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Top budget golf destinations for 2012
December 20, 2011

Winter is a great time to take a cheap golf holiday with many courses around the world still basking in sunshine and bargains to be had with both flights and accommodation. So if you're getting a new set of clubs for Christmas or you already know that your New Year's resolution is to finally get that handicap down then you'll be thinking about booking a golf break in the New Year. 

So here are some of the best places in the world to get away from it all in the New Year and perfect your swing. There's something to suit all styles whether you're after sun-drenched courses or classic links play...

Northwest Ireland

Never too hot and rarely too cold, even in winter, Ireland is always a stunning place to play golf and Northwest Ireland remains the cheapest place to stay and play. For a more authentic experience of Ireland consider staying in a smaller, family-owned Irish inn or bed & breakfast.  There are plenty dotted around Ireland's golf courses and you'll be able to appreciate the famous Irish hospitality at its best.

Good for...links play

Check out Carne Golf Links (also known as Belmullet), a world class links course. Located in the far north-west of Ireland and framed by the Atlantic Ocean this spectacular course charges just €35 a day green fees during January and February.

Good for...a slice of golf history

Established in 1895, Galway Golf Club is another special course on which to perfect your game. Green fees are just €30 and for that you'll be able to enjoy 18 challenging holes accompanied by lovely views over parts of Galway Bay.

Jacksonville, Florida

Known as Florida's 'First Coast of Golf' , Jacksonville in Northeast Florida is one of the best places in the States to play golf. It isn't as warm as south Florida, but temperatures are never uncomfortably cold plus off-season weather brings cheaper golf and there are cheap lodging options aplenty. With more than 30 golf courses to choose from in a 75-mile stretch it's fair to say that Jacksonville is a true golfer's paradise!

Good for...playing in luxury

Try The Champions Club at Julington Creek, carved into beautiful Florida wetland it winds through majestic woods and lakes offering challenging play for all abilities. If you play during the week in twilight hours (after 5pm) then rates are as low as $28.

Good for...dramatic elevations

Windsor Park Golf Club is located only minutes from Jacksonville International Airport and features sculpted, rolling fairways and dramatic elevations, things you would expect from a championship course. However you may not expect the excellent prices, play after 3pm on a Sunday and you'll pay just $34.

The Algarve

Widely regarded as the hidden gem of European golf, Portugal continues to grow in popularity for golfing breaks thanks to its great choice of courses and year round good weather. There is also plenty of accommodation options and plenty of cheap flights to and from the UK. The Algarve in particular is becoming as synonymous with golf breaks as it is for beach holidays, you could even combine the two to keep the whole family happy!

Good for...stunning layout

No golfing trip to the Algarve is complete without a round on Quinta de Cima , a championship-style course of great character. Running throughout the stunning layout is a series of lakes connected by a stream which the architect has skilfully incorporated as an added challenge to all who play here. Twilight golf is available daily from 2pm for just €50 and they also offer an unlimited golf package with a stay at the Robinson Club Quinta da Ria Hotel from €489 per person.

Good for...original design

As soon as the architect of Vale de Pinta golf club saw the land on which the course was to be built he declared it "God given" for golf. A challenging course for golfers of all standards, Vale de Pinta has rightfully earned its place as one of the best designed courses in Europe. Green fees are agreeable too costing €65 for a round you'll never forget.

Belek, Turkey

Turkey may not be the first destination you think of when it comes to golf but it has a growing reputation amongst golfing enthusiasts thanks to some spectacular courses and an extraordinarily benign climate, even in low season. Belek is definitely the place to head to as it's only 45 minutes from Antalya airport so easily accessible for those who want to jump straight from the plane to the fairway. Consider an all-inclusive package where all drinks and meals are included; your hotel should be happy to book tee times for you as well as offering great discounts.

Good for...commanding views

LykiaLinks Antalya is a real work of art, full of undulating dunes and commanding views of the Mediterranean Sea. Beware the prevailing winds on the four holes on the coastline though, they call for a truly Scottish-style 'punch and run' repertoire of shots!

Good for...a real challenge

Not for the faint-hearted, Sueno's Pines Course is a serious challenge. Long holes and tight fairways require an expert touch and with the whole course being heavily wooded be prepared to lose a ball or two.

Canary Islands

Wherever you travel to in the Canary Islands you'll enjoy a fantastic climate and, perhaps more importantly, plenty of opportunities to improve your handicap. There are plenty of travel agents providing cheap golf holidays in the Canary Islands by combining the best quality green fees with affordable accommodation and car hire. Here are two courses that you simply must try:

Good for...a sensational setting

Tecina is one of the most spectacular courses in the Canary Islands, occupying a sensational cliff top setting within a former banana plantation on the south side of the small island of La Gomera. The truly unique aspect of Tecina is that it plays like a ski slope, descending a steep slope which gives the golfer an experience of almost continuous descent.

Good for...long, broad fairways

Or you could try Maspalomas on Gran Canaria. The course sits next to the busy resort of Playa del Ingles with a spectacular undulating sea of sand dunes situated between the fairways and the coastline.

As well as researching the destination, it is important to look into the additional costs associated with golf holidays.  Will it be cheaper to hire clubs out there or would it be better to bring your own? Airline charges for additional items such as golf clubs can be confusing and misleading which is why Purple Parking has compiled the golf baggage allowances of the most popular airlines. The page also contains an infographic on how to pack your golf clubs safely so that you protect your clubs from any damage whilst they are transported.

If you choose to take your golf clubs away with you remember to book your parking in advance for the most competitive rates. Purple Parking has competitive rates when flying from some of the most popular airports, such as Heathrow .

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