With the first recorded round of golf taking place in Edinburgh in around 1456, Brits have a deep and long-lived passion for this sport.  At first glance, the idea of a golf lover taking a cruise appears to be the strangest of matches – however look a little deeper and the opportunities a golf cruise offers become clear.

After their careers have wound down and the children have flown the nest, many people find a renewed vigour to try new activities, or improve their abilities with existing ones – some even look to up the ante and go for an adrenaline hit through adventure sports such as heli skiing. If your sport of choice is something a little more grounded but the idea of new experiences excites you, then perhaps joining the growing number of people going on golf cruises could be the answer. It could be a great opportunity to experience your sport in some magnificent settings and see a little more of what the world has to offer.

Increasing options for golf cruises

Golf and Cruising Combined

Along with escaping the miserable British winter, you could also improve your golf technique, meet new, like-minded people and visit some stunning, world renowned courses – all from the comfort of a luxurious liner and whilst your every whim is being catered for. The rise in specialist golf cruises is a relatively recent phenomenon; however there has also been a more general increase in specialist cruises as well. Now, it would seem there is a cruise designed to cater for a wide variety of hobbies and interests. Art cruises, writing breaks, culinary expeditions to name but a few. To match this demand there is a growing group of specialist holiday companies, such as Iglu cruise, who will be able to match your holiday preferences to a cruise and offer golfing trips for amateurs and professionals alike.

Top notch coaching on-board

Reassuringly, no matter whether you are a relative novice or consider yourself a bit of a pro, booking a golf cruise will be sure to improve your abilities out on the green. Many of the top golf cruise liners have a resident PGA accredited instructor on board, whom you can book up lessons with for that all-important extra advice and coaching. They also offer seminars and group sessions to help improve your technique. If the idea of the days at sea travelling between stop-offs with only the sea in sight makes you slightly twitchy, then plump for one of the cruises that also has state-of-the-art golf simulators to let you practise to your heart’s content before reaching your next location. By the time you reach your next port you should be able to truly enjoy the magnificent golf courses on offer.

Wailsea Gold Course Hawaii

Wailea Gold Golf Course in Maui, Hawaii

As cruises have grown in popularity, arguably, so have the levels of refinement. Dining is one of the integral parts of any cruise holiday and many of those on offer today have incredibly high standards. You will have the option of a variety of exquisite dining options, at times that suit you and be able to eat with whom you choose – it’s a whole lot less stuffy than the image of cruises suggests. If you are worried about the length of time on-board between destinations then fear not, as the facilities offered by most cruise liners are impeccable. Had enough of golf for a while? Then take advantage of the variety of activities that these holidays offer, learn a new culinary skill, visit the five star spa or simply kick back and relax for a while.

Half Moon Bay Golf Links San Francisco

Half Moon Bay Golf Links, California

Set out your priorities

So, what should you think about when considering a golf cruise? Initially the two big factors to consider are how long the cruise will be and where in the world you would like to travel. One of the best things about a golf cruise is that you can easily stay closer to home whilst still visiting some inspiring courses; visiting the Mediterranean, for example, offers an abundance of high quality courses.

Oceanico Victoria Golf Course Portugal

Oceanico Victoria (host of the Portugal Masters since 2007) Algarve, Portugal

However, if you prefer to venture further afield, then the Caribbean, USA (especially the Californian and Florida coastlines), Australia or New Zealand all have a range of visually breathtaking, technically challenging courses to offer, combined with travel on first class ships. Once you have your destination and cruise length decided, you just need to decide how much golf you’re after. Check out what other activities are on offer that you might be keen to be involved in.

El Campron Golf Course Mission Inn Resort & Club Howey in the Hills Florida

El Campeon Golf Course Mission Inn Resort Club, Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida

Looking through the options it will soon become clear that different cruise operators have access to different golf courses, and your itinerary or cruise operator may be decided for you if there are particular courses you want to take in. Sounding like something you’d like to sample. Well, the top tip to make sure your golfing cruise lives up to your exacting expectations is to get researching.  There are lots of cruises to choose from so make sure that you come back from yours with not only a better swing but also an experience to remember.

By Annie Elleson


Tuesday, January 21st, 2014