African Adventure – property opportunity far from the maddening football crowd

South Africa

Every four years the world goes mad with football fever and this year all eyes are turned to South Africa. For many fans this will be their first taste of this beautiful country but for the discerning property buyer with an eye for quality, this year could be the first visit of many with a winning opportunity in Knysna joining the likes of Roger Federer, Ernie Els and Nick Price in your overseas holiday home.

The Garden Route runs along the southern coast of South Africa for some 396 km and is a memorable journey through intense, verdant landscapes, from the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town to “The Friendly City” of Port Elizabeth. The area offers extreme diversity from unspoilt beaches to ancient forests and National Parks. Nestled approximately half way along this majestic coast line rests the town of Knysna. It is one of the southern Cape coast´s best known and popular holiday destinations.
Knysna and The Garden Route has a Mediterranean maritime climate, with moderately hot summers and mild winters. Any time of the year is good for visiting the area, depending if you enjoy a peaceful retreat during the winter months, or a bustling holiday destination during the summer. South Africa as a whole is such an easy place to travel to as it only has a one hour time difference with the UK taking away the threat of tiresome jet lag.
Knysna itself has many attractions in the surrounding area, one of the most spectacular being the Knysna Forest, the largest indigenous forest in South Africa comprising of tall and ancient trees of local and exotic species. Animal life is limited to a few small antelope and a large variety of birds, such as the famous Knysna Loerie. Home to the once great herds of Knysna Elephants, it is believed that only one lonely cow remains today.   A visit to South Africa is not complete for many travellers without a visit to a game reserve – easily accomplished from Knynsa where there are several opportunities to catch a glimpse of the ‘big 5’.
If a golf buggy is more your style than a safari jeep then the Simola Golf and Country Estate is probably the most desirable golf address in Africa. A Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on South Africa’s Garden Route coast offering a lifestyle unsurpassed anywhere in the world. It is here you will find “The Theatre of dreams” – over 8000 square feet of opulent, luxury living. This property has undoubtably been built for a celebrity type lifestyle. The design of the house is contemporary and dramatic, cantilevered off the hillside, it is split over four levels with strong elements of stone and glass. The spaces are visually connected but separated by various water features resulting in a calming, tranquil feeling which compliments the internal spaces.
Simola is Knysna´s newest upmarket development and no expense has been spared in unlocking its true potential. All who visit, play or live at Simola applaud it rapturously. Jack Nicklaus designed the stunning signature 18-hole golf course around the lush indigenous vegetation and forests and the result is one of the most stunning new courses of the millennium set over a 325ha estate. The five star hotel, which opened last December has an exceptional spa and restaurant with views that are arguably the best in Knysna.Theatre of Dreams is priced at £1,757,500. For more information please visit www.bw-international.com or call 01344 843000.

Riffa Views Invitational draws top golfers to Bahrain

World

The 13th to 15th November 2008 will see top golfing stars descend on the Middle East – as they head to Bahrain for the Riffa Views Invitational. Colin Montgomerie (winner of eight order of merit titles and 31 European Tour wins), Retief Goosen (twice US Open Champion), Michael Campbell (US Open Champion) and Camilo Villegas (twice victorious on the PGA Tour this year) will visit Riffa Views for this exciting Skins competition.

