Avid golfers don’t just fit a round of golf into their vacation—golf is their vacation. If you’re willing to spend a little green for a long weekend on the green, here are a few of Golf Digest’s favorite places in the U.S. to play and sleep. Most of these grown-up playgrounds boast deluxe accommodations, full-scale spa facilities, and pristine surroundings.
- Pebble Beach Golf Resort
- Bandon Dunes Resort
- The American Club
- Sea Island, The Cloister & Lodge
- The Greenbrier
- Pinehurst Resort
- Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
- Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay
- The Homestead
- The Boulders
Pebble Beach, California
Play: The ocean plays a major role in the 18th hole of the famed golf course.
Stay: Three resort properties, five-star spa facilities, delectable cuisine, and arguably the country’s best golf course makes Pebble Beach a special destination whether you’re a golfer or not. www.pebblebeach.com
Play: Befitting the Scottish tradition that inspired the courses’ design, golf carts are not offered on any of the resort’s three courses. A caddie will set you back $50.
Stay: Offering private cottages and four-bedroom suites, this secluded Southern Oregon resort is an especially good choice for a getaway with your favorite golf partners. The resort’s low-key nightlife is just right for those looking to enjoy a local microbrew and a game of pool with good friends. www.bandondunes.com
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Play: Who knew Wisconsin could be so hot? Four terrific courses (including Whistling Straits) have made Kohler the heartland’s golfing heartthrob.
Stay: A day of golfing or relaxing? It’s a toss-up at one of the Midwest’s most luxurious hotel. Massage and a variety of hydrotherapy treatments could keep one happy enough for hours. www.destinationkohler.com
Sea Island, Georgia
Play: Well-respected golfers Davis Love III and Tom Fazio have both had a hand in developing and updating the three courses at Sea Island.
Stay: This grand coastal resort boasts spacious rooms in its Spanish-Mediterranean-style hotel, but for more secluded luxury opt for a Cloister Cottage. Indulge in a Georgia Mud Pie Wrap Soak at the resort’s world-famous spa. www.seaisland.com
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Play: The Greenbrier course, one of three on the property, is the only public course to play host to a Ryder Cup and a Solheim Cup.
Stay: Surrounded by 6,500 acres, the Greenbrier’s main building was built in 1760. Boredom is physically impossible here; the resort offers an exhausting roster of recreational activities, including horseback riding, falconry, and bowling. www.greenbrier.com
Pinehurst, North Carolina
Play: There are eight courses at Pinehurst each simply numbered. Despite major renovations to the No. 6 course directed by Tom Fazio in 2005, the No. 2 course remains the biggest draw.
Stay: The resort features three inns—the elegant Carolina, the cozy Holly Inn, and The Manor, which feels more like a sportsman’s lodge than a hotel. The state-of-the-art spa offers separate services for teens and kids. www.pinehurst.com
The Big Island, Hawaii
Play: Jack Nicklaus designed the resort’s 18-hole golf course, which runs right along the Pacific and hosts the Senior PGA Tournament of Champions.
Stay: Beautiful views everywhere, polished wood floors, warm earth and cool white tones, and Hawaiian artwork make Hualalai a peaceful retreat. The resort is super kid-friendly, with a great activities program. www.fourseasons.com/hualalai.
Play: This course boasts outstanding panoramic view of the ocean, which serves as a water hazard on three holes.
Stay: A significant renovation of the hotel is under way and will continue throughout 2006. The effort should enhance the already plush accommodations. www.fourseasons.com/manelebay.
Hot Springs, Virginia
Play: The resort’s Old Course, laid out in 1892, includes the oldest tee in continuous use in the United States. Backdropped by the Alleghany Mountains, the Cascades Course is beautiful during the turning of the leaves in the fall.
Stay: From the glorious columns of the entry hall to the stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains, magnificence surrounds guests here from the first moment to the last. An orchestra plays nightly in the formal dining room, where continental cuisine and regional specialties are offered in its six-course extravaganzas. www.thehomestead.com
Play: Jay Moorish designed both of the resort’s championship courses, which wind through the boulder-strewn Sonoran Desert landscape. Schedule a late afternoon tee time to catch the intensely colorful sunsets.
Stay: Casitas snuggled against the rocks have exposed log-beam ceilings and curved, pueblo-style half-walls and shelves. Each has a patio with a view, a wood-burning fireplace, and a spacious bathroom with deep soaking tub. Unusual offerings include guided meditation with a shaman and night-vision goggles for exploring nocturnal wildlife. www.theboulders.com.
Find a complete list of the country’s top courses in Golf Digest Best Places to Play.