The Masters Tournament – the first of the year’s four major professional golf championships – tees off on April 11. But if you’re like most fans, you won’t get your golf fix seeing it greenside in Augusta, Georgia.
Which is fine. Why watch others play when you can do it yourself? There are all sorts of alluring destinations where golfers can put their vacation savings to work. If you’re planning your summer vacation, and looking to get your golf fix by spending a few days on the green, take a look at some of today’s top golf resorts.
All-Around Best Resorts
Depending on who you ask, a number of golf resorts out there deserve to be ranked best. For CNN Travel, “the best golf resort in the world” is the eight-course Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Several courses there consistently rank among America’s best, the site says. Pinehurst’s No. 2 course is known for its challenges: “Its upturned saucer greens are renowned for deflecting approach shots into bunkers and greenside rough, and for making putting very difficult,” says CNN.
Of the three hotels at Pinehurst, CNN ranks The Carolina as best, singling out its “first-class” rooms and “superb” spa and breakfast buffet. And speaking of food, CNN notes that eight restaurants at the resort serve “mouth-watering” dishes.
Meanwhile, the Bandon Dunes golf resort in Bandon, Oregon has taken Golf.com’s top spot in its list of premier resorts. Golf.com cites the course’s “inspired layouts, cliff-top setting and walking-only policy” for making Bandon Dunes “one of the world’s best golf experiences.”
Off the course, Bandon also scores highly in Golf.com’s ratings, placing fourth in the service category and 12th in lodging, as well as food and drink.
If your golf excursion is more about bonding with colleagues or friends rather than family, note that the Bandon area also takes top honors in Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s Best Buddies-Trip Destinations.
Top Scoring Resort in a Reader’s Poll
If you’re looking for advice from the masses, the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, California, received the highest score among golf resorts in Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
“This Orange County resort with ‘stunning scenery’ and Palladian architecture is ‘near perfection for golfers, spa-goers, and foodies,’” writes Condé Nast Traveler, citing reader comments. “‘The over-the-top villas have all the amenities you can imagine,’ Italian-limestone fireplaces, travertine flooring, wood-beam ceilings, and ‘truly striking vistas.’” In noting the ocean view at the resort’s Ocean South Course, the magazine also sings the praises of The Tuscan Andrea restaurant, which, readers say, is “like the best Italian restaurant in Italy – only located in the U.S.”
Best Ocean-View Resort
No one wants to be distracted during a game of golf – unless, of course, it’s by stunning scenery. Business Insider’s list of “Golf Courses With Killer Ocean Views” is full of breathtaking options, but one in particular caught our eye: The Makena Beach & Golf Resort in Maui, Hawaii. “As the highest-elevated course on Maui’s south shore, the Makena Golf Course gives players stunning views of Mount Haleakala, the island’s dormant volcano, and the Molokini and Lanai islands,” Business Insider says.
Best Golf City
Looking for a town that feels like it was created for long afternoons on the green? If so, check out the Top 20 Cities For Golf from Golf Digest. Coming in at number one: Dallas/Fort Worth. According to the magazine, researchers weighed factors such as, “climate (average temperature and rainfall, number of playable days, etc.), cost (average green fees in high and low seasons), amount of public courses, quality of public courses…and accessibility (number of active golfers versus number of courses).” Given the popularity of golf in The Big D, you might want to schedule a tee time now: The area has roughly half a million golfers, according to Golf Digest.
Do you vacation at golf resorts? What kind of sports facilities do you look for when you book a trip?