Riffa Views, known as ‘the most distinguished residential address in Bahrain’ and the first residential golf resort in the island Kingdom, features a Montgomerie-designed 18-hole championship golf course and it is the completion of this that the Invitational celebrates. Playing for a prize of $250,000 for their given charity, the golfers will go head to head to truly test the new course. Montgomerie is quietly confident, having said, “Although I will have some very stiff competition, I will be hoping that my ‘local’ knowledge of the course will give me a slight edge on the day!” Not only this, but the Invitational will also feature a pro-am with celebrities such as Boris Becker (who has a tennis academy on the site) and Sir Steve Redgrave taking part, adding to the anticipation of this three day event.
The Riffa Views Invitational is just another sign of Bahrain’s growth as a desirable market of interest with one of the world’s largest real estate advisors, DTZ, recently releasing findings that also adhere to this fact. Their ‘Middle East Market Update: Bahrain’ highlighted an increase in the number of real estate transactions taking place in the country, with 2008 turnover figures at BD 2,150 million, up 58% on the previous year. Quoted as saying that this is “being fuelled by strong indigenous demand, a relaxation of foreign ownership regulations in certain areas of the country, strong levels of liquidity in the regional market and improving financing options”, Bahrain appears to be one Middle Eastern country where interest is still growing and this is being actively encouraged, with this reflected in the property market, unlike some neighbouring Emirates.
With the spotlight firmly on Bahrain, and foreign interest not abating, more and more people are looking to invest in the property market in this politically mild country, and Riffa Views itself offers an excellent opportunity for this. As James Wyatt, partner of Barton Wyatt, explains why a golf property of this kind can be a good investment,
“When looking to buy a second home or an investment property abroad, golf properties are always a secure investment choice. Not only is golf a growing sport with more and more people now looking to play at courses overseas, golf courses also often come with additional facilities that increase their appeal as excellent long term investments choices. Riffa Views, Bahrain’s first development of this kind, is proving to be an exciting option for those looking to invest in the growing golf market and with events like the Riffa Views Invitational now taking place and a Colin Montgomerie-designed championship course, interest in the development is set to increase further still”.
This exclusive residential development comprises of 870 luxury villas set around Colin Montgomerie’s championship golf course, and a choice of 2 to 5 bedroom townhouses and villas are available. To play on the same course as the stars, Riffa Views property prices start at £260,000/ €342,200 through to £1,800,000/ €2,300,100.
For more information contact Barton Wyatt on 00 44 (0) 1344 843000 or visit www.bw-international.com.

Why Buying a Home in Florida Isn’t a Mickey Mouse Choice

United Kingdom

 

The property market in Florida was one of the first to be hit by America’s current economic issues. As one of the most popular yet over-developed markets where there’s a high percentage of second homes and buy to let investment properties, the Floridian market was hit hard by falling real estate prices, lack of mortgage product and decreasing affordability. Inevitably these issues resulted in high numbers of foreclosures, in builders ceasing construction and buyers being conspicuous by their absence. But as with any market where there are fundamental and undeniable reasons behind a historically strong level of demand, the Floridian market is now one of the first in the US to begin rebounding.
Supporting the intrinsic ‘value’ of property in Florida is the Sunshine State’s tourism market – and despite America’s economic woes and the knock on effect that these have had in the UK and Europe, there was no decline in terms of international demand for holidays in Florida in 2007. There was a healthy 2% increase in the numbers of visitors arriving last year, and the 48.7 million people who did visit increased spending by 4.7%, adding $31.1 billion to Florida’s coffers. Home to 3 of the top 10 beaches in America, Walt Disney World, Kennedy Space Centre, Universal Studios and an exceptionally temperate climate almost all year round, Florida is one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, and it’s this fact that underpins the viability of the state’s real estate market.
Against an ongoing backdrop of economic tension in America, Florida’s property market is gaining ground and rebounding; and two of the areas of the state that are growing stronger faster are Sarasota, home to Siesta Beach, the third most popular beach in the whole of America, and Orlando, home to the massive National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Conference & Expo 2008 and the best theme parks in Florida! 
John Mike, NAR President’s Liaison to the UK comments: “The real estate market throughout Florida declined dramatically from mid 2005 to Spring 2008, with positive signs of stabilization occurring in recent months.  The impact of overvalued properties combined with increasingly fragile credit markets and stricter mortgage standards were primary influences on this decline.  Prices have softened throughout Florida during this period, especially in 2008 with the acceptance by sellers of the reality of the ‘new’ market and of the need for realistic market pricing. Stabilization is occurring in what may be regarded as the ‘prime’ markets in Florida such Sarasota.  Such areas have seen significant increases in volume over the last year as buyers have taken advantage of the price reductions.”
British buyers have certainly been taking advantage of softening prices, a strong pound, vendors’ willingness to exit the market and the simplicity and security of the buying process in Florida, and they’ve been making excellent headway. Even now that the dollar has gained strength against a weaker pound, the fact that there exists in Florida both insatiable demand for holiday accommodation and developer and vendor willingness for negotiation means that savvy investors are investing in high grade property stock today, such as properties on developments with golf courses designed by celebrity golfers, knowing that it will almost certainly reap them incredibly strong gains and dividends over the long-term. 
According to James Wyatt, MD of Barton Wyatt International: “There is such a wealth of affordable and seriously attractive real estate on the market in Florida at the moment that investors and buyers really are in the driving seat and can push for very attractive terms and conditions at the point of sale. And because the dollar is showing indications of rebounding against the pound, now’s the time for investors to move in. All of the sagacious investors and buyers whom we counsel and assist know that the purchases they make today are enduring investments that will have the very best chance of the very highest returns over at least the mid to long-term.”
In terms of what’s available, at the very high end are 33 exclusive homes for sale at Nicklaus Manor in Sarasota, an award winning golf development designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. Individual home plots start from $400,036/£215,000 and completed properties from $1,711,782/£920,000. Or what about the villas at the Reunion Resort & Club in Orlando that start from $339,031/£180,000 and are located on "a new breed of family resort”?  This luxury resort boasts an unprecedented complete lifestyle, with engaging activities and luxury for the entire family. The epic vision begins with three signature golf courses from renowned designers Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus. For more information, please contact Barton Wyatt International on 01344 843000 or visit www.bw-international.com.

