International golf courses worth getting a passport for to experience

There are a lot of great links courses to discover in Ireland, but the most unique and spectacular setting is at Old Head Golf Links. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
It's rare a C.B. Macdonald course design is open to the public. At Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda, guests can play at this 1920s masterpiece on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
The golf course fashioned into the dramatic topography by Tom Doak at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand is remarkable. (Courtesy of Cape Kidnappers)
The par-3 seventh is one of more than a half dozen holes directly on the ocean on the Teeth of the Dog Course at Casa de Campo. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)
The Old Course's 18th hole can vary greatly depending on the wind. It can be drivable, or the Granny Clark's Wynd can come into play. (Brandon Tucker/
The seventh green on the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol is built into a sand dune near the beach. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor)
Links golf in Australia can be found on the courses around sandy Melbourne at historic plays such as Royal Melbourne. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
Playing the Extreme 19th hole at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort in South Africa is one of golf's most thrilling experiences. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
Wales' Pennard Golf Club is a famously rugged, old-world links with dazzling clifftop views. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
The jewel of continental Europe, Valderrama Golf Club is a tight walk through cork forests to tiny, well-guarded greens. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
Jasper Park's par-3 ninth hole, nicknamed "Cleopatra" by architect Stanley Thompson, with Pyramid mountain in the distance. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
The service levels at Thailand golf clubs are off the charts and worth the trip alone. They include friendly, knowledgeable (and remarkably affordable) caddies. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor )
Royal Dar es Salam Golf Club, hosts the King Hassan Trophy in Morocco's Capital of Rabat. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
St. Enodoc's Golf Club's Church Course overlooks Padstow and the Camel Estuary. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
Two wonderful Mediterranean golf courses in Greece can be found at Costa Navarino. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
Australia's tallest lighthouse towers over the closing stretch of Cape Wickham, including the 17th hole. (Courtesy of Cape Wickham )
If you're willing to travel to the far corners of the world for Coore-Crenshaw, then Lost Farm, on Australia's island of Tasmania, is calling. (Courtesy of Lost Farm/Facebook)
Playing on the edge of Kruger National Park, Leopard Creek Country Club in South Africa provides the opportunity to see amazing wildlife like these two hippos in the Crocodile River. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The 16th hole provides a magical moment on the Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club in southwest Ireland. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor)
The first tee of the White Witch Golf Course overlooks an incredible par 5 and the Caribbean Sea. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor)
Whistling Rock Country Club in South Korea offers a unique experience with female caddies controlling driverless golf carts and elaborate teahouses that sell drinks and snacks in the middle of each nine. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
Quivira Golf Club in Los Cabos, Mexico, treats golfers to visually stunning holes on seaside cliffs and over sand dunes, along with comfort stations that cook up all-inclusive fresh food and drinks. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor)
The Sandals Emerald Reef Golf Club hugs the shores of the appropriately named Emerald Bay on Great Exuma island in the Bahamas. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The sixth hole provides the magic moment on the La Mer Course at Omaha Beach Golf Club in Normandy, France. There's a World War II bunker and memorial next to the green. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
On Cape Breton Island, spectacular Cabot Cliffs has emerged as perhaps the most coveted round of golf in Canada. (Matt Ginella/Golf Advisor)
A 14th-century castle is visible from most points of the Golf Resort Karlstejn course in the Czech Republic. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
Malaysia's Saujana Bunga Raya golf course is one of the country's top courses near Kuala Lumpur. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
Lee Westwood of England tees off on the 14th during day one of the 2017 Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club on September 7, 2017 in Crans-Montana. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Our European and Canadian friends remind us often about this: far to few Americans have passports that affords access to international travel. Allow me to defend my fellow citizens though: A German can travel six hours by car and be in about a dozen different countries. In parts of Texas, I could travel six hours by car and still be in Texas.

Not only that, let's toot the U.S.'s horn a little bit: Is there a more ecologically diverse and beautiful country in the world? Hard to believe so. We've got desert golf, mountain golf, tropical golf and even a small collection of pure links that can compete with Scotland and Ireland.

It can be an arduous endeavor to travel abroad for the first time. Not only do you need the right paperwork, but itineraries get trickier. Making sure you have enough layover time in airports for customs and transfers, and also ensuring your hotels are booked for the right days (you lose a day going to Europe, two going to Asia), plus language and monetary issues are all barriers.


Despite the fact the U.S. has probably the deepest roster of must-play courses of any country in the world, there are certainly golf courses worth traveling beyond our borders for.

The Golf Advisor staff has compiled some of the most unique experiences worth enduring all the travails of international travel for. What's your most coveted international golf destination? Let us know in the comments below.

Sep 11, 2017

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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.

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