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Golf Meccas (Illustration by Jori Bolton)

Golf Meccas

(Illustration by Jori Bolton)

Courses: Ultimate golf trips Add to ...

ASIA

The Lake Course at Spring City - Yunnan Province, China

Lake Course

Despite strict rules governing the construction of golf courses in China, the sport continues to flourish as more and more people pick up clubs. Neighbouring Japan is surprisingly home to over 2,300 golf courses, proving that golf ’s popularity in Asia is truly a phenomenon. With the boom of hundreds of new courses cropping up throughout China in the last ten years, it might seem like the countless courses share characteristics with flimsy made-in-China mass produced goods, but the appreciation for great golfing experiences is at the heart of the construction and can especially be seen in the beautiful craftsmanship of Spring City’s Lake Course and sister Mountain Course. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. in 1998, the Lake Course has amassed an impressive roster of accolades in its short history, including being listed as the best course in China, among the best of Asia, and among the best non-US courses.

SOUTH ASIA

Aamby Valley - India

Aamby Valley

As a developing nation, expectations for the jetsetter (or jet-fantasizer) tend to hang lower for India. One might assume that golf courses here may be less stately and more utilitarian in a country that can more easily be pictured as Slumdog Millionaire than Bagger Vance. As always though, assumptions have a great way of being proven wrong, as evidenced by Aamby Valley’s outstanding posture in the world of Asian and international golf. Designed by David Hemstock as the centrepiece for India’s first planned community, Aamby’s 250 acres 2,700 feet above sea level provide a gold standard for golf in the region, having won multiple awards for its maintenance and design – a design that has character and isn’t always an easy play. On the selection of Aamby Valley as one of the top golf destinations in the world, CEO Vivek Kumar told the Times of India simply that "it is a very satisfying feeling when one puts immense efforts to create the best and receives recognition for the same."

OCEANIA

The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, West Course - Australia

Royal Melbourne

The Royal Melbourne’s West course represents an impressive amount of history. From the Club’s founding in 1891, it has striven for greatness in the sport, overcoming the obstacles of relocating early in its history. The famous West Course, a critical darling that has landed on all of the best-of lists, wasn’t completed for play until the club was entering its fifth decade. The course was designed by Britain’s Alister MacKenzie, whose masterful use of camouflage makes for a delightfully difficult game. Drawing inspiration from the Old Course at St Andrew’s, the course tests the wits of the player by providing multiple options by which to move forward, but none that won’t beguile. While Royal Melbourne is a private club, they do accept visitors who belong to a selection of other clubs from overseas, so be sure to plan ahead by speaking to an appropriate representative both in Canada and Australia.

SOUTH AMERICA

Sao Fernando Golf Club - Brazil

Sao Fernando Golf Club

Our first stop jumps right outside what many of us might consider golf ’s comfort zone in the English-speaking world. Brazil has done a great job embracing the expansion of the sport over the last few decades. A perfect example of Brazil’s ability to balance both the trappings of modern developed life with wild expanses of nature, Sao Fernando rests at the edge of Sao Paulo’s sprawling skyscraper jungle facing out into the undeveloped countryside. With its impeccably groomed greens and ten lakes that dot the diverse course a golfer can ease into the relaxed Brazilian atmosphere while enjoying outstanding links that have seen many of South America’s biggest golf stars pass through. It’s no wonder Sao Fernando just finished hosting the Brazil Open for the second consecutive year. Access is restricted to members and their guests, so befriending a local golfer ahead of time may be your only way to play through this course – but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? Quick Facts... Brazil, a nation who's upper and middle classes have long enjoyed country club life, has been home to South America's growing love for the sport. Along with Argentina, Brazil has produced many of its own national golf superstars and Brazil has held a national open since 1945. ...The tropical nation's love for the sport makes it a fitting stage for golf's return to the Olympic program. After over a century of absence golf's professionals will become Olympians in contention for the gold when the world descends on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 games.

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