punta Cana villas near each of these courses, including Lake View Villa, located in the Cocotal Golf & Country Club; Corales 28, which has private beach access in the lovely Puntacana Resort; and Bahia Minitas 6 in Casa de Campo, which features stunning views, a private beach, and basketball/volleyball courts.
Barbados’ best golf courses are located on its Platinum Coast and offer the quintessential Caribbean country club golf experience.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., Royal Westmoreland is one of the finest golf courses in the Caribbean. Featuring beautiful ocean views, a healthy challenge, and a very high level of service and maintenance overall, Royal Westmoreland is consistently enjoyed by guests.
Green Monkey at Sandy Lane
Also one of the finest, and most exclusive, golf courses in the Caribbean, the Green Monkey at Sandy Lane was designed by Tom Fazio and carved from a limestone quarry. It features some truly superb and dramatic vistas, as well as rolling greens, changing elevations, and, as the name implies, the chance to encounter green monkeys on the course!
Where to Stay
Tee times for Royal Westmoreland are primarily reserved for villa rental guests, with the same being true for Sandy Lane. Thankfully, we have a good number of beautiful Barbados villa rentals available in Royal Westmoreland, including the 3-bedroom Sienna, 4-bedroom Tradewinds, and 6-bedroom Howzat; as well as the beautiful 10-bedroom Elsewhere, the 6-bedroom Moondance and the 5-bedroom Heronetta in Sandy Lane.
Montego Bay has a long heritage of being home to top-tier Caribbean country clubs, including Rose Hall, Half Moon, and the Tryall Club, each of which offers championship-level courses.
White Which Golf Course
Located in Rose Hall and designed by Robert von Hagge, White Which was carved from the historic Rose Hall plantation and is consistently ranked as one of the Caribbean’s best courses. It also has its very own mythos, with legends telling of a haunting by Annee Palmer, the plantations 19th century mistress.
Half Moon Championship Course
Home of the Red Stripe ProAm, the Robert Trent Jones Jr designed championship course of the Half Moon Golf Club is one of the most challenging, and best maintained, courses in all of Jamaica.
The Tryall Club
Not to be outdone, the Tryall Club is home to the Johnnie Walker Tournament and Jamaica’s Classic Annual, and features stunning oceanside scenery and a course that gets increasingly challenging, and rewarding, the more one plays.
Where to Stay
As with Barbados, it’s best to stay in one of these clubs to guarantee tee times. Luckily, that’s also where the best Montego Bay villas are located. The 7-bedroom Fairway Manor makes for an excellent stay in Half Moon, as does Tranquility on the Beach for the Tryall Club. Kenyan Sunset Golf Villa in Rose Hall, meanwhile, is located right on the White Witch Course and features direct access to the 4th tee (and, unlike the course itself possibly, is not haunted).
As one of the most private and exclusive destinations in Mexico, Punta Mita is also home to one of Mexico’s finest, and most coveted, golf courses.
Punta Mita’s Nicklaus-designed Pacifico championship course, located in the Four Seasons Resort, is so well regarded that shortly after opening, it led Conde Nast readers to vote Punta Mita as the #1 golf course in 2006 and 2008. It features the world’s only natural island green in the world on its optional Jack Nicklaus-designed 19th hole, the “Tail of the Whale.”
Where to Stay
Casa Wirikuta is a breathtaking 7-bedroom villa with unmatched views of Banderas Bay, expertly appointed furnishings, a temperature adjusted infinity pool, and outside living areas that need to be seen to be believed. If you need something a little smaller, Casa Khaleesi in the Four Seasons resort offers the perfect way to enjoy both the privacy of a Punta Mita villa and all the amenities of the resort itself.
Located in Guanacaste, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Peninsula Papagayo is home to beautiful landscapes, exciting wildlife, and, of course, great golf.
Peninsula Papagayo is also home to the Arnold Palmer designed Ocean Course. Overlooking Bahia de Culebra, it features challenging elevation changes, stunning ocean views, and even monkey chatter in the distance. It’s consistently ranked as one of the top 100 golf courses outside the US by Golf Digest, and features two ~550 yard holes, as well a 600 yarder.
Where to Stay
Cielomar is a beautiful 6-bedroom villa that sits atop a 300 ft promontory overlooking Prieta Beach, with an infinity pool dramatically cut into the edge of the cliff and a bridge atop offering soaring, unparalleled views. Seacliff Point, meanwhile, is a 4-bedroom Peninsula Papagayo villa with lovely ocean views and private access to Secret Beach.
Cabo del Sol
Cabo San Lucas is home to many great courses and country clubs, as well as a gorgeous mix of mountain and sea that makes its courses unforgettable.
Cove Club Course
The crown jewel of Cabos San Lucas is the Jack Nicklaus designed Cove Club course (formerly known as the Ocean Course) in Cabo Del Sol. Featuring mountain, sea, and desert landscapes, this course is famous for its varied landscapes.
On that note, Cabo del Sol is also home to the Desert Course, which features unique desert landscapes and a Tom Weiskopf design. It also offers a great challenge and unforgettable views.
Where to Stay
The Cove Club course is private, so if you want to play on either course, your best bet is to rent a Cabo del Sol villa that gives you access. Villa Buena Vida is one such villa and features breathtaking ocean views from nearly every room, a cascading pool amid a large outdoor area, tasteful artwork throughout, and a kid’s bedroom that allows the villa to sleep up to 14.
Where to Find More Luxury Golf Villas
Rental Escapes has the best selection of beautiful golf villas in these and other tropical golf destinations. Contact us today and your villa rental specialist can find the perfect golf villa for you and your group so you can enjoy the ultimate tropical golf holiday, and your concierge will be able to help arrange tee times for these and other tropical golf courses, as well as arrange staff, pre-stocking, excursions, transfers, and much more!