Costa Navarino, Greece
“We were inspired by the landscape, the surrounding
countryside—and its history,” says Robert Trent Jones Jr. of
his latest masterwork, the just-unveiled Bay Course at Costa
Navarino. The second of three planned courses for the ambitious
four-year-old resort in the southwest Peloponnese, this alluring
track with striking views of islands, mountains and the Ionian Sea
in every direction complements the Bernhard Langer-designed
Dunes course, which was designed in partnership with European
Golf Design and opened in 2008.
Both courses are bonsai-perfect, the former routed through
box canyons and transplanted olive orchards, while the
latter traverses citrus groves and woodland, not to mention
archaeological finds dating from the early Helladic Period until
the Hellenistic times, which were discovered during construction.
For now, two hotels (with their spas, boutiques and no fewer
than 19 eateries and bars) and an endless stretch of sugar sand
beach await guests, though another property, Europe’s first
Banyan Tree, is on the drawing boards already.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club, UAE
With this year’s timely addition of a new, 172-room, on-site
Westin-branded hotel and spa, the Abu Dhabi Golf Club is
now the premier golf destination for travelers to the emirate.
Known among golf fans as the course with the eminently unique
clubhouse in the shape of a falcon sitting atop a giant golf ball,
each year it hosts the European Tour’s HSBC Golf Championship
Designed by Peter Harradine, a veteran of tracks from Austria
to Ukraine, and located just 15 minutes from the city-center,
the par-72, 7,600-yard course is a fair and fun challenge,
weaving its way around seven sizable (and penal) saltwater
lakes, no fewer than 90 strategically placed catch-bunkers, and
through undulating pockets speckled with palms, ornamental
trees, flowering bushes, and shrubbery. In addition to the 18
championship holes, the complex features a night-lighted nine-hole course, measuring 3,299-yards and playing to a par of 36.