The Canaries are singing a new song

World

 

Once upon a time the Canary Islands were an exclusive holiday haunt for only a select few who actually knew where the Spanish archipelago was hidden in its tucked away corner of the North Atlantic Ocean. Then came cheap flights, package holidays and greater notoriety for the likes of Tenerife and Lanzarote, whose reputations as fantastic year round sunshine destinations rapidly saw them becoming some of the most popular winter and summer holiday destinations for thousands of Britons and Northern Europeans.
 
With mass popularity came rapid construction of hotels and required infrastructure, and what some would call a cheapening of the appeal of the main islands. This fact however did not escape the attentions of the authorities which govern the islands; since 2001 concerted efforts have been committed to raising the bar when it comes to tourism, lifestyle and culture across the Canaries. Nowadays one is far less likely to associate the likes of La Gomera and La Palma with their nightlife than with the incredibly impressive and high-end quality of life that they offer their increasing numbers of international residents and annual holidaymakers.
 
A recent article in the Times highlighted specifically the transformation of Tenerife from popular holiday hotspot to exclusive lifestyle location destination, and it commented particularly on the improvement of key infrastructure as well as architecture. Where ugly buildings were once constructed in record quick time to accommodate the increasing numbers of overseas visitors, one is much more likely to see these buildings coming down and sympathetic and stunning architecture taking their place nowadays.
 
One way in which the authorities have succeeded in changing the face of the Canaries is through the introduction of golf tourism across the archipelago. Golf courses attract an entirely different crowd who seek quality and luxury when they holiday, rather than cheap accommodation and basic facilities. By developing courses across the islands and improving the associated facilities, amenities and accommodation, the Canary Islands have gone from being a package holiday favourite to become a high-end choice for the discerning traveller.
 
One of the Canary Islands now particularly rising in popularity is La Gomera. Previously the island was more difficult to access than the likes of Tenerife and Fuerteventura; whilst it did not see the local economy thrive as a result of tourism because of this lack of accessibility, La Gomera did see the total preservation of its stunningly diverse natural beauty. The Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a fine example of the islands’ natural beauty covering some 40 km2 in the centre of the island. This park attracts thousands each year keen to experience the humid subtropical forest that once covered most of Europe some 65 million years ago.
 
