The best stay-and-play havens have it all, but first and foremost, they offer a pinch-me level of fairways and greens so perfect players’ greatest challenge is coping with giddy distraction.
Beyond the gawk-worthy golf itself, high-quality golf resorts need to offer refined food and beverage choices alongside a wide variety of après golf amenities and enticements. A well-stocked pro shop, free practice balls, and GPS-enabled cars are just amuse-bouches in the feast these resorts provide.
The golf resorts on this list don't just strive to shoot for par.
They aim to exceed even the most stubbornly high expectation of visiting players. Whether you’re seeking a pins & fins holiday on the coast, a few guys gambling and golf weekend in Vegas, or searching some sensational rounds on top-flight courses along with plush accommodations, this list has you covered.
Twenty-One Of North America's Most Luxurious Golf Resorts
Bandon Dunes, Coos County, Oregon
<a href="http://www.bandondunesgolf.com/" target="_hplink">Bandon Dunes</a>, Coos County, Oregon This rugged and remote, wind-swept Oregonian treasure embodies the spirit of storied Scottish Links where golfer’s bump and run game will certainly be put to the test. On these five dune strewn layouts, creativity and strategy will always trump raw unbridled power. Après Golf: After a round Bandonistas, refuel at <a href="http://www.bandondunesgolf.com/pages/mckee_s_pub/54.php" target="_blank">Mckees</a> for a single malt scotch and some proper pub grub. All the staples of tavern cuisine are here from bangers and mash to braised lamb stew and corn beef & cabbage.
Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach, California
Most legendary courses have to wait at least a decade between hosting a U.S. Open, but this<a href="http://www.pebblebeach.com/" target="_hplink"> sun-splashed abode</a> proves the exception. Too gorgeous for the <a href="http://www.usga.org/default.aspx" target="_hplink">United States Gold Association</a>, this resort shouldn't be indebt to golf’s typical collared-shirt community. Après Golf: A haunt of the rich and the famous, there’s always something brewing at Pebble Beach and next door neighbour Carmel-by-the-Sea, the tiny cultural and literary haven stuffed with restaurants and boutiques. Bring your dog along, he's welcome here, but leave your high heels at home they’re actually prohibited by <a href="http://news.travel.aol.com/2010/09/07/carmel-mythbusters/" target="_hplink">Carmel law</a>.
French Lick, French Lick, Indiana
Hoosier nation’s vacation destination recently underwent a half-billion renovation and expansion that added a 51,000 square-foot casino, the restoration of the 1917 Donald Ross Course and the addition of the gargantuan 7,406-meter Pete Dye Course. Après Golf: Soak in a <a href="http://www.frenchlick.com/spas/frenchlick/bathsandhydrotherapy" target="_hplink">Pluto bath</a>, mineral water hydrotherapy popular in Indiana for over a century. Then take a historical tour of the West Baden Springs Hotel—the Chicago Cubs trained here the last time they won the World Series back in 1907.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper, Alberta
The Rockies' chill vibe is apparent from the moment you <a href="http://www.fairmont.com/jasper/" target="_hplink">drive into this resort</a> and see Parks Canada workers driving elk off the road with hockey sticks. Once on the immaculately groomed golf course, you are removed from the trappings of modern society. Bears stroll across the fairways adding to the magnificence and alpine charm of this Stanley Thompson classic. The Aubrey Plaza of golf courses—Jasper Park Lodge is pretty with devilish sense of wit. Après Golf: Leisurely paddle a canoe in sparkling still as glass Lac Beauvert or just stare at its enchanting waters from the comfort of an Adirondack chair.
Primland, Meadows Of Dan, Virginia
The <a href="http://primland.com/golf/" target="_hplink">Highland Course at Primland</a> is a Donald Steel modern marvel. This stunning Southern Virginia layout traces the contours of a finger of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Greens come snug right up against dramatically steep overlooks of the Dan River Gorge, over a thousand feet below. Après Golf: Budding astronomers can partake in<a href="http://primland.com/activities/stargazing/" target="_hplink"> a Tour of the Universe</a> and gaze at shimmering constellations from the lodge’s Celestron CGE Pro 1400 telescope housed in a converted grain silo.
