Continental Europe

Golf Courses in Continental Europe

4,003 golf courses

The Dutch like to claim that they invented the game, but their colf was played on the ice, and while it may have provided some inspiration, the Scots are the ones who created what we know as golf nearly 500 years ago. The new sport spread fairly quickly to Britain and Ireland, and was taken by the Brits to their imperial outposts, but it was relatively slower to take root on mainland Europe, with the first course, at the Pau Golf Club at Billère in the south of France, opening in 1856.

Continental Europeans have made up for lost time over the past 150 years, though, and today thousands of courses serve millions of players from Portugal and Norway to Finland and Ukraine. Germany and France are the leaders, each with some half million players and 700 or more courses, but the game is also very popular in Spain and, a bit surprisingly given the climate, Sweden. It is by contrast the warm weather that has made Spain's Costa Brava and Costa del Sol, and also Portugal's Algarve, major golf destinations, not the least for golf-starved Scandinavians during the winter. Some of the smaller countries also share a passion for the game; there are over 150 courses open for play in Austria, over 200 in the Netherlands and half a dozen in tiny Luxembourg. Among the standouts are Portugal's Monte Rei and Oitavos Dunes, Spain's Valderrama Golf Club and PGA Catalunya, Sweden's Bro Hof Slott, France's Les Bordes and Morfontaine, Germany's St. Leo Rot Golf Club and Bulgaria's Thracian Cliffs Golf Resort (known as the Pebble Beach of Europe.

An enormous variety of golf experiences are in fact to be had in mainland Europe, from the aforementioned balmy climes of Spain and Portugal, as well as the south of France, to the snow-capped Alps and Iceland, where the game can be played 24 hours during the "midnight sun" of the summertime. Urban golf is to be found in such great cities as Lisbon and Paris, and secluded courses in the German countryside. Players can enjoy classic layouts by the old masters, the latest modern designs, and everything in between.

The Continent has of course produced outstanding players and continues to do so. There are simply too many to mention, but most short lists would probably include Spain's Severiano Ballesteros, scion of a family of golfers and a World Number One player, was one of the sport's leading figures from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s; his countrymen José María Olazábal and Sergio García also deserve mention. Notable Germans include Bernhard Langer, two-time Masters champion and a major player throughout the 1980s and 1990s, being the game's first official number one player in 1986, who in his fifties established himself as one of the most successful players on the Champions Tour and a winner of five senior championships, as well as Martin Kaymer. The top Swedish players have been Henrik Stenson and Annika Sörenstam; the latter is perhaps the best woman to ever play the game, having racked up 10 major championships and $22 million in earnings during her 16-year professional career. In addition, many prestigious tournaments take place on Continental soil, in particular the "national opens" hosted by France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The status of Continental golf was firmly established in 1979, when the Ryder Cup for the first time included European players in addition to those from Great Britain, Ireland and the US, and reaffirmed in 1997, when the Ryder was held at Spain's Valderrama Golf Club. Going forward, the Ryder will be played in Paris in 2018 at Golf National and Rome in 2022 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, which should have a major impact on the development of the game in those countries.

Mention can also be made of Turkey, though it is not usually considered a Middle Eastern country; there are at present 18 courses here, concentrated in the coastal Belek region, some of which have been designed by such top architects as Nick Faldo, David Feherty, Perry Dye and Colin Montgomerie. The latter's 18-hole Parkland at Montgomerie Maxx Royal is particularly well regarded and hosts the European Tour Final Series Turkish Airlines Open.

Growth of the game in mainland Europe shows no sign of abating: more than 150 courses are either in the planning stages or being built. Nearly half of these new courses are associated with resorts or real estate developments, and destination golf is a growing part of the market here, with particularly vigorous growth on the sunny Mediterranean coastline. The current trend in Europe is toward short, 6-, 9- or 12-hole courses that are fun for the whole family and additionally demand fewer resources. The relatively stable economy that the EU is currently enjoying will only contribute to further expansion of destination golf. Interest in the game is also spreading in former Eastern Bloc countries; there are 20 courses and many more planned in Russia itself, more than 100 in Czech Republic, some 35 in Poland, 6 in the Ukraine and one has even been opened in Belarus.


