Looking for a great golf getaway? Aren’t we all. I often have conversations with my buddies about where we want to go on this year’s trip. We inevitably get bogged down in a plethora of choices and it takes us weeks to research packages, night-life, transportation, flights, etc. So I thought, why don’t I share all the work we have done right here on this website.
The best golf trip destinations are not always what you think, but a lot of times they are. For the purpose of this article I did not take price into consideration. This is all about quality trips with your golf buddies, and besides, way too many variables to be accurate.
If you ever have specifics on a trip (dates, where you’re coming from, where you plan to play, etc) you can always leave a comment and we will certainly get back to you with additional information.
So without further ado, let’s jump into our top 5.
#5. Traverse City, MI
This one may be a surprise for some, but it’s a winner in my book. The area is absolutely gorgeous, the city is a blast and the golf is magnificent. You won’t go wrong with this trip.
- The Bear – located at Grand Traverse Resort and was the first Jack Nicklaus design in the state of Michigan. This is a links style course.
- The Wolverine – also located at Grand Traverse and is a Gary Player design. Front 9 is thru wetlands and back 9 highlands.
- Spruce Run – also located at Grand Traverse. Parkland style course with tree lined fairways
- Arcadia Bluffs, The Bluffs – Built in 1999 and is one of the premierresort course in the Midwest and the flagship of northern Michigan golf.
- Arcadia Bluffs, The South Course – New in 2019. Designed by C.B. McDonald and Seth Raynor. Features include the square greens that many of you may have seen at The Women’s US Open hosted at Raynor’s Country Club of Charleston.
You have a few good choices here. It will all depend on what type of nightlife you’re looking for, how much driving you want to do and what amenities you want.
- Arcadia Bluffs Resort – Furthest from the airport and about 90 minutes from the 3 courses at Grand Traverse. The most expensive option but also includes the best amenities and food.
- Grand Traverse Resort – 3 of the 5 courses you will play are here. Drive to Arcadia is 90 minutes but if you play 36 that day you only have to do it once. Lower class resort than Arcadia but still has good amenities.
- Turtle Creek Casino – If there is on thing I know about serious golfers it’s that they like to gamble on and off the course. I’ll leave the rest for you to find out 😉
- Traverse City, Downtown – I saved this for last because it would be my choice. Located 20 minutes from the Grand Traverse courses and 60 minutes from Arcadia you don’t have a bad commute in either direction. You can stay right on the water and of wonderful views of Lake Michigan. Walking distance to many great bars and restaurants.
When You’re Not Golfing
This will depend on where you stay. The resorts offer your standard swimming and bars. Arcadia will have a beach and if you stay downtown Traverse you will also have the beach. The Traverse area is littered with microbreweries and has been rated by CNN Money as one of America’s best beer towns (just for some added motivation to stay downtown).
#4. Kohler, WI
If you’re visiting this site, this location probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. You’ll be playing courses that have hosted multiple majors, a US Amateur and a future Ryder Cup. As well as staying at one of the few 5 start golf resorts in the country. There will be some windshield time required, but it is worth it.
- Whistling Straits, The Straits – Host of the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships, the 2007 US Senior Open and the 2020 Ryder Cup. Enough said!
- Whistling Straits, The Irish – #43 in Golf Digest’s ‘America’s 100 best Public Courses’ so it’s a great compliment on the property.
- Blackwolf Run – A renowned Pete Dye design that hosted the 1998 and 2012 US Women’s open. Set in the Sheboygan River Valley and only 20 minutes from Whistling it’s a must play.
- Erin Hills – Site of the beginning of the amazing run we are watching Brooks Koepka on right now. Host of the 2011 US Amateur and the 2017 US Open. Also future host of 2022 US Mid-Am and 2025 US Women’s Open. It’s about a 90-minute drive from Whistling.
- The American Club – It’s really the only choice if you are going to do this trip right. It is a Five-Star, Five Diamond hotel. The food is incredible and the amenities and service match.
When You’re Not Golfing
The resort is so good you probably have no reason to leave. Destination Kohler is a pretty cool distraction though and is included for any guest staying at The American.
#3. Pinehurst, NC
Another that does not need much of an introduction. Pinehurst has been one of the best golf trip destinations since the turn of the 20th century. From the abundance of golf to the award-winning food and accommodations you can’t miss.
I won’t go through all 9, yes 9 courses, but I will treat you to some highlights. This is a hall of fame list of golf course architects that includes: Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones, Tom Fazio, and Jack Nicklaus. Redesigns have been done by Core/Crenshaw and Gil Hanse.
- Pinehurst # 2 – The center piece of the resort. You’ll probably have to pay a surcharge but there are too may championships the course has hosted to even list.
