Golf was first introduced to Sri Lanka in the late 19C by British tea planters eager for a reminder of home, and its foothold in the country is now as strong as ever with five appealing courses offering an extra dimension to a Sri Lanka for the golfing enthusiast.
The five main courses are sprinkled conveniently across the island – Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Trincomalee, plus the Shangri-La Golf Resort & Spa on the south coast in Hambantota. All that is missing is a course to serve the tourist areas on the west and Galle coast for golf’s second wave in Sri Lanka to have well and truly arrived.
This now provides the perfect excuse for the holiday-making golf obsessive to use the sport as the basis of an island tour. The top-of-the-range option is to cover every course using a chartered seaplane or helicopter, but accommodation and travel options with Red Dot Sports range from best budget to the height of luxury.
Our specialist sports division arranges the tour to your exact requirements directly from Colombo, bringing you the expertise and value-for-money deals that come from being part of one of Sri Lanka’s largest tailor-made holiday companies.
Day members are welcome at all of the courses and charges are generally inclusive of green fees, caddy, ball spotters and tips. Clubs can be hired but don’t always expect the latest titanium shafts. Packages are sometimes offered if you want to play on consecutive days and Shangri-La offers a discount if you stay at the resort.
Golfing etiquette in Sri Lanka appears to demand you hire as many people as possible. Your caddy is a must in any case – it is far too hot and humid to be hauling around a bag – but expect ball spotters to be offered. Their fees are small and they do an excellent job. Beware of water hazards. “Pond boys” will find your ball within minutes and charge a small fee for their trouble – if you wish, your caddy will handle negotiations.
There has rarely been a need to book a tee time outside of Colombo, except at weekends, but with the tourist industry booming, Red Dot Sports can do this for you if required. We recommend you take lots of fluid and fruit while on the course. It is advisable, too, to avoid the heat of the day if possible, except in the hill country.
Red Dot offers three golf itineraries: a four-night short trip called the Golfing Escape which includes golfing at the Victoria Golf & Country Club in Kandy; a 13-night tour called Green Fairways and Azure Seas which is an island tour that mixes golf with relaxation on the south coast, and Highlander Golf which includes golfing in Kandy and the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club in the central hills. These itineraries can be tailored to your specific requirements, budget and tastes.
There is so much to enjoy in the island with a little bit of everything: gorgeous tropical beaches, game parks, ruined cities, the stirring mountains of the hill country, and the lovable capital of Colombo.
If you are interested in a tailor-made golf tour to Sri Lanka, trust Red Dot Sports to make it extra special.
Royal Colombo Golf Club, Colombo
The prestigious Royal Colombo dates back to 1879 and is thought to be the second oldest course outside Britain to possess “royal status” after the Royal Calcutta in India. Although situated within the city confines, and surrounded by residential and business properties, it can offer a tranquil feel and lies by a lake with the Kelani Valley railway line running through the course and giving it a unique feel. An old colonial-style bar completes the picture.
More details: http://www.rcgcsl.com/
Victoria Golf and Country Resort, Digana
This 18-hole golfing delight has quickly been accepted as one of the most-loved courses in Asia. It is situated about 45 minutes to the east of Kandy town centre, just beyond Sri Lanka’s international cricket stadium in Pallekele. Stretching across 517 acres, the Victoria Golf course is a challenge, because of its terrain, to even veterans of the sport. This attractive resort is filled with various other recreational activities and a small selection of villas and chalets.
More details: https://golfsrilanka.com/
Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, Nuwara Eliya
The Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, nestled among the tea plantations of the central highlands and conveniently placed in the middle of the town’s main tourist area, is arguably Sri Lanka’s most relaxed golf course. Built in 1891 by a Scottish soldier for the British serviceman and officials, this scenic, tree-lined course remains well-tended, tight and challenging. Its ancient colonial-style clubhouse and bar also sends visitors into nostalgic reveries: that plus the relatively inexpensive green fees by European standards for a course of its quality. A delight.
