4th Ariel

Fairways to heaven

The great outdoors, fresh air, exercise and some of the best regional cuisine – it 's with good reason that discerning travellers are setting their sights on a golfing holiday. Alex Mead looks at four destinations that make for a perfect tee time

Lofoten Norway

On an archipelago in the clear, crisp waters of the Norwegian Sea, off Norway's north-west coast, lies a breathtaking golf course worthy of a place on every bucket list.

At Lofoten Links you not only get a spectacular 18 holes on the Troon Golfmanaged course, but, in a setting bordered by white sandy beaches on one side and rugged Lofoten mountains on the other, you may also get to see the Northern Lights, which light up the skies in these parts from August to April. During the summer, you also get to golf 24-hours-a-day thanks to the 'Midnight Sun'.

Viking heritage is all around, including Viking graves under the course. An adjoining stud farm – with a restaurant serving excellent local dishes – provides the perfect mode of transport to explore this stunning landscape.

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Trevose Cornwall

Striking views of the Atlantic, Padstow's famous seafood put to great use in the kitchen and the Duchy's best places on its doorstep (Newquay, Tintagel et al.), this course on the North Cornwall coast is worth a visit even before you get to the golf offering at Trevose Golf & Country Club.

The fact that the course was designed by iconic architect Harry Colt – whose work includes 2019 Open host Royal Portrush – and has just been refreshed by Mackenzie & Ebert (who also reworked Colt at Portrush) seals the deal. Host of a British leg of the European Legends series, it's also been graced by some of golf's greats. The course has its own bungalows, apartments and the Fairway Cottage, which sleeps six.

It's also well-served by the excellent Constantine Restaurant, and the latest addition to The Pig barhotel group is right on the doorstep.

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Dubai UAE

For a place that stretches to little over 4,114km sq, Dubai is seriously well-versed when it comes to Championship golf courses. Nearly all of its 12 x 18-hole courses have been designed by a worldrenowned golf pro 'architect', including Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Baker- Finch, Ernie Els and Greg Norman, with Tiger Woods set to join that list in the not-too-distant future. And with three European Tour events taking place here in the past six months, Dubai is golf utopia.

Away from the course, it has plenty to offer every traveller. As well as the big guns of cuisine on the food front, it's got a thriving streetfood scene, gin bars, Spanish restaurants with vast sherry cellars and a Friday brunch offering where alcohol is de rigueur. And that's all before you get to the shopping, the desert adventures and that iconic skyline.

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Hua Hin Thailand

Since the turn of the century when the Thai royal family decided to use it for their summer sojourns, Hua Hin – on the western side of the Gulf of Thailand, just over a two-hour drive from Bangkok – has become a cosmopolitan hot spot. It combines the best of beach-side city life with great places to eat authentic local food, myriad watersports, bustling markets, and a golf scene good enough to win the Oscars of the golf travel world.

There's an impressive 11 golf courses and one of the very best is Black Mountain Golf Club, set in a mountain valley with the Burmese mountains for a backdrop. Ranked among the best in Asia, its 27 holes coupled with an activity offering that includes a spa, waterpark, tennis, wakeboard park, plus villas of two and three bedrooms, make it ideal for families, too.

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