7 Great American Golf Resort Experiences
There are more than 15,500 golf courses in the U.S. so choice is never an issue in this golf loving nation. If you want to play at the nation’s best resorts, we’ve narrowed the search to seven of our favorites. To be sure, there are several other phenomenal golf resort experiences in the U.S., but our list shines through as “The Magnificent Seven”.
The American Club (Kohler, Wisconsin) — Posh accommodations, a one-of-a-kind world-class spa, award-winning restaurants and four championship golf courses dominate the luxury “Pure Americana” experience at this Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond hotel. Founded in 1918 by former Kohler Co. President Walter J. Kohler, Sr., the American Club’s hallways are dotted with display antiques from the town’s amazing history. Four phenomenal Pete Dye designed courses are available for play highlighted by Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. Enhancing the experience is the luxurious Kohler Waters Spa and a 500-acre private nature preserve.
Bandon Dunes (Oregon) — Stretching along dramatic Pacific Ocean coastline on rugged and wild cliffs, Bandon Dunes is a golf purist’s dream come true. Envision the spectacular seaside links experiences in Ireland and Scotland and you’ll get an image of what playing at Bandon Dunes is like. It’s a walking-only golf resort and you have access to some of the best caddies available anywhere. The complex is comprised of courses designed by David McLay Kidd, Tom Doak, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. There are four fantastic championship layouts (Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails and Old MacDonald), Bandon Preserve, a unique 13-hole par three and The Punchbowl, a 100,000 square-foot putting course. A variety of accommodations are available ranging from rooms at The Lodge and Inn to spacious 4-bedroom units at the Grove Cottages.
Pebble Beach Resorts (Monterey Peninsula, California) — An enviable golf haven since 1919, the Lodge at Pebble Beach which overlooks the 18th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, is pure golf traveler’s nirvana. Stunning views from the back verandah of the 18th hole and the Pacific Ocean and wood-burning fireplaces in rooms are at the heart of this hotel’s appeal. In addition to the Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of the game’s most iconic courses, other play opportunities include the Links at Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill Golf Course. There are other accommodations at the Inn at Spanish Bay, a beautiful hotel nestled in Monterey pines and fronted by a golf course. When the final putt has been sunk for the day, activities like the 17-mile drive and the charming Carmel-By-The-Sea village give golfers and non-golfers lots of choices to have fun.
PGA National Resort & Spa (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) — Set in a beautifully landscaped 2,340-acre resort/residential community, this resort is a golfaholic’s dream come true. The resort has five championship golf courses with designer tags like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio and Arnold Palmer. The headliner layout is the Champion Course, a long, tough course that has hosted a Ryder Cup and and PGA Senior Championship and is currently home to the the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. The Champion’s fifteenth through seventeenth holes, which are called the “Bear Trap”, comprise one of Florida’s toughest stretches of holes. The eighteenth is a double dogleg par-5 with water and bunkers on both side of the snakelike fairway–a final, unforgettable farewell from Nicklaus. The 379-room hotel features rooms with 42 inch flat-screen televisions and resort amenities like spectacular restaurants and an expansive spa with more than 100 treatments.
Pinehurst (North Carolina) — Home to the legendary Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst has an engaging golf lifestyle, classic southern inns and resorts, a charming village and more than 40 golf courses. In Pinehurst, you’re not bombarded by billboards, rather you have quiet country lanes dotted with large shade trees giving the area a Disney-like orderliness. The luxurious, historic and timeless Pinehurst Resort is home to nine golf courses, including the heralded No.2, a magnificent Donald Ross design that has hosted major championships and every great golfer from Bobby Jones and Arnold Palmer to Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. You can soak up the history at after-the-round watering holes like the Donald Ross Grill, 91st hole and Ryder Cup Lounge.
Sea Pines Resort (Hilton Head Island, South Carolina) — Situated in Sea Pines Plantation, a 5,200-acre private, residential, gated community on the southern tip of the island, the resort is home to three world-class courses–Harbour Town Golf Links, Heron Point by Pete Dye and the Ocean Course, a Mark McCumber design. The celebrated Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage tournament, has the elegance of Augusta National, the pine scented ambiance of Pinehurst and the water panorama excitement of the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. This Pete Dye gem, with its tight fairways and small greens, is the ultimate golf skills test. Better still, there’s nothing quite like walking up the 18th fairway with the views of the candy striped lighthouse in the distance behind the green. Accommodations are comprised of the 60-room Inn at Harbour Town and home and villa rentals (2 to 7 bedrooms).
Streamsong Resort (Near Lakeland, Florida) — One of the most talked about resorts in the past few years, Streamsong is a luxury property located between Tampa and Orlando near Lakeland. Set on formerly mined land, the courses incorporate hills, dramatic landforms, sweeping sand dunes, ridges and vistas. There is very little to compare Streamsong to because of the unusual, un-Florida like terrain. The two 18-hole championship golf courses (The Blue and The Red) feature collaborative designs by highly respected golf architecture firms, Coore & Crenshaw (Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw) and Renaissance Golf Design (Tom Doak). Enhancing the experience is the new 216-room luxury lakeside lodge that opened in early 2014. Designed by renowned architect Alberto Alfonso, the hotel is a sleek, innovative structure brimming with amenities like a full-service spa, lakeside pool, three restaurants, 18,000 square feet of meeting space and a rooftop verandah for viewing sunsets and star gazing.