The PGA Tour is a showcase for many of the greatest cities and areas in the United States. Okay, the Tour may have abandoned D.C., and its decision to put Chicago on an every-other-year rotation is curious at best. Still, there are plenty of great places to catch an event. With all due respect to San Diego, Hilton Head, the Florida stops and New Orleans, however, no city on the PGA Tour tops Denver from a golf spectator’s unique perspective.
No one here would ever blame you for opting for that second 18, but if you’re looking to add a little adrenaline to your next golf trip, check out these exotic locales and the thrills they can serve up.
Golf course operators in Las Vegas regularly concede and admit that gambling is and always will be the main draw to the area. But that doesn’t mean you can’t combine the two during your stay. A few of the casinos have golf courses nearby; however, they come with a price. The new Wynn Golf Club and Bali Hai are both on the Las Vegas Strip, and both have relatively high green fees.
“We Built This City On Rock And Ross.” Donald Ross’s imprint on golf-course design has been everlasting. Ross’s love affair with Pinehurst began with his work on the famed No. 2 course at the Pinehurst Resort–a course most experts agree is not only the finest of Ross’s designs, but also among the best ever designed in America.
The Midwest's Finest Resorts Are As Good As It Gets
There’s much more to this quaint island than just the world’s best fudge. Since no cars are allowed on the island, you must arrive by ferry or via the 8,614-foot Mackinac Bridge–North America’s longest suspension bridge that physically connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. You can get around the island only by foot, horse carriage or bicycle. Then there’s the charming, 385-room Grand Hotel with the world’s longest front porch. The 120-year-old, elegant hotel was the site of the 1979 movie, Somewhere in Time. Be sure to catch the island’s state park, honored by National Geographic as one of America’s 10 finest.
Turn the corner between the 14th green and 15th tee, and you’ll understand why you maxed out your Visa to play here. Off to your left is the world’s largest water hazard, the Pacific Ocean. Don’t get distracted by the kite surfers hanging hundreds of feet underneath you. It’s all part of the show.
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.