The shipping magnate Fred Olsen discovered La Gomera over 100 years ago and truly fell in love with the majestic charms of this sun kissed isle. Since then subsequent generations of the Olsen family have made their mark on the island, and today there is a rapid and frequent daily Olsen ferry service to La Gomera from Tenerife, making it that much more accessible. You can also fly to the island from Northern Tenerife, and because you can now fly premium class to the Canaries thanks to Cadogan Holidays, you can arrive on La Gomera in style!
 
According to James Wyatt, Senior Partner of Barton Wyatt International and a regular visitor to the island: “La Gomera is another of the Canaries to benefit from the development of a premium golf course, and the current Fred Olsen lives in a villa backing on to the Donald Steel designed course. The course plays downhill from the 1st to the 18th hole and leads the golfer through incredible gardens planted with beautiful local flora.  Because of its location on the magnificent "La Lomada de Tecina" the course possesses breathtaking views of the Atlantic at every hole. The Olsen family are now behind the construction of one of the most significant and spectacular property developments on the island. The environmentally friendly residential development of high-end villas and apartments is called Pueblo Don Thomas, and it lies adjacent to the golf course allowing residents direct access to the greens and to the amenities and facilities that are part of the Tecina Golf Course.”
 
Those wishing to buy in to the exclusive Canary Islands and who are seeking the most elite opportunities should closely consider La Gomera and in particular the spacious and luxurious apartments and villas at Pueblo Don Thomas. Residents will benefit from the onsite Country Club with its superior leisure facilities, bar and restaurant and property prices start from £673,896/€850,000 to £951,382/€1,200,000.  For more information contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit www.bw-international.com.

Golf within Driving Range

World

 

Recent estimates suggest that there are at least 32,000* golf courses in the world, and every year this figure increases.  The appeal of what was once considered something of an elitist sport is rising as more and more nations embrace golf; what’s more, golf is now accessible to people of all ages and from all walks of life.  Modern golf may have been ‘invented’ in Scotland and embraced by the whole of the UK, but it is rapidly rising in popularity and accessibility across the United States, in Europe and now even in the likes of Brazil and China.  This advancement of golf has managed to save the sport from becoming something that only the well heeled played, and now thankfully we can all enjoy this fun pastime.
 
In the UK many of us are lucky enough to have direct access to some excellent golf courses, but even so, many keen golfers enjoy travelling further afield to experience a wider variety of courses when they go on holiday.  However, in the current economic and environmental climate, does it always make financial and carbon footprint sense to travel abroad to play golf?  What’s more, flying to a popular golf destination can now be more of a hassle as check in times are extended, flight operators insist on extra payment for golf clubs, security checks take longer, and then even after arriving in the country of choice one still has to go through the hassle and expense of hiring a car to drive to the given destination.
 
Extensive studies have shown how great an impact flying has on the environment.  Short haul flights are the worst offenders for excessive CO² emissions because as we all know, aeroplanes use the most fuel during take off and landing. Therefore, according to the AA, 1 in 5 Britons will now be more likely to consider taking the train or driving to short haul destinations.  The cost of fuel is the other issue affecting those travelling and naturally enough the rising cost of fuel has added to the cost of airline travel as well.  Those who car pool or travel by train to holiday with friends in Europe are clearly causing the least environmental impact whilst also saving themselves the most money in terms of fuel bills.
 
The good news is that Europe is home to some of the best golf courses in the world.  Did you know that France has more golf courses than Spain and that Spain has more than Portugal?  So you don’t even need to travel far to reach some exciting new courses and soak up some fabulous summer sunshine at the same time.  For those who want to travel the least distance, how about driving to the Souillac Country Club in the Dordogne in France?  Or in Spain there’s the Bonmont on the Costa Dorada – and then for those who insist that the Algarve is the only place for European golf, what about the Amendoeira Golf Resort in Alcantarilha with courses by Nick Faldo and an O’Connor Junior course?
 
