They will travel near and far in order to fuel their passion, and with thousands of golf resorts throughout the world from which to choose, golfers have a plethora of options.
Among the world's most exotic golf courses are:
Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort, Costa Rica
Located within a lush rainforest and several micro-climates, golfers at La lguana Golf Course can spot monkeys, macaws and iguanas throughout the greens. This luxury Herradura hotel in Costa Rica is set on a 1,100 acre rainforest overlooking the Pacific. Guests enjoy hiking, canopy tours and other activities. However, it's the splendid golfing that attracts most visitors. Nestled alongside a spectacular rain forest with breathtaking ocean views, the 18-hole, par-72 championship La Iguana golf course (course rating: 73.4, par 72, slope 145) offers not only a challenging layout but also a spectacular gallery of vistas. The La Iguana Golf Course was landscaped to include exotic native plants, banana trees, orchids, monkeys, more than 150 species of birds and the abundant local wildlife. Imagine the surprise of one player whose golf ball was stolen by a monkey off of the 4th green. Do you suppose a "mulligan" was in order?
Punta Espada Golf Course, Dominican Republic
Guests staying at AlSol's Sanctuary Cap Cana will have easy access to Punta Espada Golf Course, a shore lined course featuring a hole that requires a 249-yard shot over the water to a green surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. In all, eight holes play along and over the sea. Better bring some extra balls just in case. Of the golf courses to be developed at Cap Cana, three are exclusive Jack Nicklaus signature designs. Punta Espada is the very first golf course and it is already listed among the world's finest, with GolfWeek ranking it as the best golf course in the Caribbean and Mexico. From all points of Punta Espada, golfers are blessed with extraordinary views of the Caribbean, where the sea contrasts against the emerald fairways and the perfect greens. Challenging play and beauty are entwined in this outstanding par 72 course, which hosted the inaugural PGA Tour's Champions Tour in April 2008 - The Cap Cana Championship. The annual tournament is televised internationally through the Golf Channel.
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, Puerto Rico
Few places in the world are as picturesque to golf as the Caribbean. Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa is the only hotel property in Puerto Rico with two golf courses, both immaculate pieces of art and design in every respect. Neighboring Puerto Rico's El Yunque Rainforest, the resort's courses offer Atlantic panoramas, ocean breezes and sand iguanas framed by vistas of mountains and sea. The Ocean Course was created to be equally gorgeous and challenging, with sand iguanas and seaside landscapes at every tee. The signature 16th hole is considered one of the best in the Caribbean. PGA legend Greg Norman designed the River Course along the Mameyes. Married with the lay of the land, the island itself dictates the holes. The result is a course for all skill levels, full of native foliage, generous fairways and shallow bunkers. The 35,000-sq-ft. Rio Mar Clubhouse is considered to be one of the most prestigious Country Clubs in Puerto Rico. In addition to a fully-stocked Pro Shop, it's also home to ample practice facilities, resident pros and Iguana Pub.
Fancourt, South Africa
Once an airfield, The Links at Fancourt are located along South Africa's Garden Route surrounded by mountains and panoramic views and diverse flora and fauna. Fancourt offers three originally designed Gary Player golf courses - including The Links, which Gary Player has often referred to as his greatest design feat. Player's design team spent months studying the classic links courses of Scotland and Ireland and then, armed with inspiration from the best that those countries had to offer, embarked on the ambitious task of recreating some of their finest holes to make a genuine links test. Since opening in the early 90's with just 27 Gary Player-designed holes, Fancourt's Outeniqua and Montagu golf courses have matured and developed into two of the finest 18-hole parkland layouts in the country. A round on either is a special experience, sculpted and finished as they are, with rare attention to detail and designed with the coastal winds in mind.