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Hidden Gems according to Leadingcourses employees (2020)

30 November 2020
8 min. read
Leading Courses
Almost all Leading Courses employees are golfers and together we’ve played a couple of thousand golf courses worldwide. During those trips – whether they were far away or nearby – we discovered some Hidden Gems that we would like to share with you.
Foggy start of the day on a golf course (photo credits: Vince 6800 via Unsplash)

First of all, what exactly is the meaning of a hidden gem golf course? We believe that every golfer has their own definition for that. It can be a great value-for-money course, a breath-taking golf course, a memorable golf course or just an enjoyable course. However, one thing all these golf courses have in common is that they might not be as well-known as they should be.

To present you Leading Courses employees’ hidden gem courses, we have asked our staff to name golf courses that somehow are really special, or need some extra attention. Feel free to let us know your hidden gems on social media via the hashtags #hiddengem and by tagging @leadingcourses.

2020 Hidden Gems according to our employees

Haviksoord - The Netherlands

Submitted by Cyriel van Bree: “2nd week of November I played Haviksoord after an extensive period of rain. As a relatively spoilt golfer (member at one of the better links courses in the Netherlands) I was rather sceptical. Lay-out is ok, the best holes are to be found on the part of the course away from the clubhouse in the woods. Routing is a bit confusing. But….. the maintenance of fairways and greens is fantastic. Not sure which grass they use but I would say this course fits – in terms of maintenance – easily in the Dutch top-10. Greenfee is a bargain for only EUR 42,50.”

Howth Golf Club - Ireland

Submitted by Jeroen Korving: “We played here as part of our Dublin trip when we played some of the best links courses in the area. Howth GC is not as famous as the other Dublin golf courses nearby (Portmarnock GC, Portmarnock Hotel, The Island and Royal Dublin) but it is well worth the visit. In our opinion a hidden gem that is still fairly priced. It’s a scenic and enjoyable golf course and certainly the hilliest course in the area. At Howth GC you have a great view of Dublin, the harbour and all the other courses. People – the staff and the members – are very warm and welcoming. We all loved it. People at Howth GC are proud of their golf club and they should be. Keep up the good work!

The Michlifen Golf & Country Club - Morocco

Submitted by Leonard: “The fact that you find a Jack Nicklaus designed championship course on the edge of the Atlas Mountains at 1650 meter altitude is very unexpected. Ifrane – the city it’s close to – is a ski resort, another thing you would not expect in Morocco. The altitude and thin air make your ball fly 10-20% further (depending on ball flight), so be prepared to feel like a long hitter…..

Muriwai Links - New Zealand

Submitted by Kareem Kaddouri: “Muriwai Links is a beautiful course to the west of Auckland. When visiting the area I played here two days in a row, just because of how much I enjoyed the experience. The weather conditions were horrid, making it a true links experience. The weather really makes you appreciate the course and the game of golf. The dramatic views over the ocean and the large pine trees are breathtaking. The fairways are tight and undulating which demands accuracy from the tee. The views over the ocean are lovely and combined with the howling wind, really take your breath away. The road to reach the golf club takes you winding around headlands until finally opening up to views of the ocean. Highly recommended for anyone who is in and around Auckland.

Keilir Golf - Iceland

Submitted by Leonard: “Is very close to Reykjavik and when I played there (in the middle of summer) it was the hottest day of the year with 19 degrees centigrade. I didn’t bring my own golf clubs but rented them. This is something I can recommend since the ‘rough’ on the front nine is congealed black lava and any hit from there would severely damage your clubs. There was no local rule for a free drop but most members, and me, would eventually find a little piece of grass.

Golfpark Mieminger Plateau - Austria

Submitted by Joep Oude Egbrink: “This lovely golf course in the Tyrol area is located on quite a high altitude (900) meters, but it doesn’t play as a tough mountain course with crazy drops in altitude. That might make it a little less spectacular but in my opinion also more friendly. It still has a lot of sloping fairways and spectacular tree lines that will challenge even the most skilled players and it has one of the most awesome halfway houses in the world.

Lofoten Links - Norway

Submitted by Tim Ladrak: “I haven’t actually played here, but since I’ve seen the Adventures In Golf episode (with Erik Anders Lang) about it, it’s on top of my bucket list. Lofoten is so far off the grid, that it’s actually very well hidden. The Lofoten course was founded in 1998 and is one of the few golf courses in the world that you can play under the Northern light. The local environment was hardly changed for this golf course and it is open 24 hours a day in May, June and July.

Club de Golf Montanyà - Spain

Submitted by Marc Sleenhoff: “Most golfers will stick to the usual suspects in this region, like PGA Catalunya or El Prat. Just a bit further down the road, you’ll find this golf course. Golf in its essence: Beautiful course in ditto surroundings. Very secluded and quiet. Their own tagline says it all: “An undiscovered gem in the Montseny Natural Park.

Zhailjau Golf Resort - Kazachstan

Submitted by Ruben van der Zaag: “Visited and played here during my journalist days while covering the Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2009. Kazakhstan is a big country, but not when it comes to golf. Zhailjau is one of only 3 courses in the whole country – which is the 9th largest country in the world. This course truly amazed me though. When you walk from the giant clubhouse to the putting green and the driving range you can see the snowcapped peaks of the Tian Shan mountains in the background. If that view doesn’t wow you, I don’t know what does.

Heron Lakes GC, Great Blue Course - USA

Submitted by Bobback Soltani: “A course that is often overlooked in Portland, and really gives a great challenge for most golfers in a beautiful setting. A longer links course with challenging Par-3 holes and winnable Par-5’s, a place I have had the most success in recent years. The driving range has grass nearly year-round that you can hit off of to get yourself prepared for your round, as well as a putting green that is true to the course greens. It is a course in the summertime that you want to go to week after week because it has so many challenges, whether that is bunkers, water, or dog legs that strongly encourage you to use irons off the tee. My favorite course to go with my golfing group back home on an Oregon summer day, always a cool breeze blowing, makes for a good time.

The Course at Wente Vineyards - USA

Submitted by Ruben Meiland: “Right in the heart of the Livermore Valley lies one of the most stunning golf courses in the Bay Area; The Course at Wente Vineyards. The course, designed by Greg Norman, boasts gorgeous views over vineyards and rolling hills as far as the eye can see. It’s a pretty challenging layout with small fairways and a lot of elevation, but golfers of any level should definitely consider visiting this unique place. End your day in their relaxing grill and don’t forget to hop by the tasting room!

So there you have it, a list of – some of – our Hidden Gems. We could’ve easily added another 20 or 30 courses to this list, but we’d actually love to hear about your Hidden Gems! Share your hidden gems on social media via the hashtags #hiddengem and by tagging @leadingcourses and we might feature you in one of our next articles!

Main image provided by Vince 6800 on Unsplash.

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