The home of golf in the United States is a hotly debated topic, but Charleston can actually lay claim to the nation’s first golf course and golf club–Harleston Green and the South Carolina Golf Club, both of which were established in 1786. And while Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head may be the main golfing destinations in the Palmetto State, Charleston also possesses its own rich golfing culture.
In 1898, Samuel Mills Damon, a wealthy Hawaiian banker, built Hawaii’s first official 18-hole golf course. Even though it was on his estate, Damon didn’t charge any greens fees. A nice gesture, but the free rounds didn’t last long. Three years into its operation, Damon’s son made the course semiprivate and, because of the warm, tropical climate, lopped off nine of its holes. Playing 18, it seems, was just too hot to handle.
From Cabo to Cancun, golf south of the border is hard to beat
Golf in Mexico isn’t as storied as it is in Scotland or Ireland. It isn’t as sexy as it is in Hawaii or as dreamy as its Caribbean counterpart. But this much is true: South of the border, the game and all of its resort trappings attract more American and Canadian golfers than any other international golf destination. In 2003, nearly three-quarter-million determined duffers made their way to first tees, from Los Cabos to Cancun.
The mountain West, which incorporates the rugged terrain of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to the Sierra Nevadas of California, Utah and upward to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is quite possibly the most diverse outdoor playground in the United States. Literally every kind of recreation is found here, ranging from winter skiing and white-water rafting to horseback riding, hiking, fishing and, of course, golf.
Myrtle Beach is one of those places that exists in pure dichotomy, where it seems you can be in two completely different places at the same time. On one hand, you have a jillion high-end golf courses to pick and choose from, most of which rival the best golf courses along the eastern seaboard. Several present not only a dazzling setting and an exciting challenge, but also a warm sense of southern hospitality, charm, class and sophistication. On the other hand, Myrtle Beach can be just as enticing off course, that is, if wearing a bib and chowing down on crabmeat or throwing back a pitcher of beer (or two) with your buddies is high on your list of things to do.
The North Carolina Destination Is A Sandhills Sensation
Nestled in the Sandhills of central North Carolina lies a roughly triangular area encompassing the villages of Southern Pines, Aberdeen and the quaint little walking village of Pinehurst (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also created New York’s Central Park) and Pinehurst Resort. The center of Pinehurst-area golf is, and always has been, the Resort’s world-renowned #2 course. Today the area is home to 43 excellent courses and counting. It’s known as the “Home of American Golf.”
Coastal Georgia and South Carolina supply great golf with a Southern charm. Florida supplies great golf with everything else.
Perhaps no other region in the country has such a varied and stunning definition as the great Southeast. Depending on who you are and where you’re from, the states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina probably have a different meaning to you. Take a 13-year-old kid from Wisconsin, for example, and Florida to him is all about thrill rides, waterslides and Jet Skis. To a middle-aged boating enthusiast from New York, the region is paradise for power boating, deep-sea fishing and sailing.
Earlier this summer, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced the 2007 Tour schedule. It was a moment many golf fans were anticipating, as the details of the long-awaited FedEx Cup, a NASCAR-like season-long point race, were revealed.
Golf’s newest darling–as far as course developments are concerned–is the state of New Mexico. As Indian gaming continues to explode in popularity, so, too, has the new cluster of golf courses built on or near several Indian reservations throughout the aptly dubbed “Enchanted State.”
Like the mists that blow in off the Irish Sea, a sense of mystery tends to shroud golf in Northern Ireland. Indeed, the country itself possesses an aura of the unknown, particularly with Americans. It’s not as if the courses here are completely unknown, it’s just that they tend to be overshadowed by their more famous neighbors in Scotland, The Republic of Ireland and England. However, Northern Ireland has not only a rich golf history of its own, but also a collection of links layouts that stand up to any of its more heralded British Isles’ mates. Two, in particular, are capable of challenging for the title of best links course in the world: Royal County Down and Royal Portrush.