The Best Emerging Market Golf Courses

Written by Andrew Henderson
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Dateline: Merida, Mexico

You’ve decided to travel overseas to open a bank account, get a second residency or even just make a real estate investment. As you’re likely going to be spending a fair amount of time in one of these countries, it’ll be good to know what each one offers on the golf course.

Here are the best emerging market golf courses for Nomad Capitalists:

Malaysia

I like Malaysia so much that I’ve set up a base here. Not only is it a country with a laissez faire, hands-off government, favorable real estate investment laws, a low cost of living and excellent healthcare, it also has some of the best golf in Asia.

Kota Permai Golf & Country Club, Shah Alam

Located in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, Kota Permai is one of several excellent golf courses within the KL metropolitan area and has consistently been voted one of the most beautiful in Asia. Green fees are about $50 on weekdays and $75 on weekends.

Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort, Ipoh

A world class golf course in a natural, idyllic lake setting, Clearwater is an example of how much you can get for your money in Asia once you leave the large cities. Green fees are about $30 on weekdays and $50 on weekends, and are inclusive of a golf cart and lunch at the club.

Estonia

One of the Baltic miracles that I frequently write about, Estonia has one of the freest economies in the world, and is an excellent option for people looking to start businesses in Europe as it offers zero corporate tax on money you reinvest into your business. It’s also one of my recommendations for those looking into second residencies.

Estonian Golf & Country Club, Manniva

The best golf course in Estonia, and probably all of Eastern Europe, is Estonian Golf & Country Club. The course is set along the Jägala River Delta, which feeds into the Baltic Sea, and is about a 30 minute drive from the capital of Tallinn. Green Fees are $100 for their 18-hole “Sea Course” and they’re open from April through October.

Colombia

My favorite country in Latin America, Colombia is home to beautiful nature, a growing business climate, excellent investment opportunities and attractive second passport options. From resorts in expat havens like Cartagena, to the cornucopia of courses surrounding Bogota, Colombia is a great place to golf.

Club El Rincon de Cajicá, Cajicá

Located just north of Bogota, El Rincon is at an altitude of 8,200 feet. The 1980 World Cup of Golf was played on this course and it’s still considered one of the best in the world. Green fees range from $30 to $100 depending on the day.

Philippines

I’ve talked about how you can live the Singapore lifestyle for one third the cost in Manila, and that’s not the only good thing about the Philippines, a country that many expats overlook when relocating overseas.

It has the most beautiful beaches in the world, English is widely spoken here and it’s probably the place that will carry the least culture shock for Americans in Asia. The Philippines also has very favorable second residency options for retirees.

If that weren’t enough, the country also has a plethora of fantastic golf courses.

Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club, Cavite

The best golf course in Manila is Manila Southwoods. A Jack Nicklaus course, Manila Southwoods is for those of us who like a little bit more of a challenge. One of the more difficult courses on this list, the course is home to one of the hardest holes in the world to try. Green fees are about $50 on weekdays and $80 on weekends.

Thailand

While Thailand has its flaws, it’s where many expat entrepreneurs get their start. It’s also home to spectacular golf. Two of my favorite golf courses are in Thailand.

Thai Country Club, Bangkok

The most prestigious course in Thailand, Thai Country Club is consistently voted as the best golf course in Asia. Green fees range from $55 to $180 depending on the day and season.

Alpine Golf & Sports Club, Pathum Thani

An hour from Bangkok, Alpine is where Tiger Woods won the Johnnie Walker Classic on his way to claiming the 2000 PGA Tour Championship.

Green fees are $130 on weekdays and $200 on weekends. While it’s certainly possible to find cheaper courses in Thailand, if you want a high end course, you’ll have to pay more. However, compared with a run-of-the-mill golf course in the United States or Western Europe, these prices are hardly expensive.

While Alpine and Thai Country Club are open to guests, the top Thai course is Ayutthaya, which is exclusively invitation only, so you’ll rarely see anyone other than “Hi-So” Thais golfing there.

Mexico

Mexico is an easy and popular option for Americans looking to retire overseas while staying close to home. The United States’ neighbor to the south is blessed with several breathtakingly beautiful golf courses.

Dunes Course at Diamante, Cabo San Lucas

While Mexico has a plethora of excellent golf courses that could fill up this page, the tops is Dunes Course at Diamante. Designed by Tiger Woods, Dunes is one of the 40 best golf courses in the world. While the course is now closed to the public, fees were $240 when it was open. To play at Dunes, you either have to own property in the Dunes’ luxury community or be invited by someone who does.

Cabo del Sol, Cabo San Lucas

A course that is still open to the public, Cabo del Sol is set in as beautiful surroundings as Dunes as it is also located along the ocean in Cabo San Lucas. Green fees range from $90 to $365 depending on the time and day. Cabo del Sol is a Jack Nicklaus course, and is also one of the top rated golf courses in the world.

Indonesia

One of the more “emerging” countries of emerging Asia, Indonesia has a great cost of living, a fast growing economy, and is an excellent option for more adventurous entrepreneurs.

The tourist island of Bali has become a hub for digital nomads and is also a great place for investing in real estate if you know what you’re doing.

Nirwana Bali Golf Club, Tabanan

Weaving through rice terraces and temples set upon cliffs along the Indian Ocean, Nirwana is a heavenly place to golf. The course has been ranked as one of Golf Digest’s best in the world and is a treat for anyone visiting the island. Green fees are $70 for Indonesians, $100 for Pan Pacific hotel guests and $170 for non-guest foreigners.

In which emerging markets have you found incredible golf courses? Feel free to comment below.

Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Jan 13, 2020 at 3:17PM

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