Georgia Coast/Hilton Head/Charleston Are Golf Meccas All
The Civil War marks the darkest, most trying period in all of American history. It all began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter. The Union army surrendered the fort less than two days later. Journey by boat into Charleston Harbor and experience the isolation and vulnerability that those soldiers felt when hostilities erupted. A bonus of the trip is a wonderful view of Charleston from the water.
The common misperception is that all 100+ courses along the Grand Strand are right on top of each other. Not the case. (It’s not named the Grand Strand for nothing.) From the southern chunk of North Carolina to Georgetown County 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand (or as numerologists call it, Hwy. 17) stretches over 60 miles with golf courses that range from the sublime high-end daily fees to cheap munis. It seems there’s literally every type (and price range) available for all kinds of budgets and skill levels.
We know what you’re thinking. And while we’re somewhat guilty of taking pleasure in riding the Peter Pan and Dumbo rides, the Walt Disney World mecca is also home to some outstanding golf. There are 99 holes there, with top-rated golf courses that include the Magnolia and Palm, two courses that regularly play host to the PGA Tour every year. Say what you will about the theme parks, Walt Disney World has some awesome golf courses to boot.
Like Myrtle Beach and the Phoenix/Scottsdale areas, Palm Springs and its surrounding desert communities boast more than 100 golf courses. That list continues to grow. Last year, Escena, a new Nicklaus design, opened its doors for play. This year, Indian Wells debuts its first of two redesigns. The pros also head out to the desert for a handful of events, including the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Kraft Nabisco Championship, Samsung World Golf Championship and the annual LG Skins Game.
From the windswept dunes of Lahinch, Ballybunion, Portmarnock, Doonbeg and Waterville to the spectacular cliffs of Old Head and the rolling parkland of a former earl’s estate at Adare Manor, Ireland supplies golf that can’t be found anywhere else. In fact, if you ask most golfers who’ve vacationed in Scotland and Ireland which place they prefer, you’ll get a conflicted answer.
It’s not hard to see why the people at Cuscowilla Golf Resort really love golf. Just look at the place. For starters, the grounds unfold about 70 miles from Atlanta in Eatonton, Ga., at the banks of the spectacular 20,000-acre Lake Oconee. The centerpiece–err, masterpiece–golf course is a tremendous work of art, a collaboration by arguably one of the hottest design duos in the world (Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore).
Most golfers are slowly becoming aware of what is now one of America’s finest golfing venues: The Great Lakes, particularly Michigan and Wisconsin. In recent years, some of the most celebrated new courses in America opened in this region. The varied topography__Òeverything from sand dunes to abandoned stone quarries–combined with perfect soils and abundant water have made the area an ideal place for building exciting golf courses.
For golf lovers there’s no better place on earth than Myrtle Beach–or more appropriately, the Carolinas’ “Grand Strand”. The 60+ mile stretch between southeastern North Carolina and Georgetown, South Carolina, with the Sun-Fun City of Myrtle Beach at the center, offers 100+ golf courses designed for every kind of golfer.
If there's one thing you should know about golf in the magnificent desert West, heed the following statement: In the desert West, you don't play golf, you experience it.
With Las Vegas having more than 50, Palm Springs with 100-plus and the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Mesa area totaling somewhere near 200 golf courses, it’s no wonder millions of golfers each year flock to these three desert golf boomtowns. It’s culture shock for many once they get there, as golfers from all over the world marvel at the union between harsh desert topography and the soft, caressing ribbons of fairway and greens that make up each golf oasis.
Hidden gems and must-plays for the ultimate golf pilgrimage
Golf in Ireland, obviously, has existed for quite some time, and it continues to flourish in a pure state. Walking is the preferred mode of transportation; scores are more often measured by Stapleford scoring and matches than stoke play. Par is relative to the wind and weather conditions of the day, not the number on the card. Here, traditions are revered and respected. Unfortunately, most visiting golfers don’t spend enough time in one place to get to know the area’s history let alone its unique flavor.
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