James Wyatt, Senior Partner of golf property specialists Barton Wyatt comments: “as driving holidays experience a resurgence according to TravelBite.co.uk, and European destinations top the chart for those who want to get away, it makes sense that the most attractive golf resorts across Europe will enjoy strong levels of consumer interest.  It’s a well known fact that one of the best investments one can make in property terms is real estate on or within reach of a golf course, so golf property in Europe may well make an exceptional investment choice.”
 
At the aforementioned Souillac Country Club in the Dordogne in France there are villa properties for sale with views across the golf course and beyond to untouched countryside.  Villas are grouped together in small communities and centred around a communal pool.  Prices start from just from £156,000 for a home on this 120-acre estate.  At Bonmont on the Costa Dorada in Spain the 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., is surrounded by a range of luxury detached properties such as 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, semi detached houses and detached villas, prices start from just £116,600.  And finally, at the Amendoeira Golf Resort in Silves on the Algarve in Portugal, golf loving property investors can get their hands on 2 and 3 bedroom luxury apartments with access to a communal pool, 3 bedroom villas or luxury 4 and 5 bedroom villas with private swimming pools and landscaped gardens, prices start at £367,000 and quarter shares (through Stepping Stones fractional ownership) from £126,000.  For more information contact Barton Wyatt International on 0134 484 3000 or visit www.bw-international.com.
 

Wherever I Lay my Club is My Home!

World

 

The Rise of the Nomadic Golfer
 
There’s a quiet revolution underway, it started in the Home Counties and has spread to golf courses around Great Britain and Ireland, and now the move is making its way overseas and nothing can stand in its way.  The revolution is a backlash against the establishment that rules the traditional golf club, and more and more seasoned and passionate golfers are throwing away their annual membership forms in favour of freedom and a nomadic golfing lifestyle.
 
The rise of the nomadic golfer is evident in the figures and statistics that have been issued by the golfing fraternity – for example, the English Golf Union has statistics that show that every year for the past three years the numbers of those signing up as fully fledged members of golf courses around the country have fallen.  And yet golf is one of the fastest growing, most popular sports in the world with new converts and courses appearing in nations as far apart and diverse as Brazil and China.
 
Once an elitist sport where golf clubs were class ranked and where membership was prized, golf has now become a game passionately and truly enjoyed and embraced by people from all walks of life who do not want to be fettered by membership to a single club, but who prefer to travel and experience courses around the country and even around the world.
 
Travel and flexibility are driving forces behind the rise in the numbers of nomadic golfers – as is cost.  The cost of membership fees for a quality golf club in the United Kingdom is becoming increasingly prohibitive in the current financial climate, and what’s more, many know that instead of paying such fees they can put the money towards golfing holidays and enjoy games at courses around the country and indeed, on overseas courses as well.
 
The advantages of leading a nomadic golfing lifestyle are multifarious – aside from spreading and even reducing the cost and avoiding politics and status rivalries at traditional golf clubs, the number one advantage is freedom.  And this freedom enjoyed by those who can choose where they play, when and with whom is being mirrored in a new style of property ownership for golfers and their friends and families at some of the most spectacular and quality international courses and resorts internationally.
 
According to James Wyatt who is the Senior Partner at golf property specialists Barton Wyatt: “the international golfing fraternity is embracing the concept of the nomadic golfer.  Now the property developers behind some of the most high-end golf based resorts internationally have taken the concept one stage further and they are offering exceptional fractional ownership structures for those who love the idea of having an apartment or villa within a golf resort, but who only want to use it for a certain number of weeks a year.”
 
