Archive for Golf

5 Most Beautiful Golf Courses on Earth

When I recently took up golf, it wasn’t for the views (as my ‘baby course’ was in LA’s less-than-spectacular San Fernando Valley). However, jaw-dropping vistas are indeed an enjoyable side effect of hitting the links.

Forget eclipse chasing… golf course trekking is probably one of the best ways to see some of the most gorgeous milieus on the planet (and quite a bit less nerdy than eclipse chasing, incidentally).

What follows is just a small handful of the most beautiful–or at the very least wanderlust-worthy golf courses in the world.

1. Assoufid Golf Resort, Marrakech

Assoufid Villas Golf Resort in Marrakech Morocco

Photo Courtesy of the Morocco Tourism Board

Assoufid is a new 18-hole world class course is famous for its epic view of the Atlas mountains. It consists of 222 hectares of pastoral splendour and is attached to 80 villas and a luxury hotel and spa.

2. Nullarbor Links, Western and Southern Australia

Nullarbor Links Golf Course Australia - Largest Golf Course in the World

When this behemoth golf course first opened back in late 2009, I remember one of my editor’s reactions to my pitch: “Too gimmicky.” Perhaps. But it sure looks like a lot of fun. Nullarbor Links is the longest golf course in the world. The 18-hole par 72 course covers a distance of 1,365 kilometres from the state of Western Australia to Southern Australia. Each hole corresponds to a participating town or roadhouse along the Eyre Highway. I supposed you had better enjoy your golf partners’ company if you’re going to embark on this road trip/golf course.

3. Himalayan Golf Course, Pokhara, Nepal

Himalayan Golf Course Nepal

This stunning pro-championship designed 9 hole golf course offers a panoramic view of the Annapuma Himalayan range that will probably slow down your game. The Himalayan Golf Course‘s club house sits atop a balcony 250 above a river canyon. With eagles, waterfalls… and of course your unstoppable moves… who could ask for more?

4. Caye Chapel Golf Resort, Belize

Caye Chapel Belize Golf Course

Twelve miles off the coast of Belize sits the golfer’s dream of Caye Chapel, one of the most private (and clearly gorgeois) courses in the world. The 18 hole championship course promises a tough game challenged by trade winds and other obstacles. Its long par 72 boasts over 7000 yards of vistas of the Carribean and the barrier reef.

5. Victoria Golf and Country Resort, Sri Lanka

Victoria Golf and Country Resort Sri Lanka

The Victoria Golf & Country Resort is nestled amidst grand Mara Rain Trees and fragrant flowering shrubs. The award-winning 18-hole course requires some level of skill to successfully navigate. But its beauty makes it worth the effort. Apparently its fourth hole is infamous for its mesmerising view from 100 feet above the fairway.

Alisal Guest Ranch and Spa in Solvang, California

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Alisal Guest Ranch and Spa in Solvang California

In ‘Sideways’ Wine Country Even City Slickers Relax at the Alisal Guest Ranch

By Shana Ting Lipton

[Originally Published on About.com/New York Times Company]

As a city slicker sleeping at a working cattle ranch for the first time, I must admit to an adjustment period on my first night at Alisal. A symphony of croaking frogs–that I had only previously known from my Sharper Image sleep/noise machine–serenaded me throughout the night. I awoke to another sound I had become so familiar with in the digital world–that of a rooster saying ‘good morning’ in his own special way.

It’s sad to say that many Angelenos like myself are so distanced from nature that it’s become something of a novelty. Thankfully, the Alisal Guest Ranch and Spa is the perfect ‘antidote to civilization’ as the commercial saying goes. Yes, it’s separate from its Danish-founded town of Solvang–which is rife with kitschy faux Danish architecture and windmills (which are technically Dutch). But the ranch allows curious urbanites to dip into the rustic side of things, one step at a time.

TV is verboten. Why would you want to watch American Idol when you can experience real Americana with a fireside sing-along, in real time? Yet, the ranch is hip and smart enough to offer wifi…a minor link to ‘civilization’ for lap-top toting Internet addicts.

This is mostly a family-friendly spot, but couples will find it plenty romantic with lots of beautiful walks, cute little nooks, and on-site ranch activities–like lakeside boat rides–and nearby wine tasting to spice things up. Ah yes, wine, something that has made the Solvang environs of the ranch world-famous in pop culture since 2004 when Paul Giamatti and Alexander Payne sought women and the perfect pinot noir in Sideways. Today, it is not uncommon to hear of a Sideways wine tour of the area.

Alisal Guest Ranch and Golf Resort in Solvang California

Photos Courtesy of Alisal Guest Ranch and Golf Resort

Alisal has its own label featuring a nice pinot noir, available at its lounges and restaurants, and also for purchase along with other ranch treats. You can buy a bag of Alisal’s pancake mix as well–the results of which you can preview at one of its hearty ranch breakfasts. Or if you’re health-conscious, the ranch’s own brand of granola can be your sojourn takeaway.

Save room in your luggage. There is plenty of fun culinary shopping in town as well as adjacent Buellton: olive and grape seed oils, hand-crafted soaps, vinegar, etc. I personally love this kind of shopping as I return to LA with the ‘spirit of Steinbeck.’

In conclusion, the Alisal is a must for LA tech/ media burnouts who need to revitalize to the sound of a running river and distant cows. Its land is virtually untouched by Hollywood. I say ‘virtually’ because of an anecdote that one of the wrangler/guides told us about its history, over an outdoor breakfast.

One of the ranch’s early owners, Raimundo Carillo is the great great great grandfather of TV western sidekick Leo Carillo of ‘50s TV show The Cisco Kid fame. Some things, like Hollywood, are hard to evade. But Alisal does a heck of a job of keeping them at [shooting] arm’s length, hombre.

Alisal Guest Ranch Resort
1054 Alisal Road
Solvang, CA 93463

Read Full Review With Rating at About.com Los Angeles

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