Anthony Webber. iGTN Editor-At-Large. The variety of golf courses around the world offers an array of options to golfers whether they prefer teeing off in world-renowned destinations like Scotland and the United States, or emerging and exciting destinations spanning the globe, from South Korea to Brazil, South Africa, or Mainland China to Mexico.
Golfers also have an interesting array of options when it comes to the type of accommodations that will help them relax and prepare for a day on the links.
Increasingly, many golfers are turning to vacation home rentals as their preferred choice of lodging, since these spacious homes often are located within putting range of golf courses, with more room and features than a traditional hotel room.
Much like golf, one could argue vacation rentals originated in Europe, as Europeans have been renting “holiday homes” for decades. Although, the opportunity to live like a local in a foreign destination, while still having access to all the comforts of home is an appealing offer for any traveler. For golfers in particular, vacation rentals can offer a welcome respite, considering they spend their days powering through a rigorous 18 holes.
For many golf enthusiasts, nowhere is more steeped in golf’s traditions and romance than Great Britain, where historic links courses date back more than 600 years. In fact, one getaway on the top of every golfer’s must-play list is the Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland’s self-proclaimed “Home of Golf” and the site of the first Open Championship in 1873, and 27 subsequent British Open tournaments.
If you’re traveling internationally and living out a dream by playing on the same courses as some of the world’s greatest golfers, at the end of the day, opening the door to a minimalist hotel room with nominal privacy and less-than-adequate storage space just doesn’t seem to add up.
Now picture the alternative: a spacious, multi-bedroom villa, steps from the green, with a fully equipped kitchen to brew your morning pick-me-up, a garage to store your oversized golf bag and grass-covered shoes and a backyard to practice the short putts you missed by just a hair the day before.
With sites like HomeAway.com, one of the leading vacation rental websites in the U.S., it becomes much easier to find a home away from home near top golf courses.
HomeAway features more than 250,000 properties across 145 countries, and of that inventory, more than 182,000 properties are labeled as golf villas, golf condos or golf community home rentals.
One of the more compelling vacation homes available on HomeAway.com for a trip to St Andrews is a luxurious four-bedroom, two-story apartment just a short five-minute walk from the legendary links layout (HomeAway property 827494) The vacation home sleeps nine and even offers a replica of the infamous “Road Hole Bunker” in its backyard garden.
In fact, the St Andrews holiday apartment, like many featured on HomeAway.com, has a wealth of cozy and convenient features, including a main reception room, two kitchens, lower ground reception room/fourth bedroom, three bathrooms, utility room and a cellar. Meanwhile, the yard is equipped with a glass canopy, barbecue and pizza oven.
The home is just a five-minute walk to the famed birthplace of the game, a dream of any duffer. The ability to wake up in the comforts of a world-class home with family and friends, and then take a leisurely stroll to the first tee, is, well, priceless.
“Vacation rentals offer golf travelers more space and convenience than hotels,” says Alexis de Belloy, Senior Vice President of HomeAway. “Friends and family have the opportunity to truly bond with one another and create memories under one roof as they reminisce on the day’s adventures.”
Now that summer’s officially here, travel plans are in full tilt and many travel organizations are expecting a busier than usual vacation season.
In fact, a recent survey from American Express Company revealed 59 percent of Americans are planning a trip this summer, up from 51 percent in 2010. Also, in a HomeAway survey 72 percent of owners say bookings for this summer are the same or better than last summer.
Vacationing with family members remains a top priority, many experts say, but group getaways are on the rise. Plus, with spacious first-class rental accommodations that can often accommodate larger groups, vacation homes are a growing choice among savvy travelers.
What they’re finding with these alternative golf vacation choices are accommodations that not only feature the conveniences of home – kitchens, washers and dryers, for example – but they also offer an incredible level of luxury for a better value than traditional accommodations.
At Mijas Costa, a HomeAway listing owned by Joseph Overdevest in Costa del Sol, Spain, vacation home travelers enjoy a spacious four-bedroom townhome, ample storage space for golf clubs and equipment, and a fully stocked kitchen to use as a dinner party setting or simply for eating a pre-round breakfast at the home or storing snacks and beverages (HomeAway property 6599) Overdevest’s property borders the Miraflores Golf Course and features an elevated terrace overlooking the lush fairways. According to Overdevest, most of his golf groups come from the United Kingdom and Netherlands. He says one of the most popular elements of the home is his large basement outfitted with a large mat and artificial hole so “golfing guests have the opportunity to improve their putting capabilities.”
Renting a golf villa vacation home is a smarter way to vacation, particularly with hotel rooms costing 5-10 percent more this year than last year, according to a recent AAA/IHS Global Insight holiday travel report. Plus, vacation rentals offer additional savings opportunities by giving travelers the flexibility to prepare meals and dine in the comfort of your home rather than paying for an expensive dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Beyond the monetary value, there are intangible benefits of staying in a home. That sentimental value of spending relaxed, fun-filled quality time with family or friends in a peaceful setting, that allows everyone the space to truly rejuvenate – something seasoned vacation home travelers treasure the most about this vacation lifestyle.
That’s why golfer’s heading to the Emerald Isles for that next great golf getaway might lean toward Verbena Cottage (HomeAway property 7079763h) yet another vacation rental option on HomeAway.com. Located close to Ireland’s classic County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point, home to one of the oldest and best-known links courses in the world, Verbena Cottage is a detached 5-bedroom cottage on a small residential estate in the village of Rosses Point.
The home also has a an open-plan living area with fully-equipped kitchen, dining area and sitting area with a multi-fuel stove, plus a second sitting room with a piano and a first-floor games room with table tennis. Outside, this cottage offers ample parking and a large yard with furniture, barbecue area and a four-hole putting green.
If going abroad on a golf trip is at the top of this year’s travel list, consider opting for a golf villa rental and relish in the numerous benefits for golf travelers, and opportunities to enhance the vacation experience off the course. With more space to accommodate large parties, and a less expensive lodging option than hotels, a vacation rental can offer not only comfortable living but an opportunity to save a little green the next time you tee off abroad.
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