- Pinehurst # 4 – 2018 redesign by Gil Hanse, the redesign genius. It is currently more difficult to get a tee time here than on # 2.
- The Cradle – 9 hole short course designed by Hanse. A new and popular tradition popping up at resorts around the country.
- Thistle Dhu – Touted as the first ever miniature golf course and designed 1916. Great way to spend the twilight after a full day of golf. Grab a beverage of choice, through some money in the pot and enjoy!
- The Carolina Hotel – Signature lodging on the property boasting Four-Diamond guest rooms. Meals at the Carolina dining room are typically included with any package no matter where you stay.
- The Holly Inn – Pinehurst’s’s first hotel located in the heart of The Village. Opened in 1895.
- The Manor Inn – Very casual and includes suites and adjoining rooms. Currently closed for renovations, reopening August, 2019.
- The Condos – Great for families and groups.
When You’re Not Golfing
Unfortunately not a whole lot. Probably the only drawback of this trip. There are bars and restaurants so you won’t starve of go dry.
#2. Carmel/Monterey Peninsula, CA
As goes with our theme here, not a surprise or much of an intro needed. It’s probably the easiest of these five locales to travel to but also probably the most expensive. It’s too good of a trip to pass up though. I don’t know any golf enthusiast who doesn’t have this one on their bucket list.
- Pebble Beach – Often referred to as the most beautiful walk in golf. It is the #1 ranked public golf course in the country. Hosting their 6th US Open this week, the rest speaks for itself.
- Spyglass Hill – The greatest meeting of sand and trees. Annually one of the host course for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Co-hosted the US Amateur for the 2nd time in 2018.
- Pasatiempo – An hour north of Pebble on the coast. Designed by Alister MacKenzie who also designed a nice little course called Augusta National you may have heard of. Has many great views of nearby Monterey Bay.
- The Lodge at Pebble Beach – Just like with the trip to Kohler, this is the only choice if you want to do this trip right.
When You’re Not Golfing
Scenic 17-Mile Drive is a must. It’s $10.50 for admission, guessing that shouldn’t be a problem to split 4-ways. The scenery is incredible. As with the other destinations, the Lodge has everything you need to stay entertained.
#1. Bend, OR
This is # 1 on my list for a few reasons. It’s about as pure a golf experience as you can have in the US. In mu humble opinion it is also the only TRUE links golf in the country. This place is 100% about golf and only golf. The story behind the building, opening and expanding this property is incredible.
- Bandon Dunes – # 36 in Golf Dogest’s Top 100. The 1st of what will be 5 courses in 2020. Opened in 1999 and designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd. Ocean views are on almost every hole. be ready for some wind.
- Pacific Dunes – #17 in Golf Digest’s Top 100. Opened in 2001 and was designed by Tom Doak. Doak left much of the natural landscape in place during the design.
- Bandon Trails – #69 in Golf Digest’s Top 100. A Core/Crenshaw design that opened in 2005. The course begins a top the dunes and rolls into fantastic meadows and circles back to the dunes to finish. The hardest walk of the course, try not to play it on your second 18 of the day.
- Old MacDonald – #50 on Golf Digest’s Top 100. Designed by Tom Doak with legendary architect C.B. MacDonal’s work as his muse. Don’t miss on the wrong side of th greens on this one.
- The Preserve – Bandon’s short course, 13 holes of fun.
- The Punch Bowl – 100,000 square foot putting course with a walk up bar.
- Sheep Ranch – COMING IN 2020
- Lily Pond – Best value, but furthest from the golf.
- The Inn – Single or double rooms, located behind the 18th on Bandon Dunes.
- The Lodge – Suites are available but be aware, can get a little loud if your trying to sleep.
- The Grove – 4 bedroom cottages, great for a group. Each room has a queen bed and a private bath.
- Chrome Lake – 21 individual buildings with 4 double occupancy rooms in each. This also have 2 full bathrooms. One of my favorite things about staying at Bandon is that if you are rooming with someone you don’t have to wait for the shower.
When You’re Not Golfing
You have your standard resort amenities. A spa, hiking, walking, etc.
However, McKee’s Pub is where you should end up. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, good food and most importantly a bunch of golfers from all over the world to shoot the breeze with. Great vibe!
Golf Is An Amazing Journey
I’ve always believed that golf can teach you a lot about life. Taking on the adventure of a golf trip is a great experience and the journey along the way makes memories for a lifetime. On thing you’ll notice, other than the California trip none of these places are particularly easy to get to. I think that adds to the experience, a road trip with good buddies. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something along the way. I would love to hear about any of your golf journeys and your best golf trip destinations. Fell free to throw comments below!