Kiawah Island

South Carolina

The biggest teeth on Kiawah Island belong to the 600 alligators in its fresh-water marshes. They grow up to 14 feet long, but as far as we know only one golfer has been bitten, and that was because he tried to catch one. Bad move, but he lived. A better game is found among the 90 holes of golf at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which features the five-star Sanctuary Hotel, spa, tennis, bars and restaurants, and historic Charleston just 25 miles away. Kiawah’s magnificent Ocean Course has hosted both the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship, while the newly renovated Cougar Point, designed by Gary Player, is one of SC’s gems, running alongside the Kiawah River. Wide landing areas make this a great proposition for all golfers, but if your ball does hit the river we’d advise not jumping in after it.

Torrey Pines

California

Just outside la jolla and dotted with the the rare and idigenous trees for which the club is named, the golfers of San Diego enjoy a special relationship with Torrey Pines. The South Course hosted the U.S. Open in 2008 (the one Tiger won with a broken leg) and it regularly hosts the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open, yet locals can get on for rates starting at only $38. Thirty eight dollars for a U.S. Open track? Get me a realitor. If you can find a major venue in the US that charges less let us know. Non-resident rates on the South Course at Torrey Pines start at $116, but pictured here is the spectacular North Course, on which rates start from $74 for non-residents. That is still a snip when your golf comes with views over the Pacific like this.

The Abaco Club

Bahamas

The first four holes of the championship course at the Abaco Club run alongside a two-mile stretch of white sand on the often deserted beach of Winding Bay; and you get used to solitary splendour on the Bahamian outpost of Great Abaco. Despite being undeniably one of the very finest tropical island courses to which you can sail, it is never crowded here. That’s just how they roll. The mahi mahi fishing off these shores is also world-class if the temptation to drop a line takes you, or there is tennis, a spa and a full range of other watersports. Accommodation at the Abaco Club comes in the shape of one-room octagonal cabanas, then moves up to more spacious cottages and through to impressive estate homes.

Cape Kidnappers

New Zealand

Wherever you are in New Zealand, you won’t be more than 80 miles from the sea. The pair of elongated main islands feature 9,400 miles of coastline, which are decorated by some of the world’s most dramatic courses, like Cape Kidnappers. Perched on the east coast of the Bay of Plenty, halfway down the North Island, Cape Kidnappers offers limited yet exquisite lodges and a spa, while the ultimate Kiwi two-stop tour might bring in Kidnapper’s sister property further north, Kauri Cliffs. If time is short, book a helicopter to transfer. The “land of the long white cloud”—the translation of the Maori name of Aotearoa—has 400 courses; more per capita than anywhere else in the world.

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