Golf Courses & Resorts

Head For Lower Temperatures At These International Summer Golf Destinations

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If you recall our tip from last week, we provided some ideas for heat-beating summer golf travel options in the United States.

We based these picks on a couple general strategies. The first: to Go Uphill – head for higher elevations to level off the oppressive heat and humidity.

The second: Go North – use the latitudes to get yourself into more pleasant climates for summer golf.

This week, we’re adding a third strategy: Go South…Way South – if you’re sick of summer and have a yen for long-distance travel, flipping hemispheres might do the trick.

So without further ado, let’s talk about some cooler-weather international summer golf destinations…

Go Uphill

The Canadian Rockies – Some of the best alpine views in the Americas can be found in the mountainous regions of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. In Alberta, two classic courses at old-time resorts take center-stage: Banff Springs and Jasper Park. Banff lies within a national park of the same name, about 90 minutes west of – and about a thousand feet higher than – the Albertan city of Calgary. Jasper Park is about 180 miles farther north and west, in a national park of its own. Both courses were designed by famed Canadian architect Stanley Thompson, and rank among the best courses in the country.

Banff Springs Golf Course (Play Golf Alberta)

Banff Springs Golf Course (Play Golf Alberta)

  • Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Nicklaus North Golf Clubs – Whistler, B.C.
  • Silvertip Golf Course/Canmore Golf & Curling Club/Stewart Creek Golf Club – Canmore, Alb.
  • Big Sky Golf Club – Pemberton, B.C.
  • Westin Bear Mountain Resort – Victoria, B.C.

Quebec Mountains – With some of eastern North America’s best skiing at Mont Tremblant, this area is beloved by winter travelers as well as golfers looking to flee the summer swelter at lower elevations. Five courses – Le Maître, Le Géant, Le Diable, La Bête and Golf Manitou – weave through mountain forests.

Scottish Highlands – Scotland’s coastline has been well-documented by us and others as a hotbed of summer golf possibilities, but what about its inland, upland regions? If you’re keen to take the road less traveled and head inland in Scotland, here are some courses to take note of:

Spey Valley Golf Club (Visit Aviemore)

Spey Valley Golf Club (Visit Aviemore)

  • Newtonmore Golf Club – Newtonmore
  • Spey Valley Golf Club – Aviemore
  • Ballater Golf Club – Ballater
  • Boat of Garten Golf and Tennis Club – Boat of Garten
  • Thornhill Golf Club – Thornhill

The Alps – Encompassing parts of Switzerland, France, Austria and northern Italy, this region is world-renowned for its skiing, but for Europeans seeking relief from their own hot summers, it has become a sneaky-strong region for golf, as well. If you’re looking for some mountain golf in Europe, check out these places:

(Evian Golf Resort)

(Evian Golf Resort)

  • Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre – Crans-Montana, Switzerland
  • Evian Resort Golf Club – Evian-les-Bains, France
  • Golf Club Chamonix – Chamonix, France
  • Golf Eichenheim – Kitzbühel, Austria
  • Golf Club Achensee – Pertisau, Austria
  • Asolo Golf Club – Cavaso del Tomba, Italy

Go North

Canadian Shield – North of Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, lies the Canadian Shield, a massive complex of rock outcroppings (some of the oldest on Earth). This area used to be home to some of the planet’s highest mountains, but millions upon millions of years of weathering have worn them down to mere hills. Still, this region provides a great refuge from the summer heat, especially for Torontonians. Here’s where you should look to play in and around this area:

(Muskoka Bay Resort)

(Muskoka Bay Resort)

  • Muskoka Bay Resort – Gravenhurst
  • Taboo Resort – Gravenhurst
  • The Rock Golf Course – Minett
  • Rocky Crest Resort – MacTier
  • Bigwin Island Golf Club – Baysville
  • Deerhurst Resort – Huntsville

Okanagan Valley – Central British Columbia has gained in reputation in recent years, not just as a golf destination but as a winemaking region as well. Think of it as Canada’s answer to Napa and Sonoma Counties in California. Here are the golf courses to be aware of in this region:

(Tobiano Golf Course)

(Tobiano Golf Course)

  • Fairview Mountain Golf Club – Oliver
  • Tobiano Golf Course – Kamloops
  • Quaaout Lodge/Talking Rock Golf Club – Chase
  • Predator Ridge Resort – Vernon

The Maritimes – Eastern Canada’s smaller provinces may be a fraction of the size of the others, but they punch above their weight in terms of great summertime golf experiences. The best of them all, in our opinion, is at Cabot Links up on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. Between the original Rod Whitman Course and the off-the-charts-awesome Cabot Cliffs course by Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw, this is a bucket-list golf destination.