Top golf countries in Continental Europe

Discover the best countries for golf in Continental Europe

Germany Flag
Germany
755 courses
755 courses
Top 50 courses
4 destinations
France Flag
France
618 courses
618 courses
Top 50 courses
5 destinations
Sweden Flag
Sweden
486 courses
486 courses
Top 15 courses
2 destinations
Spain Flag
Spain
424 courses
424 courses
Top 50 courses
7 destinations
Italy Flag
Italy
306 courses
306 courses
Top 25 courses
4 destinations
Netherlands Flag
Netherlands
217 courses
217 courses
Top 20 courses
1 destination
Denmark Flag
Denmark
182 courses
182 courses
Top 15 courses
1 destination
Austria Flag
Austria
156 courses
156 courses
Top 15 courses
1 destination
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Top golf destinations in Continental Europe

Our selection of the best golf destinations in Continental Europe

Explore the best golf courses in
Normandy
30 golf courses
Explore the best golf courses in
Algarve
25 golf courses
Explore the best golf courses in
Hamburg
21 golf courses
Explore the best golf courses in
Andalucía
20 golf courses
Explore the best golf courses in
Paris
17 golf courses
Explore the best golf courses in
Madrid
16 golf courses
Explore the best golf courses in
Lisbon Golf Coast
15 golf courses
Explore the best golf courses in
Côte d'Azur & Provence
14 golf courses
See all 33
See all 33

Top 100 golf courses in Continental Europe

The All Square ranking of the best golf courses in Continental Europe

#1
Overview of golf course named Golf Club Les Bordes

Golf Club Les Bordes

Saint-Laurent-Nouan, France
5.0
Fabulous17 Reviews
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57 played here
#2
Overview of golf course named Morfontaine Golf Club

Morfontaine Golf Club

Mortefontaine, France
4.9
Fabulous11 Reviews
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43 played here
#3
Overview of golf course named Real Club Valderrama

Real Club Valderrama

Sotogrande, Spain
4.8
Fabulous35 Reviews
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105 played here
#4
Overview of golf course named Noordwijkse Golfclub

Noordwijkse Golfclub

AL Noordwijk, Netherlands
5.0
Fabulous5 Reviews
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9 played here
#5
Overview of golf course named PGA Catalunya Resort - Stadium Course

PGA Catalunya Resort - Stadium Course

Girona, Spain
4.9
Fabulous41 Reviews
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135 played here
#6
Overview of golf course named Golf de Chantilly

Golf de Chantilly

Vineuil Saint Firmin, France
4.8
Fabulous12 Reviews
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36 played here
#7
Overview of golf course named Koninklijke Haagsche Golf and Country Club

Koninklijke Haagsche Golf and Country Club

EC Wassenaar, Netherlands
5.0
Fabulous3 Reviews
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5 played here
#8
Overview of golf course named Kennemer Golf and Country Club

Kennemer Golf and Country Club

ZANDVOORT, Netherlands
4.5
Fabulous6 Reviews
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14 played here
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Explore 4,003 golf courses in Continental Europe

Discover golf courses in Continental Europe ordered by rating

Overview of golf course named Le Golf National

Le Golf National

Guyancourt, France
4.8
Fabulous52 Reviews
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170 played here
Overview of golf course named PGA Catalunya Resort - Stadium Course

PGA Catalunya Resort - Stadium Course

Girona, Spain
4.9
Fabulous41 Reviews
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135 played here
Overview of golf course named Golfclub Starnberg e.V.

Golfclub Starnberg e.V.

Starnberg, Germany
4.9
Fabulous28 Reviews
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38 played here
Overview of golf course named Real Club Valderrama

Real Club Valderrama

Sotogrande, Spain
4.8
Fabulous35 Reviews
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105 played here
Overview of golf course named West Cliffs Golf Links

West Cliffs Golf Links

Obidos, Portugal
5.0
Fabulous20 Reviews
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28 played here
Overview of golf course named Golf Club Les Bordes

Golf Club Les Bordes

Saint-Laurent-Nouan, France
5.0
Fabulous17 Reviews
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57 played here
Overview of golf course named Finca Cortesin

Finca Cortesin

Casares, Spain
4.8
Fabulous27 Reviews
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70 played here
Overview of golf course named Monte Rei Golf and Country Club

Monte Rei Golf and Country Club

Vila Nova de Cacela, Portugal
4.8
Fabulous24 Reviews
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55 played here
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