Once such development where fractional ownership is going down a storm with those who love the nomadic golfing lifestyle, who enjoy playing international courses, who want a true property investment as well as a holiday home in an attractive overseas location is the Amendoeira Golf Resort near Silves on the Algarve in Portugal.  World famous for its stunning wealth of fabulous golf courses, it’s only appropriate that the Algarve should be leading the way with this new style of fractional ownership for the nomadic golfer.  The Amendoeira Golf Resort has two excellent golf courses, the first designed by Nick Faldo with strategy play in mind, the second an O’Connor Junior Course designed using large areas of water meaning that play must be accurate and creative.  The resort also features an urban golf and sporting lounge for tuition, a PGA Golf Academy, tennis courts, football pitches, bowling greens, pitch & putt, swimming pools, saunas, a kids’ club, restaurant and bar. 
 
Amendoeira Golf Resort has a range of property types available, from two and three bedroom luxury apartments to three bedroom villas, and each property is available on a full or fractional ownership basis with the opportunity for either type of owner to also rent out homes for investment returns too.  For more information about this stunning resort and the flexible property ownership options, please contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843000 or visit www.bw-international.com.
 

For true relaxation, buy a luxury golf villa

World

When you buy one of the world’s best golf villas, you should be on the greens, practising your putting, not having to mow your lawn. For those with wide enough purse strings, help is at hand at the most salubrious developments across the world in all manners of ways from gardening to concierge services and even secretarial help!

At stunning La Reserva Rotana, in Majorca, two £2million bespoke villas come with full concierge facilities, including gardeners, waiters and cooks, so the only work you’ll ever have to do is adding up how much you are under par on the free, nine-hole private golf course. Not only that, but one of them has its own vineyard, so you can toast your latest hole-in-one with your own vintage Riesling.

Both villas boast five ensuite double bedrooms; a solarium; 100-square metre pool; office and 18,000-square metres of land, so the gardeners can be put to good use! On-site, is a small, boutique hotel – one of the best in Spain – with a top gourmet restaurant and a heliport.

La Reserva Rotana is just one of a range of elite golf properties marketed by leading agent, Barton Wyatt International. Senior Partner of Barton Wyatt International, James Wyatt, says, “We feature the hottest destinations, including the Caribbean and Spanish islands, as well as popular Cyprus & Spain or up-and-coming Bahrain.”

If you want a real blockbuster, try Villa San Lorenzo, at La Zagaleta Country Club – one of Europe’s most exclusive developments, which developers say is “the best place in Spain for the super-rich”. The bespoke villa features a home cinema, wine cellar, gym, Turkish bath, an indoor pool and five ensuite bedrooms with dressing rooms and carries a big-budget price of around £5million. An illuminated 45-square metre outdoor pool in its spacious grounds overlooks one of Spain’s top golf courses, La Zagaleta. A second on-site course, Los Barrancos, also offers additional challenges for golfers.

The complex also includes an equestrian centre and three fishing lakes. Like La Reserva Rotana, there are many services available to residents, including laundry; cleaning; gardening; maintenance; babysitting; chauffer and secretarial help. Even the beautician makes home visits, so all you need to do is lie back and relax.

The airport in Malaga is only 40-minutes away and the Country Club provides a private transportation link, making travel quick and convenient.

Exclusive golf properties attract exclusive buyers, such as former England cricket captain Ian Botham and decathlon champion Daley Thompson, who both have bought homes in Desert Springs Resort and Golf Club, in Almeria, Spain. Top-end, gated, four-bed villas with private pools, fronting the championship golf course, fetch £1.1million. On site are numerous sports and leisure facilities and restaurants.

Sir Ian, who spends as much time there as he can, says, “Desert Springs Resort and Golf Club is a place close to my own heart and, I think, the best family retreat in Europe.” And Daley Thompson adds, “Desert Springs has lots of activities to keep me fit and my family happy.”