Here are some other great ones in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and New Brunswick:

(Humber Valley Resort)

(Humber Valley Resort)

  • Cape Breton Highlands Links – Ingonish, Nova Scotia
  • Fox Harb’r Resort – Wallace, Nova Scotia
  • The Links at Crowbush Cove – Morell, P.E.I.
  • Green Gables Golf Course – Hunter River, P.E.I.
  • Humber Valley Resort – Humber Valley, Newfoundland
  • The Algonquin Resort – St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, N.B.
  • Kingswood Lodge – Fredericton, N.B.

Northern Scotland 

Coastal Scotland’s excellence as a summer golf destination has been well documented. It’s already at considerably north latitude, but if you’re looking for a virtual guarantee of cooler summer temperatures (we’re talking sweater weather), head for Aberdeen, Dornoch and points north on the Auld Sod. Such as…

(Castle Stuart Golf Links)

(Castle Stuart Golf Links)

  • Nairn Golf Club – Nairn
  • Castle Stuart Golf Links – Inverness
  • Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club – Fortrose
  • Royal Dornoch Golf Club – Dornoch
  • Brora Golf Club – Brora
  • Wick Golf Club – Wick
  • Durness Golf Club – Durness

Scandinavia

Scandinavia doesn’t come to mind as a golf destination, but with players like Henrik Stenson and Thomas Bjorn on the men’s side and Annika Sorenstam and Suzann Pettersen on the women’s side, it is clear there is a strong golf culture in far northern Continental Europe. Plus, it’s one of the only places on Earth where you can play round-the-clock golf in the summertime, especially in surprisingly golf-mad Iceland. Here’s a quick list of Scandinavian courses to pique your curiosity:

There's spectacularly scenic golf, and then there's Lofoten (Jacob Sjoman)

Lofoten Links (Jacob Sjoman)

  • Royal Copenhagen Golf Club – Copenhagen, Denmark
  • The Scandinavian Golf Club – Farum, Denmark
  • Fano Golf Links – Fano, Denmark
  • Falsterbo Golf Club – Falsterbo, Sweden
  • Barsebäck Resort – Barsebäck, Sweden
  • PGA National of Sweden – Bara, Sweden
  • Bjaavann Golfclub – Kristiansand, Norway
  • Lofoten Links – Gimsøysand, Norway
  • Linna Golf – Harviala Hämeenlinna, Finland
  • Paltamo Golf – Paltamo, Finland
  • Kytäjä Golf – Hyvinkää, Finland
  • Akureyri Golf Club – Akureyri, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Golf Club – Grafarholt and Korpa, Iceland

Go South…Way South

Not to state the obvious, but summer in the Northern Hemisphere means “winter” in the Southern Hemisphere. But due to the geography of a lot of that other side of the world, “winter” there is quite mild, and even potentially ideal for a golf trip. Here are a few places I mean:

Australia – The “winter” weather Down Under is, broadly speaking, pretty darn good. Melbourne, home to Australia’s very best collection of courses, boasts average July and August highs of 56 and 59 degrees, respectively. Perfect “sweater weather,” as we see it. Other golf hotbeds, like Adelaide (60 and 62 degrees), Sydney (63 and 66), Perth (65 and 66) and Brisbane (71 and 74) tend to be a little warmer. Here are some golf suggestions in these areas:

(St. Andrews Beach Golf Links)

(St. Andrews Beach Golf Links)