Pinehurst, Pinehurst, North Carolina
This grand-old North Carolinian dame has been attracting golfers since 1895. North America's largest golf resort features eight tracks to play including <a href="http://www.pinehurst.com/nc-golf-courses.php" target="_hplink">the famed No. 2</a>, set to host its third U.S. Open in June 2014. Après Golf: The town of Pinehurst was designed by <a href="http://www.nps.gov/frla/index.htm" target="_hplink">Frederick Law Olmsted</a>, the father of American landscape architecture whose résumé also includes New York City’s Central Park. Stroll through the quaint cottage lined streets that flow outward in a radial pattern, centred on the town square.
The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
West Virginia’s premiere golf club is home to a trio Championship golf courses including, the Old White TPC, home of the PGA TOUR’s Greenbrier Classic. Après Golf: Amenities at this luxurious abode offer everything from croquet and tennis to romantic <a href="http://www.greenbrier.com/Activities/Outdoor-Activities/Carriage-Sleigh-Rides.aspx" target="_hplink">carriage rides</a> and <a href="http://www.greenbrier.com/Activities/Outdoor-Activities/Falconry.aspx" target="_hplink">falconry lessons</a>. Be sure to take a tour of The Bunker and relive Cold War history in this clandestine emergency fallout shelter for the United States Congress.
The Boulders, Carefree, Arizona
The <a href="http://waldorfastoria3.hilton.com/en/hotels/arizona/the-boulders-a-waldorf-astoria-resort-PHXRSWA/index.html" target="_hplink">Valley of the Sun's desert golf</a> is served hot with a pair of Jay-Morrish-designed beauties on the menu. These parched links offer sweeping views of the surrounding desert dreamscape highlighted by the stunning granite rock formations that give the resort its namesake. When hunting wayward tee shots in the rough, be wary of teddy-bear cholla and other prickly succulents a lot less cuddly than they sound. Après Golf: This Waldorf Astoria resort features a 5,280-square foot organic garden complete with an outdoor kitchen that offers al fresco cooking classes.
The Sanctuary At Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah, South Carolina
Ninety holes of Championship golf <a href="http://www.kiawahresort.com/accommodations/the-sanctuary-hotel" target="_blank">are on tap here</a>, including the famous Pete & Alice Dye designed Ocean Course, host of the 1991 Ryder Cup (aka <em>The War on the Shore</em>) and the 2012 PGA Championship. Varying wind strength on this storied, Atlantic-Shoreline-hugging course can make club selection very tricky. The course was featured prominently in Robert Redford’s <em>The Legend of Bagger Vance</em>. Après Golf: Unwind on Kiawah's romantic, unspoiled beaches and also make time to explore the world class dining and historic architecture of the Charleston peninsula.
The American Club, Kohler, Wisconsin
Golfers have long known there’s more too the Kohler experience than perusing trendy faucets and plumbing fixtures. This AAA/CAA five diamond is home to a foursome of bold looking beauties that have collectively hosted the U.S. Women’s Open, The PGA Championship, and the U.S. Senior Open. Après Golf: When in Kohler, you’d be remiss if you neglected to visit the Kohler Design Center and scope out that latest kitchen and bath galleries. An <a href="http://www.us.kohler.com/us/Industry-in-Action-Factory-Tours/content/CNT400040.htm" target="_hplink">“Industry in Action</a>” factory tour is a must for <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0835010/" target="_hplink">"How It’s Made"</a> fans.
Pursell Farms, Sylacauga, Alabama
Golfing and hunting have long been bosom buddies at the top of the male bonding ritual scale and this beautiful hideaway where putter and rifle go toe to muzzle offers the best of both worlds. Situated on 3,500 acres of pristine plantation land,<a href="http://www.farmlinks.org/" target="_blank"> Pursell Farms </a>offers PGA-calibre conditioning that has golf course superintendants from top courses around the globe flocking here to brush up on their turfgrass game. Après Golf: Hook a bream in Lake Christine or get your camo on for a guided turkey, dove, quail, or duck hunt.
Four Seasons Punta Mita, Nayarit, Mexico
Bordering Banderas Bay and the Pacific Ocean with the stoic Sierra Madre mountains in the backdrop, <a href="http://www.fourseasons.com/puntamita/" target="_blank">this tropical playground </a>is as alluring a bucket list destination for divers and surfers as it is to golfers. You'll need a boat to access the island green on Pacifco’s optional par 3, "Tail of the Whale", during high tide. Après Golf: November to March is prime surfing season with lessons on how to hang ten available for new comers.
Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Mexico’s lone PGA Tour stop takes place at this luxe resort’s neighboring El Camaleón course, a Greg Norman thrill ride that kisses the Caribbean Sea. Make time to hone your game at the Jim Mclean golf school. Après Golf: Indulge in primo R&R at the <a href="http://www.fairmont.com/mayakoba-riviera-maya/willow-stream/" target="_hplink">Willow Stream Spa </a>or upgrade your culinary skills with a cooking lesson and take the taste of Mexico back home.
Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Walking through the chiming of <a href="http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/" target="_hplink">slot-filled floor</a> before ending up in a remarkably tranquil 6,439 meter Fazio layout with gleaming skyscraping hotels of the strip in the background is a trippy experience. Transitioning from golf back to the casino though is aided by the waterfall on the 18th that you walk through to return to the clubhouse. Après Golf: Forget about that long putt that stopped a centimeter short of the hole by playing a lively game of craps where the dice always roll true.
Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, Key Biscayne, Florida
Five minutes away from this swanky hotel is the <a href="http://www.golfcrandon.com/" target="_hplink">Crandon Golf Course</a>. If you suffer from first tee shyness, you may need a mulligan on the first hole of this spectacular island tract which offers incredible view of the Miami skyline. The course begins with a daunting 509-meter dogleg-left with a forced carry over water. Après Golf: Listen to some tunes and sip on a vast selection of cachacas and piscos at Rum Bar.
Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui Hawaii
Home of the <a href="http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/hyundai-tournament-of-champions.html" target="_hplink">PGA’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions</a>, Kapalua’s Plantation Course and Bay Course offers ocean views on sixteen of its holes while set amidst a 23,000-acre pineapple plantation. Après Golf: If you’re toting the kiddies along, the onsite Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment is an onsite environmental education center with eco-adventures led by trained naturalists.
Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
The crown jewel of the Sea Pines trio of fine golf courses is the Pete Dye-designed masterpiece <a href="https://www.seapines.com/golf/harbour-town-golf-links.aspx" target="_hplink">Harbour Town.</a> The course hosts the annual RBC Heritage tournament and awards a distinctive, plaid jacket to the winner. Warning to John Daly acolytes: gripping it and ripping it here is not the way to go, there is a hefty premium on ball placement and finesse over pure ball-striking brawn. Après Golf: Hop on a cruiser bike and roll over Hilton Head’s 19 kilometres of pristine bleach-white beaches. At low tide there is a wide swath of hard-packed sand making for easy peddling with the ocean breeze at your back.
Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa, Austin, Texas
The <a href="http://www.austintexas.org/visit/music-scene/" target="_hplink">live music capital of the world</a> also has some killer golf tracks. Lost Pines’ <a href="http://www.wolfdancergolfclub.com/" target="_hplink">Wolfdancer</a> weaves in a trio of over 530-metre par five's, which unfurl with more dramatic flare than Kevin Costner's "Dance's With Wolves". Après Golf: Cowboy up at the property’s Renegade Trailhead where in addition to horseback riding, guest can try their hand at trap shooting and bass fishing excursions.
The Resort At Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, California
Here's a resort with <a href="http://www.pelicanhill.com/" target="_blank">54 holes of vivid, verdant, lushly landscaped golf </a>designed by Tom Fazio. With panoramic Pacific Ocean views and sailboats silently gliding by, this is lap of leisure golf at its finest. Après Golf: Tuesday nights the Pelican Grill caters to epicurean palates with lobster thermidor, chateaubriand, duck à l'orange and other gourmand favourites.
Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa, Wallace, Nova Scotia
This stunning CAA/AAA,<a href="http://www.foxharbr.com/" target="_blank"> four diamond award-winning property</a> on Nova Scotia’s north shore offers magnificent maritime golf with towering spruce trees, rock lined lakes and the rugged beauty of the Northumberland Strait on full display. Après Golf: Keep your aim game sharp by blasting sporting clays. In the fall, avid sportsmen can stalk ring-necked pheasant and Hungarian partridge on the property’s 350-acre private hunting reserve.
Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic
Teeth of the Dog, The Links, and Dye Fore maybe the most sublime courses Pete Dye and his LPGA Hall of Famer wife, Alice, ever concocted. Natural Caribbean beauty at every turn—curvy, undulating fairways that roll past breathtaking craggy coral shorelines make it difficult to keep your focus on the ball. Après Golf: If you’ve ever fancied actually playing the sport emblazoned on your favourite collared Ralph Lauren top, polo lessons can be booked at their <a href="http://www.casadecampo.com.do/sports-excursions/equestrian" target="_hplink">equestrian centre</a>.
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