Other affluent golf property buyers have fallen in love with the Aphrodite Hills resort, in Paphos, Cyprus, where you can not only improve your golf on the challenging 18-hole course, but your tennis as well, as it boasts its very own tennis academy. There is also a luxury Retreat Spa – judged to be among the top 10 in the world – to ease those golfing muscle strains.

Aphrodite Hills has won numerous other awards, including being among the world’s top 10 Golfing Developments. Prices for bespoke villas on the championship-standard course with four bedrooms cost around £1million.

Further a field in the Middle East, one of the most distinguished developments is Riffa Views – the first golf course development of its kind in Bahrain. It features a signature Colin Montgomerie 18-hole PGA Championship course plus a nine-hole course and golf academy to help improve your game. There is also a Boris Becker Tennis facility, spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre, country club, shopping centre, restaurants and even an international school.

Luxury villas in the gated community range from three to five-bedrooms and Grand Villas have additional accommodation. They cost up to around £1million.

But not all luxury golf developments require millionaire status. Ginn sur Mer, on Grand Bahama, features properties costing £315,000-£750,000, and still comes with all the benefits of ‘the good life’, such as a private airport and helipad, super yacht marina, equestrian facilities, grand palace, the island’s biggest casino, 15 dining options, luxurious spas and romantic gondola rides and water taxis through the development. Golf course or oceanfront plots are available for those who want to design and build their own home.

Ginn sur Mer features golf courses designed by two of the sport’s most famous names – Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. There is also a state-of-the-art golf training facility.

For more details, contact Barton Wyatt International on 0134 484 3000 or visit www.bw-international.com.

The Best of the Best Golf Courses and Golf Properties to Satisfy the Discerning Golf Traveller

World

 

There are certain facts about golf and golf based travel that are significantly striking and which mean that globally speaking, where a country or a location depends heavily on tourism related revenue for economic success and development, focusing on golf based tourism and developing golf centred holiday and residential resorts make sound fiscal sense.
 
For example, globally speaking golf tourism is worth in the region of ten billion euros annually; and as a leisure sector, golf tourism is growing at a rate of up to two and a half times faster than other leisure based travel sectors.  Adding to these obvious attractions of targeting the golfing traveller is the fact that the sport draws affluent individuals who spend significantly more per capita, per day’s travel in the resorts that they frequent than other types of visitor. 
 
Additionally, golf tourists are considered to be consistently loyal and likely to revisit favourite destinations frequently. 
 
But golfers are highly discerning individuals and they are not only looking for the best golf courses, they want the best hotels or the best private accommodation as well as the best amenities and facilities – which is why they are attracted to some of the most famous locations in the world which manage to combine some of the most fabulous and challenging golf courses with fantastic real estate and amazingly well equipped luxury resorts.
 
Locations such as Grand Bahama, La Gomera, St Lucia and Majorca have really managed to achieve the balance perfectly so that golfers, golf widows and their families and friends can all enjoy the ultimate travel experience, both individually and on a group basis.
 
The Best Golf Courses
 
One of the thrills of golf based leisure for the avid and experienced golfer is encountering some of the best courses in the world for the first time, and many of the best courses happen to be located in the most fabulous island locations because of the natural attributes that such terrain presents course designers. 
 
These types of course are known as ‘links golf courses’ and they are considered by the majority of golfers to be the most challenging and rewarding.  They are found on islands and on headlands where the land used for the course actually links the mainland to the ocean – hence the name ‘links golf.’ 
 
These types of course are typically less manufactured than parkland courses, rather they follow the natural terrain of the landscape, they are exposed to the natural elements and they afford the golfer incredible views and demanding challenges.  What’s more, they really require the golfer to use a mixture of skill and imagination to come in on par.
 
The Best Locations
 
As stated, many of the world’s best links courses are in fantastic island locations because the terrain and environment in these locations is perfect for the creation of the ultimate course.
 
