Golf Holidays by Rail – Take the Train to the Fairway
We have put together our top ideas for bucket list golf courses that you can include on a tailor made holiday by rail. We hope you enjoy!
St Andrews – Scotland
Closest Station: Leuchars
Our first choice is the place that many consider to be the home of golf. Steeped in history, the Old Course at St Andrews was where the first rounds of golf were believed to have been played. Due to its illustrious history and hosting of many prestigious events, the Old Course is on many golfers’ bucket lists, though it is a notoriously difficult course to play. You can either stay onsite (or at one of the partner hotels) and pay in advance for your tee time or if you have some flexibility during your trip, the more cost effective option is to put your name into the ballot, which is drawn each day. If you are there for three days you are likely to play the course through this method, though it’s not guaranteed.
There are plenty of things to do whilst you are waiting for your tee time at St Andrews. There is an amazing museum across from the golf course which showcases golf through the ages as well as a well stocked gift shop and a cafe that overlooks the course on one side and the North Sea on the other.
Getting here: You can take the Caledonian Sleeper train up to Edinburgh, arriving in time for breakfast. From Edinburgh, it’s just over an hour to Leuchars on a connecting train.
Fontainebleau – France
Closest Station: Fontainebleau – Fôret
Golf de Fontainebleau is recognised as one of the most beautiful courses in France. Located in dense woodland, the course has an abundance of wildlife and plants and takes you on an adventure through nature. The narrow fairways are lined with trees of various species, and the course offers a number of rocky outcrops and punishing water hazards to navigate. Needless to say, given these attributes, accuracy is vital.
In addition to its picturesque charm, the course is also one of the oldest courses in France having been inaugurated in 1909. Furthermore, it was ranked in 2001 by the readers of the Golf European Magazine, best golf course in France, and is ranked 17th in the top 50 golf courses on the European continent by Golf World.
Getting here: Located just south of Paris, Fontainebleau is easy to get to. Depart from London on the Eurostar to Paris and after a quick change from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon, board a local train to take you down to Fontainebleau – Avon or Fôret. From the station the golf course is just 10 minutes by car.
Bro Hof – Sweden
Closest Station: Bro
Located in Upplands-Bro, about 40 minutes northwest from Sweden’s capital, Bro Hof Slott Golf Club is a 36-hole establishment designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Of the two courses, the Stadium Course opened in 2007 and is considered one of the longest golf courses in Europe at 7,357 metres (8,046 yards). The Castle Course opened in 2009 and played host to the Nordea Masters, an annual event on the PGA European Tour, from 2010 through to 2016. The exception was in 2014, when it was hosted at PGA Sweden National.
With arguably some of the best views in golf, Bro Hof is a must visit golf course for golfers looking for tranquility and a good test of their abilities. Peaceful scenery and uninterrupted views make up the landscape of this course but it is advisable to take some extra golf balls with you as there is a lot of water!
Getting here: It’s easy to travel by train from London to Sweden. The fastest option is to travel across to Paris on the Eurostar, leaving London in the morning on day one, having an overnight stop in Hamburg and arriving in Stockholm in the evening on day two. Alternatively, you can travel at a more leisurely pace departing London during the day and stopping in Brussels and Copenhagen before arriving into Stockholm around lunchtime on day three.
Valderrama – Spain
Closest Station: Algeciras
The Real Club Valderrama is one of the best known golf clubs in the world. Also known as the “Augusta of Europe” the course is a challenging 18-hole layout located in the resort of Sotogrande, a few miles from Gibraltar. Having hosted a plethora of championships including the Volvo Masters and legendary 1997 Ryder Cup (where Europe took a narrow one point victory under the captaincy of none other than Seve Ballesteros!) the course is one for any golfer’s bucket list.
The closing holes are TOUGH, but not unplayable. With sensible play these final few holes can be managed and if you are feeling confident on the 17th, the long par 5 and naturally the most memorable hole, you can toy with the idea of reaching in two or laying up for safety! Although this is an elite members course, it is open for visitors and given that the course is never overplayed it is always in great condition, so the cost of the greenfee is worth it.
Getting here: Travel to Paris by Eurostar and cross town by RER (rapid metro or taxi) to the Gare de Lyon. If you leave London early you will have time to stop for lunch at the wonderful Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon. Next you will travel from Paris Gare de Lyon around 3pm to Barcelona arriving in the evening. Stay overnight in Barcelona before continuing your journey south in the morning. Head to Antequera-Santa Ana, and make an easy change of trains before arriving at Algeciras in the early evening.
Royal Bled – Slovenia
Closest Station: Lesce-Bled
Considered one of the most beautiful courses in Europe, Royal Bled comprises an 18-hole Championship King’s Course and 9-hole Lake Course which is surrounded by the dramatic mountains and sweeping valleys of the Alps. With a strategic layout and manicured surfaces, it provides a rare opportunity to play golf in complete tranquility.
After the First World War, the then Yugoslav King Aleksander Karađorđević chose Bled as his summer residence, and the ‘Kings Course’ was built. Officially opened in 1937, after the completion of the first nine holes, the course is the oldest and largest in Slovenia.
Getting here: There are a few options to get to Slovenia and it is an easy, comfortable and safe journey by train. You can leave in the morning on the Eurostar and arrive in Ljubljana the following afternoon, after an overnight stop in Munich. Or you can take Eurostar & TGV from Paris to Zurich, then travel by overnight sleeper to the Slovenian capital.
Leopard Creek – South Africa
Leopard Creek is one of the world’s most outstanding and exclusive golfing developments, which has, since its inception in 1996, built an enviable international reputation for the quality and conditioning of its amazing estate. The stunning golf course is also an annual feature on the European Tour hosting the Alfred Dunhill Championship, attracting some of the best players in the world to come and compete.
Designed by the most iconic South African golfer of all time, Gary Player has sure created an absolute masterpiece located on the outskirts of Kruger National Park. With this ideal location, golfers can play one of the best golf courses in the country whilst exploring South Africa’s incredible wildlife, including the big 5 safari animals, within a single holiday.
Getting here: Rovos Rail have a fantastic 10-day itinerary including a luxurious train journey through South Africa along with golf at Leopard Creek, game drives, sightseeing, shopping and leisure activities. Get in touch for details and prices.