Cover Story

Around The World With Troon

International Courses Offer Memorable Experiences

By Tom Mackin

From its beginning as a single-course entity in Scottsdale, Arizona, nearly 35 years ago, Troon has expanded its reach far beyond the United States. In addition to an expansive domestic portfolio, the company now manages more than 55 courses in 35+ countries across the globe. 

“We’re incredibly proud of the continued growth of Troon International’s portfolio around the world,” said Executive Vice President, Troon International, DJ Flanders. “Our dedication in delivering unparalleled service and expertise has had a significant impact on the success and reputation of the golf courses we are engaged with internationally.” 

In the following story we preview the experiences at some of Troon’s most sought-after golf destinations in Greece, Spain, England, and Morocco. 



Costa Navarino invites you to “be part of our story,” and considering some of the awards it has recently received, that’s an invitation worth serious consideration: World’s Best Golf Venue 2023 in the World Golf Awards; No. 1 at the Top 100 Golf Resorts in Continental Europe 2023 by National Club Golfer; and Europe’s Best Eco-Friendly Golf Facility 2023, also in the World Golf Awards. If you have yet to travel to Costa Navarino, then consider those merely a few of the reasons why you should make the journey to the southwest coast of Greece. 

All of those accolades were bestowed upon a resort where exceptional service standards, the chance to experience Greek culture and history by exploring the region, and a myriad of leisure activities — think olive harvesting and local crafts — have been attracting guests since it first opened in 2010. That list also includes four golf courses, multiple five-star hotels, luxury private residences, and over 40 dining venues. 

Set amongst an environment rich in local flora and fauna and boasting mesmerizing sea views, Costa Navarino is also a leader in sustainable golf development, becoming the first multiple-course destination in the Eastern Mediterranean to become GEO Certified®, with The Dunes and The Bay courses earning that notable recognition. “Since the launch of Costa Navarino — and even before, during construction — several groundbreaking initiatives were introduced to ensure sustainable performance across the golf courses and the destination,” said David Ashington, general manager at Costa Navarino Golf. “We work hard to continue improving these practices and to ensure that all our golfers and guests can enjoy the best possible experience in these spectacular natural surroundings.” 

Opened in 2010, The Dunes Course offers spectacular sea and river views and incorporates links-style features in areas closest to the sea, while occasionally venturing into olive and fruit groves. Overlooking the historic bay of Navarino, The Bay Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and meanders through three distinct settings: seaside, canyon, and grove. Equally as striking is the award-winning earth-sheltered Bay Clubhouse, which blends seamlessly into the natural landscape.

Costa Navarino’s newest courses, both designed by two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal, opened in February 2022 at Navarino Hills. Launched in partnership with the International Olympic Academy and the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Academy Golf Course — named the “World’s Best New Golf Course” at the 2022 World Golf Awards — moves around the western part of the Navarino Hills area. More than half of its holes play along a ridge overlooking the historic bay of Navarino and the Ionian Sea, providing spectacular sea views. The Hills Course routing passes old olive trees and stunning ravines that carve deep into the Kinigou hills. 

This year marks the first full season for the ultra-luxury Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino, which joins W Costa Navarino, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, and The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, as well as the first full season for Navarino Agora, a vibrant marketplace open to guests and locals.

“Fulfilling the ambition of ship owner and keen environmentalist Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos to create a sustainable tourism development in his home region of Messinia, the last 14 years have seen ‘The Captain’s’ vision become a glorious reality, with Costa Navarino considered a flagship for modern golf resort development,” said Ashington. 


Finca Cortison

The international golf spotlight shone brightly on Finca Cortesin when the luxury resort on Spain’s Costa del Sol hosted last year’s Solheim Cup. José Ignacio Olea, most recently general manager at the Troon Privé-managed Santa Maria Golf & Country Club in Panama, returned to his native Spain this past January as director of golf at Finca Cortesin. “In the global scene, the Solheim Cup coverage was instrumental to showcase the quality of Finca Cortesin and the level of commitment to provide the best possible setting for such a unique event,” he said. “This resulted in very positive feedback about the resort, which combined with the unparalleled Spanish sun and the tremendous golf displayed by both teams.”

