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Top 10 Golf Resorts in the World 2006

Do you like to play where you stay? Sure, there are top hotels near the world's greatest golf courses like St. Andrews and Pebble Beach. But in this list, we've compiled top golf resorts off the beaten path where you won't have to go on a long drive to start making your long drives. We sought out the perfect combination of golf courses and luxury hotels, incorporated plenty of 19th-hole pastimes, and tossed in locations that don't usually come to mind when planning a golf escape. For those who like to take their holidays off-course, this unique list should suit you to a tee.

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UNITED STATES

Bandon
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

www.bandondunesgolf.com

Links are generally—and rightfully—associated with Scotland, where these coastal dune fairways originated. But golfers traveling on the other side of the globe don't have to miss out. The rugged Oregon coast is a fair doppelganger, and the 54 holes at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort keep with tradition, using nature as their primary architect. When not playing the three courses (Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes and Bandon Trails), you can work on your swing at the 32-acre practice center, sip a single malt Scotch at McKee's Pub or unwind in one of the secluded guestrooms.

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ARGENTINA

Bariloche
Llao Llao Hotel & Resort

www.llaollao.com

Patagonia meets "par for the course" at the remote, hilltop Llao Llao Hotel & Resort. Spectacularly framed by two lakes and three mountains, the eighteen-hole golf course features centennial forests of cypress and local coiuhes trees; skillfully integrated bunkers, water hazards and greens; and a notably peaceful setting. The hotel was designed by Alejandro Bustillo, whose talents as a painter and sculptor, as well as an architect, are reflected in the building's tasteful interior décor. Along with being a unique golf retreat, the resort serves as a base for rafting and trekking eco-tours.

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CANADA

Montebello
Fairmont Le Château Montebello
www.fairmont.com/montebello

Best known for winter pursuits such as downhill skiing, Canada is equally appealing during the warmer months. Designed by Stanley Thompson in 1929, the eighteen-hole course at the Fairmont Le Château Montebello Golf Club doubles as a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Dramatic elevation changes and high-tech golf carts with GPS and ProLink electronic scoring systems highlight play in a gorgeous setting surrounded by the Laurentian Mountains. Beyond the putting greens, the resort offers spa treatments and fine dining around a six-sided stone fireplace or al fresco on the river.

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DUBAI

Dubai City
Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa
www.jaresortshotels.com

A country of superlatives, Dubai is a place where bigger is usually considered best. That's what makes Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa a pleasant anomaly. The beachfront property may be massive, incorporating two hotels on 128 acres, but the golf course is intimate. Each of its nine holes takes clever advantage of four tee choices, making it possible to play an eighteen-hole round in full view of the Arabian Gulf. The Academy of Golf is complemented by such non-greens facilities as riding stables, tennis courts, a spa and shooting club.

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FIJI

Denarau Island
The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa
www.starwoodhotels.com

Usually, tropical vacations are all about beaches and water sports. But at The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, golfers are as welcome as snorkelers and scuba divers. Guests enjoy private resort membership at the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club, whose coconut palm-bordered, par-72 course is planned around natural tidal waterways—water hazards feature on fifteen of the eighteen holes. Ensuring a top quality experience is management by Troon Golf. A sandy beach, three-tiered swimming pool, island décor and plenty of tiki torches round out your South Pacific experience.

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IRELAND

Newmarket-on-Fergus
Dromoland Castle
www.dromolandgolf.com

We bypassed old Irish favorites such as Adare Manor and Mount Juliet for this sixteenth-century castle, whose ownership boasts royal lineage. Its much newer Dromoland Golf & Country Club (1962) has been drastically re-designed to the tune of five million euros, enhancing play while maintaining classic enticements such as a castle backdrop and greens that slope into Dromoland Lough. The life of landed gentry continues off the fairways, with fishing and shooting. You may also enjoy spa treatments, and fresh local cuisine at The Earl of Thomond restaurant.

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ITALY

Savelletri di Fasano
Masseria San Domenico
www.imasseria.com

On the coast between Bari and Brindisi, Masseria San Domenico is anchored by a fifteenth-century watchtower used by the Knights of Malta. The property's eighteen-hole golf course enjoys an equally historic ambience, flanked by the fifth-century B.C. Greek colony of Egnathia and the fishing village of Savelletri. The Adriatic Sea can be seen from every tee, green and fairway on this par-72 course, which was sculpted out of the flat landscape. Because you are on the water, expect wind to play into your game. As for the sea's more calming influences, you will find them at the resort's thalassotherapy spa.

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MEXICO

San Jose del Cabo
One&Only Palmilla
www.oneandonlyresorts.com

Once a glamorous hideout for celebs such as John Wayne and Bing Crosby, this resort was reincarnated in 2004 as the One&Only Palmilla. Still known for its sophistication and excellent deep-sea fishing, it is now also a top golf destination. Jack Nicklaus designed the 27-hole course (Ocean Nine, Mountain Nine and Arroyo Nine) at the Palmilla Golf Club, which pairs Sea of Cortez views with cacti, arroyos, four lakes and challenging elevation shifts. The presence of Charlie Trotter's C restaurant adds to the resort's cachet.

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NEW ZEALAND

Matauri Bay
The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
www.kauricliffs.com

With six of its eighteen holes on cliffs that hang out over the sea, the par-72 course at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs takes advantage of the thrill factor. Inland, tamer fairways run through marsh, forest and farmland. Despite its challenging layout, the course features five sets of tees per hole for all skill levels—and a golfing complex for practicing drives and chip shots—making it suitable for beginners as well as experts. Along with golf, resort offerings include secluded outlying cottages, tennis courts, cocktail hours and views of the Pacific, Cape Brett and the Cavalli Islands.

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SPAIN

Marbella
Marbella Club Hotel Golf Resort & Spa
www.marbellaclub.com

A regal atmosphere pervades Marbella Club Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, the former residence of Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, on Andalucia’s Golden Mile. This swanky place is as exclusive now as it was when owned by royalty. Twenty minutes away, the golf course is for the use of hotel guests only. Limited play and an average thirty minutes between tee times ensures leisurely games. With their views of the Mediterranean, Gibraltar and the African coastline, the fairways are uniquely paired with stables, adding riding to off-course pastimes such as treatments in the Thalasso Spa and terrace dining on Spanish cuisine.


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