World’s Top Retirement Havens For Golfers
Searching for the overseas retirement haven with your name on it but can’t imagine retiring without golf? Here are 10 great places to retire overseas if golf is a priority.
#10: Nejapa Country Club, Nicaragua
Nicaragua is one of the world’s most affordable places to retire well, a land of sunshine and crashing Pacific surf that also boasts the oldest city in the Americas, colonial Granada, home today to one of the world’s biggest and most established communities of expat retirees. Nicaragua is also friendly, safe, and welcoming, offering a competitive retiree residency program that you can qualify for with retirement income of as little as US$600 per month.
The par-72 course at Nicaragua’s Nejapa Country Club, with its gentle bunkers and lush vegetation, has survived an earthquake and a revolution and today offers golfers a peaceful and beautiful day out. Come prepared, though, for the humidity.
#9: Verdura Resort, Sciacca, Italy
For many, Italy offers the ultimate dream retirement lifestyle. La dolce vita can be hard to beat, particularly when you bundle it with one of the world’s best golf courses. At Sicily’s fashionable Verdura Resort, you have access to not one but three links courses. With fabulous views of the ocean and this region’s year-round warm weather, the Kyle Phillips-designed courses are among the most appealing in Europe. The resort also offers a double-ended driving range and PGA-qualified pros.
#8: Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal
Portugal’s Algarve receives top marks in every category of importance to the would-be retiree, from cost of living to climate, from infrastructure to residency options. In addition, this region is dense with golf courses, including Quinta do Lago. With three award-winning championship golf courses—the North, South, and Laranjal—excellent practice facilities, and the only Paul McGinley Academy in Europe, Quinta do Lago makes this corner of Portugal a golfer’s dream retirement choice.
#7: The Bluffs, Vung Tau, Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the most affordable places in the world to live and an emerging retirement haven. It may not seem an obvious choice for golfers, but the Bluffs in Vung Tau, a coastal links-style course designed by legendary Australian golfer Greg Norman, makes the most of a stunning location and features huge sand hills, native vegetation, and dramatic ocean views. Most days, this is a windswept spot, but that extra challenge is proving popular among golfers from Asia and around the world.
#6: Thai Country Club, Bangkok, Thailand
Thailand, another top affordable retirement haven that’s also earning a name as a medical tourism destination, is also a golfing mecca. Among this country’s top golfing options is the Thai Country Club course, located a 45-minute drive from Bangkok. Designed by Denis Griffiths, the former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, the course is a par-72, 18-hole layout with numerous water hazards and bunkers that is regularly voted among the top five places to golf in Asia.
#5: Chapelco, Patagonia, Argentina
Argentina is a big, beautiful country that makes for a great retirement choice for anyone looking for an active, outdoors lifestyle. In its Patagonia region, set in parkland with lakes and winding streams and surrounded by the Andean mountains, is the Chapelco golf course, one of the country’s and the world’s finest. The par-72 course, designed by golfing icon Jack Nicklaus and his son Jack Nicklaus II, features 73 starting tees and 65 bunkers.
#4: The Dunes, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Mexico is the original retire overseas destination, appealing for its weather, its cost of living, and its accessibility from the United States. In Cabo San Lucas, at El Diamante, is the golf course The Dunes, designed by Davis Love III, the American pro with 20 PGA wins under his belt. The Dunes, at 7,300 yards from the back tees, is a challenging course set on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula and rated among the best in the world.
#3: Morfontaine, Paris, France
Paris is the world’s most beautiful, most romantic city and a top choice for a cosmopolitan lifestyle in retirement. Furthermore, retiring to Paris doesn’t have to mean giving up your love of golf. The historic Morfontaine course outside Paris boasts 27 holes—a 9-hole course built in 1911 and known as Valliere and an 18-hole championship course built in 1927. Commissioned by the Duc du Gramont and designed by Englishman Tom Simpson, Morfontaine Championship is a 6,545-yard, par-70 course punctuated by towering Scotch pines.
#2: Teeth of the Dog, Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a top choice for retirement in the Caribbean, with long white-sand beaches, easy retiree residency, and super-affordable beachfront property options. This sunny, sandy Caribbean island nation is also home to the butterfly-routed Teeth of the Dog golf course, designed in the early 1970s by Pete Dye and his wife Alice. The course adheres more to the natural contours of the land than Dye’s usual designs—probably because of the underlying coral rock—however, some tees are built on manmade pedestals. Occasional trade winds add an extra level of difficulty.
#1: Ballybunion Golf Club, Ireland
Ireland offers a relaxed, friendly lifestyle and an English-speaking population that welcomes foreigners, making it a top choice for retirement. It’s also one of the world’s best golfing havens. The course at Ballybunion, dating to 1893, is perhaps the country’s most famous. The wild beauty, 100-foot dunes, and unpredictable weather make Ballybunion exciting and challenging. Head to the 19th hole at the end of the day to sample the famous Irish hospitality.
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