The world's best golf resorts - the Top 20

Once there were just a handful of golf resorts to buy property on but today there are hundreds spread across the globe. But which ones do we think are the best?PGA Catalunya course near Barcelona in Spain

It is hard to say why or when the first person cooked up the idea of melding sun, golf, holiday homes and hotels into a single resort. But one of the first and best golf resorts in Europe to be built was Vale do Lobo on Portugal’s Algarve.

This secluded development in a valley near Faro took its inspiration from Wentworth in Surrey, a 'gentleman's retreat' built in 1924 and, while Vale do Lobo’s first golf course, villas and hotel weren't built until the early 1960s, it has grown into one of the world’s largest resorts with hundreds of golf properties, restaurants and two hotels.

Developments very similar to Vale do Lobo and Wentworth now straddle the globe from the unlikely (Humber Valley in Newfoundland) to the most predictable (the dozens found along the Costa del Sol and Portugal’s Algarve). But they all offer one thing – an upmarket holiday resort feel where you can own a golf villa or apartment and play on a private course.

While such luxury golf resorts are anathema to anyone who thinks golf is a good walk spoilt, to many people they offer an ideal mix of their favourite sport as well as a safe, often traffic-free family environment near the sea augmented by the refinements of a four or five star hotel on site.

It is unsurprising that the world’s celebrities have flocked to their gated seclusion including a range of English footballers such as David Seaman and Paul Scholes at Parque da Floresta in Portugal, and high profile TV stars including Chris Evans at Quinta de Lago, also in Portugal.

But frivolity and fame aside, which are the best golf resorts in the world both for location, quality of property and brilliant but challenging golf? We asked veteran golfer, writer and TV producer Peter Swain, who has played at many of the best golf resorts, to judge, collate and reveal the best. Here are the results - listed in the right hand column.