  • Royal Melbourne Golf Club – Melbourne, Victoria
  • St. Andrews Beach – Fingal, Victoria
  • Royal Adelaide Golf Club – Adelaide, South Australia
  • The Grange Golf Club – Adelaide, South Australia
  • New South Wales Golf Club – Sydney, New South Wales
  • The Lakes Golf Club – Sydney, New South Wales
  • Joondalup Resort – Joondalup (near Perth), Western Australia
  • The Links Kennedy Bay – Port Kennedy (near Perth), Western Australia
  • Royal Queensland Golf Club – Brisbane, Queensland
  • Indooroopilly Golf Club – Brisbane, Queensland
  • Hope Island Resort – Hope Island (Gold Coast), Queensland

South Africa – Though many adventurous golfers will visit South Africa during Northern Hemisphere winters – golf-and-safari trips are becoming ever more popular – mid-year may not be a bad time to visit, either, as you’re likely to get milder weather in places like George, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Here are some golf options in these areas:

(Fancourt Estate)

(Fancourt Estate)

  • Fancourt Estate – George
  • Oubaai Golf Resort & Spa – George
  • Pinnacle Point Golf Club – Mossel Bay (near George)
  • Steenberg Estate – Cape Town
  • Royal Cape Golf Club – Cape Town
  • Copperleaf, The Els Club – Johannesburg
  • Blue Valley Golf Estate – Johannesburg

South America – Some of the coldest Southern Hemisphere winter weather can be found here, as well as some of the warmest, given South America’s massive north-south expanse from Argentina’s Patagonia region up to the southern end of the Caribbean Sea and Columbia. But there are golf opportunities on the continent, too – even during the cooler times of the year:

Brazil's Olympic Golf Course (Confederação Brasileira de Golfe)

Brazil’s Olympic Golf Course (Confederação Brasileira de Golfe)

  • Carmelo Golf Club – Carmelo, Uruguay
  • Belém Novo Golf Club – Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • Olympic Golf Course – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Gavea Golf Club – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Hacienda Santa Martina – Santiago, Chile
  • Club de Golf Valle Escondido – Santiago, Chile

Where might you be heading off to this summer? Tell us in the comments below!

10 Comments

  1. Mike Hope

    May 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    One other advantage of playing Summer golf in northern Scotland (Aberdeen, Dornoch etc), is that it stays light, well into the evening. If it’s been a sunny day, it’s possible to tee off at 8.00 pm and still get a full round in, as it doesn’t get fully dark till nearly midnight. Yes, it will be cool at that time of the day, however, for golf nuts, wishing to play multiple rounds per day, this is the place to do it, especially if you’re playing less well known courses, where the pace of play will usually be excellent (3 1/2 hrs for a four-ball).

  2. Lineangle

    May 2, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, not Calgary.

  3. Tim Gavrich

    May 2, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Lineangle–
    D’oh! My bad; I’ve made the correction. Thanks!
    –Tim

  4. jake littlehales

    May 2, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    better do some homework on the Rockies…..banff,jasper are cloe together but nicklaus north, chateau whistler are
    700 miles away

  5. Tim Gavrich

    May 2, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Jake–
    Not meaning to imply Whistler is close to Banff and Jasper; more meaning to illustrate that all are part of the Canadian Rockies.
    Best,
    –Tim

  6. Brad K

    May 2, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    That cannot be a picture of St. Andrews Beach Golf Links in Australia. Maybe the Castle Course at St. Andrews, Scotland……………………..

  7. Louis Roren

    May 3, 2017 at 5:11 am

    OOOPS, your photo illustration to Australia/St Andrews Beach is actually from the Castle Course in St Andrews, Scotland, showing the city in the background!

  8. Tim Gavrich

    May 3, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Louis (and Brad)–
    Thanks; we’ve updated the photo.
    –Tim

  9. Michael

    May 4, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    That photo is absolutely St Andrews beach in the Mornington Peninsula I have played it 10 Times it is a beast.Other great courses in this region are The Dunes and The National 54 holes of heaven or hell depending on how you play.As I live in Sydney I always go to Melbourne to play the best place in Aus.
    Happy to offer any suggestions for anyone who wishes to come down under.
    Went to BC last year Silvertip, Stewart Creek and Tobiano are awesome.
    Happy golfing!

  10. Tim Gavrich

    May 5, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Michael–
    Thanks for the comment. You’re right – the current image is of St. Andrews Beach.
    Best,
    –Tim

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