The 18th at We-Ko-Pa’s Saguaro Course_Ê challenges golfers to keep the ball out of the “kitty litter.”_Ê
During the fall and winter months, a handful of warm-weather destinations attract avid golfers, retirees and professional golf tours. And this year, with energy prices near all-time highs, it’s safe to say more people will postpone their overseas dream vacations to stay stateside and not only visit them but play golf, too. While we’re not all fortunate to live in these warmer climates, many are only a short plane ride away. So this fall, if you’re itching to extend your playing season, and save money in the process, we suggest you consider teeing it up at one of these “go-to” areas.
Myrtle Beach, S.C., has one of the country’s most diverse golf experiences, and with more than 100 courses, it’s easy to see why. Consider Sea Trail Resort in Sunset Beach, N.C. It boasts three golf courses, each named for the architect who designed it (Robert Trent Jones, Dan Maples and Willard Byrd), and a variety of accommodation options, including family homes, townhomes and villas.
Golfers in search of southern hospitality, but not necessarily the all-inclusive resort experience, should try their hand at some of the Waccamaw Golf Trail’s dozen courses. Located at the southern end of the Grand Strand, around Georgetown, S.C., the Waccamaw offerings include the Tour-tested TPC of Myrtle Beach and two Mike Strantz creations: Caledonia and True Blue. Many Waccamaw courses were built on former rice
and indigo plantations and feature plenty of the wet stuff.
The Arizona Desert
Dry weather, never-ending sunshine and spectacular scenery greet golfers who tee it up in the Arizona desert. We-Ko-Pa’s newest gem is the Saguaro Course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and, when combined with its sister Cholla Course, it creates a golf experience you shouldn’t miss. Other standouts in the Phoenix/Scottsdale region include Longbow Golf Club in Mesa and the player-friendly Eagle Mountain Golf Club in Fountain Hills.
Two hours south, in Tucson, a couple of must-play experiences include Tucson National, which sports 36 holes of Tour-caliber golf (it’s the former site of the Chrysler Classic of Tucson) and Arizona National.
Other domestic sure bets this fall include Hawaii (see page 82 for some insight into its picturesque Kohala Coast) and the Palm Springs area. Standouts in that California desert include Indian Wells Golf Resort, which cut the tape last year on its Players Course. The popular resort boasts four hotels and, this past September, opened its new space-aged clubhouse, the IW Club.
Speaking of clubhouses that make you go “wow!” we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention TPC of Sawgrass in Jacksonville, Fla. Its massive (77,000 square feet) Mediterranean-style clubhouse opened its doors just in time for last year’s Players Championship. But of course, the real attraction there is Pete Dye’s course.
The 7th hole at the Tradition Club in Pawleys Island, S.C. features an island green.