Locations now famous for their thrilling courses include St. Lucia in the Caribbean where Greg Norman has added his signature to a course at Le Paradis Beach, Golf and Marina Resort where it is reputed the 14th hole will become one of the most photographed in the world.  It’s a 175 yard one-shotter on to an infinity green that seems to give way to the beautiful Galet Bay beneath it.  On three sides of the hole the golfer is looking down a 100 foot rugged cliff drop to the stunning ocean, meaning that even if they miss the shot they will not go home disappointed. 
 
The Best Amenities and Facilities
 
The Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer golf courses at the Ginn Sur Mer resort on Grand Bahama may be world class, unique and specifically designed to enhance the game of golf, but the courses are merely a small element in terms of the leisure amenities and facilities available at this one of a kind mega and luxurious resort.
 
For golfers, golf widows, their friends and families the Ginn Sur Mer resort has to be seen to be believed – it offers everything from casinos to a marina, from spas to a private airport, from a beach club to a kids club, gardens, fountains and pools, multiple fine wining, dining and retail experiences to a Grand Canal which will intricately link the multiple elements of this 2,200 acre resort and provide stunning and practical waterways which will be alive with maritime activity.
 
The Best Properties
 
In each of the above mentioned resorts there are incredible real estate options available which are appealing to keen golfers, those seeking a holiday home in a stunning overseas location and people who want to live within an incredible community.  What’s more, the real estate options are also appealing to savvy property investors well aware that such resorts make the very best investment locations for both a high yielding rental strategy and a strategy relying on consistent capital appreciation and consistent resale demand.
 
For example, at Le Paradis Beach, Golf and Marina Resort on St. Lucia you can buy lavish one, two and three bedroom residences starting from £385,000 / €582,100 and be buying into a resort with not only the aforementioned amazing golf course, but a spa, concierge services and direct access to fabulous, unspoilt, white sandy tropical beaches.
 
At the Ginn Sur Mer resort there are even more property based options and you can even buy your very own piece of land and build a bespoke villa or mansion on it!  Ocean front or golf course facing plots of land are available for sale from £310,000 / €407,600 and they go on up to £750,000 / €986,100.
 
Other seriously attractive locations that offer the best golfing, the best amenities and the best property options include: –
 
Costa Teguise Golf in Arrecife on Lanzarote which features an 18 hole course designed by the US amateur champion golfer and landscape architect John Harris.  Located at the foot of a dramatic volcano and with breathtaking ocean views, this resort is also home to multiple sport areas and hotels, open green areas, two shopping centres, leisure areas and a large communal central square for social and cultural activities.  Properties available include apartments, town-houses and luxury villas and they are priced from £156,700 / €199,000.
 
Fuerteventura Golf Resort at Caleta de Fuste which is set around a well established course which was home to the Canaries Spanish Open in 2004 for example.  Here buyers can purchase front line golf duplexes and apartments or 2 and 3 bedroom villa homes priced in the region of £146,000 / €184,322 to £177,000 / €223,459.
 
Pueblo Don Thomas on La Gomera in the Canary Islands in Spain where buyers are being invited to buy bespoke villas off plan within a resort where they can become members of the Country Club and benefit from amenities such as swimming pools, putting greens, bars and restaurants.  The villa properties for sale are all customisable and come with a range of base designs which start from £652,000 / €850,000.
 
And finally the highly exclusive Rotana Villas development on Majorca in the Balearic Islands of Spain which comprises of just two unique and totally bespoke villas on plots of either 15,000sqm or 20,000sqm.  The villas are set around a private golf course for the exclusive use of the residents of the homes as well as the guests of the small 23 room luxury boutique hotel which is also on site.  One of the villas comes with its own vineyard and full concierge services are available to all villa owners and their guests.  Services available include having private chefs, waiters or gardeners on hand for example.  There is also a heliport on site at the Rotana Villas development, and the properties are priced in the region of £2,680,900 / €3,500,000.
 
For more information about golf properties around the world please contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit www.bw-international.com.