Finca Cortesin’s reputation as a premier luxury destination has remained consistent since opening in 2006, with visiting golfers enjoying an immaculate course that moves through valleys and over hilly terrain. Playing conditions reflect a strong commitment to both innovation and sustainability. “We irrigate the golf course with 100 percent recycled water, and we were the first golf course in Spain to introduce Bermuda grass on its greens,” said Olea. He also points to the fact that the resort installed bird feeders and established their own bee colonies as part of an effort to maintain a healthy ecological balance.

“But most importantly, we are in constant and proactive review of the best practices available through the golf facility and the entire resort.”


Al Houara

The Al Houara Golf Course, located just southwest of Tangier, is part of the Al Houara Resort, which offers luxury accommodations and amenities along the Atlantic coast of Morocco. “The Al Houara Golf Course is renowned for its amazing views and challenging layout,” said Al Houara Golf Club Director Mounim Ghetreff. “It is set amidst breathtaking coastal landscapes, with a broad panorama of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding natural beauty. The designers (Graham Marsh and Vijay Singh) have integrated the natural terrain and vegetation into the course design, creating a visually stunning and environmentally harmonious setting.” 

One of the many memorable holes is No. 13, thanks to its dramatic sea views, while the greens feature subtle breaks. The facility also includes a nine-hole course lit for night play. 

According to Ghetreff, non-golf activities at the resort are plentiful. Those include visiting nearby beaches; water sports such as surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and paddleboarding; and exploring the rich history and cultural heritage of nearby Tangier, including historic sites such as the Kasbah Museum and the Medina (old town) with its bustling markets and traditional Moroccan architecture. Or you could simply enjoy the amenities at The Hilton Al Houara, which include spa and wellness facilities where guests can relax and rejuvenate with massages.


The Grove 

Even while celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2023, The Grove showed no signs of slowing down. A multi-year, multi-faceted renovation program across the property concluded with a refurbishment of accommodations in the historic Mansion building, while the golf facility received a new fleet of carts fitted with built-in Bluetooth speakers, new locker rooms, an extended terrace, and a refurbished courtyard. 

Plus, to kick off 2024, the greenkeeping team carried out a major six-week project that included new sand in all bunkers to enhance the playability of the course, according to Director of Golf Joel Westwell.

“From a wider hotel point of view, we have a host of activities geared toward family fun,” Westwell said, “including our Secret Garden cinema, our popular pool, bike rides, archery lessons, and more. The Sequoia Spa is also a favorite spot for relaxation and well being.”

Another favorable asset for one of Britain’s most luxurious destinations is its location. “We are approximately 25 minutes from Heathrow Airport, 30 minutes from Luton Airport, and a short car journey away from Watford Junction railway station, which can have guests capturing all that London has to offer in less than 45 minutes from leaving their hotel room,” said Westwell. “Despite being so close to London, once you pass the gates and journey down the winding driveway, you  really  feel like you are in the middle of the English countryside with peace and tranquility in abundance.”


Al Mouj 

Troon International golf courses are frequent hosts of professional tournaments, but earlier this year was an especially exciting time for a foursome of courses in the Middle East. 

The team at Al Hamra Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates, led by General Manager Paul Booth and Superintendent Dindy Macatlang, successfully hosted the Ras Al Khaimah Championship on the DP World Tour in January. The course looked great as Thorbjorn Olesen won by six shots with an overall score of 27-under-par.

Extensive course enhancements undertaken last year shined brightly at the Royal Golf Club in Bahrain when it hosted its first DP World Tour event in 13 years this past February. Well done to all associates, led by General Manager Juan Manuel Perez and Superintendent Jamie Faulkner. The Bahrain Championship presented by Bapco Energies was won by Dylan Frittelli with a score of -13.

The newest addition to Troon International, Al Mouj Golf (pictured above) in Muscat, Oman, showcased its outstanding course by hosting The International Series Oman on the Asian Tour in February.  A team led by Troon’s Paul Dennis, Club Manager Mubarak Hill, and Superintendent Steve Johnson created a perfect setting and ambiance for a global audience that saw Carlos Ortiz edge ahead of a strong field for the win. 

In March, LIV Golf Jeddah returned to Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Saudi Arabia for the third consecutive year. Joaquin Niemann won the individual championship while Bryson DeChambeau, Paul Casey, Charles Howell III, and Anirban Lahiri combined to capture team honors.