More details: https://nuwaraeliyagolfclub.com/
Shangri-La Golf Resort & Spa, Hambantota
Sri Lanka’s first and only golf resort was established in 2017 when the famous luxury Shangri-La chain arrived in the south of Sri Lanka. It is set to the west of the south coast town of Hambantota (Kalametiya bird sanctuary lies to the east) amid a vast coconut palm plantation, offering spectacular views and an abundance of bird and animal life to keep you entertained while playing the course. The course is open to non-residents (who pay slightly more than Shangri-La guests) and it is already gaining enthusiastic reviews.
More details: http://www.shangri-la.com/hambantota/shangrila/
Eagles’ Golf Links, Trincomalee
Eagles’ Golf Links opened in 2012 on the southern end of one of the greatest natural harbours, now known as China Bay. A curiosity is that this scenic coastal course, spread over 171 acres, is managed by the Sri Lankan Air Force. It will be interesting to see how the standard of the course beds in. Coastal views, a clubhouse with perfectly mowed lawns and club shop all add to the appeal of a course that brings another enticing facility to the rapidly-evolving East Coast.
More details: http://www.eaglesgolf.lk/China_Bay/index.html
Day 01, 02, 03
Upon touching down in Colombo, immediately transfer onto the Air Taxi which flies in directly to Victoria Golf and Country Resort in Kandy. This is a breathtaking flight that lands on the Victoria reservoir. It is therefore possible to be on the 1st tee within 1 hour of landing in Sri Lanka. Stay three nights here golfing and relaxing amidst the magnificent Kandyan hills. Kandy is just 40 minutes away.
The Victoria Golf and Country Resort, offers a wide range of facilities including an 18-hole golf course, putting green and practice range, Pro shop and PGA golf academy. Other sports and recreational facilities include bar and terrace dining, floodlit tennis court, Saddle club, riding lesson for adults and kids, mountain bike trails and horse safaris. There is an outdoor infinity swimming pool and an Ayurvedic wellness centre offering a range of relaxing treatments. The surrounding reservoir and central hills are ideal for bird watching.
The city of Kandy is steeped in history and culture. Interesting activities include a visit to the Temple of the Tooth where a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is enshrined and Peradeniya Botanical gardens, with its orchid collection and formally laid-out trees.
Day 04, 05, 06
Today you head back to the easily-explored capital city of Colombo. Experience Colombo’s colonial architecture with a visit to the Fort – a three mile long rampart originally built in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese and then further developed by the Dutch and the British. Here, many of the old colonial buildings jostle for attention with the rest of Colombo’s modern skyline.
Red Dot is entirely flexible. For example, you could extend your stay in Colombo to play golf in the city or head off to the coast for a few days.
Note: This tour is shown in our Luxury Red and Classically Red classifications. We can devise a cheaper Simply Red option on request and, as ever, we are entirely flexible in your accommodation choices.
Day 01, 02, 03
Clingandael (Luxury Red)
Clingendael, a magnificent boutique manor house situated within Victoria Golf & Country Resort, exudes a stately grandeur yet is also infused with the latest in modern technology and contemporary art on the walls. Clingendael’s terraced gardens, cascading waterways, verandahs and tranquil setting are ideal for relaxation.
Bougainvilla Retreat (Classically Red)
Bougainvillea Retreat is a peaceful holiday retreat in tropical gardens within Victoria Golf & Country Resort. Accommodation is in well-appointed bedrooms set within the main house and separate cottages opening on to lush green gardens and mountain views.
Day 04, 05, 06
Tintagel (Luxury Red)
Tintagel, a century-old presidential mansion, between whose walls much of Sri Lanka’s modern political history has been made, is now a luxurious, ten-room boutique hotel. A refined choice for the discerning traveller.
Galle Face (Classically Red)
Galle Face Hotel, originally constructed in the 19th century, incorporates traditional Victorian features with stylish contemporary design. It is an attractive alternative to Colombo’s modern business hotels: the stately wooden panelling and staunchly Victorian rooms are resonant of a bygone age.