Tag: Golf Destinations

Top Golf Destinations

Harbour Town Golf Links, Sea Pines Resort, SC

When you think about golf destinations, Florida and California immediately come to mindbut you may be surprised to see which states have the largest percentage of high caliber courses. Although Florida and California have the most public courses by far, they are not at the top of the list when you consider the number of quality courses a state can offer, rather than just the total number of courses. So where do you look for the best chance of finding a great golf experience? Here’s what we found.

The GolfDay Rating

The GolfDay Rating is based on a variety of criteria, including the stature of the architect who did the original design, updates that have been done since the course was built, USGA Course and Slope Ratings, current local and national rankings by Golf Digest, Golfweek, and Links Magazine (as well as other authoritative sources), the quality and diversity of practice facilities, general course conditioning, and current course reviews.

Consideration is also given for facilities that offer junior golf programs, a golf academy or golf leagues. Resort ratings also include a factor for the variety of courses located at the property, as well as the quality of accommodations. The GolfDay Rating is structured on the same basis as a test score—from 0 to 100. An “A” is 90 and up, “B” is 80–89, “C” is 70–79, “D” is 65–­­­69 and below 64 is an “F.”

Kiawah Island Golf Resort, SC—Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus

The Results

We looked at the total number of public courses in each state to see how many received a GolfDay Rating of greater than 90 (“A”), and the number that were rated 80 or higher (“B”). South Carolina, Hawaii, Nevada, Delaware and Alabama came in at the top of the list.

South Carolina (#1)

Of the 194 public courses in South Carolina, almost 20 percent received a GolfDay Rating above 90 (A)) and 5 were rated at 100 (A++). With premier golf destinations like Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Kiawah Island, I guess that should not be a shocker—but there are a great many high-quality courses to be found throughout the state as well. More than half of the courses in South Carolina (55.7%) received a GolfDay Rating of 80 or more.

South Carolina is also home to the Waccamaw Golf Trail, featuring 11 great courses along the coast south of Myrtle Beach. All of the courses on the Trail received a GolfDay Rating above 80, with 6 coming in above 90—and one of them, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, received a rating of 100.

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, SC–100 GolfDay Rating

I’m sure the residents of S.C. are keenly aware of how lucky they are to have so many terrific courses in their midst, while the rest of us mark our calendar and count the days.

Hawaii (#2)

It takes a bit of getting there, and can be a little pricey, but with unparalleled scenery and a host of top-notch golf courses, Hawaii should be at the top of your bucket list. Sprinkled among the islands are 60 public courses, 11 of which received a GolfDay Rating of 90 or higher. Almost half of the courses in Hawaii received a rating above 80, so you won’t have to look far to find quality golf (if you can tear yourself away from the beach).

Wailea Golf Club, HI—3 superb courses by Robert Trent Jones

On Oahu, Ko Olina Golf Club received the highest rating at 91.6. On Maui, Wailea Golf Club received a rating of 100, followed by Kapalua Resort-97.4 and Manele Golf Course at the Four Seasons Resort—90.2

On Kauai, Princeville Makai Golf Club heads the list, receiving a GolfDay Rating of 100, while on the Big Island, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel course received a rating of 95.2, followed closely by Hualalai at the Four Seasons Resort (94.9).

Nevada (#3)

Most everyone knows that there are some nice courses in the Las Vegas area, but may not realize just how good so many of them actually are. Reno and Lake Tahoe, in western Nevada, offer quite a few fantastic courses as well. Of the 71 public courses in Nevada, 13 received a GolfDay Rating above 90, and 34 were rated at 80 or higher. Cascata, a Rees Jones masterpiece, received a GolfDay Rating of 99.1 and is located just 25 minutes from the airport.

Cascata, NV—A Rees Jones Masterpiece

Near Reno, Incline Village received a rating of 97.1, and 11 other courses in the area were rated 80 or higher.

Delaware (#4)

For a small state, Delaware packs a big punch when it comes to quality golf. There are only 22 public courses in the state, but 4 of them received a GolfDay Rating over 90, and 13 were rated 80 or higher.

White Clay Creek Country Club, DE—Arthur Hills and Steve Forest Design

Plantation Lakes Golf & Country Club, designed by Arthur Hills and Steve Forest in Millsboro, received the highest rating at 92.4. Other courses in Delaware receiving a 90+ rating include White Clay Creek Country Club (91.9), Odessa National Golf Club (90.7), and Bayside Resort Golf Club (90.6).

Alabama (#5)

If you want to make your golf fantasy come true, look no further than Alabama. In addition to the 11 fabulous courses along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, 3 courses in Alabama also received a rating above 90 (FarmLinks Golf Club at Pussell Farms—92.7, Timberline Golf Course—91.0, and GlenLakes Golf Club—90.2).

Of the 81 public golf facilities in Alabama, 42 received a GolfDay Rating of 80 or higher.

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail: The Shoals, AL—Roger Rulewich and Bobby Vaughn Design

From the rugged terrain in the northern part of the state where the Appalachian Mountain chain begins, to the beauty of a gulf coast sunrise down south, Alabama offers not only perfect weather just about year-round, but also some of the finest golf courses you will find anywhere in the world.

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7 Tips for Planning Your First Golf Trip

It’s true that over 80% of golf in the USA takes place near home. Yet, at least 8.2 million golfers enjoyed the sport as part of business or leisure travel at the last count.

So, if you’d like to try something new when it comes to golf, you’re in good company. What’s more, your first golf trip could lead to many in the future if you follow these planning tips.

1. Get a Group Together

Golfing with friends is always better than going it alone. Get your golfing companions on board and get their input and ideas to help you plan your getaway.

The magic number for any trip is always a number that’s divisible by four. Most golf tour organizers swear that eight is the magic number of players for any trip.

It’s a manageable number for arranging flights, tee times, accommodation, and meals. You’ll also manage to play a variety of combinations when it comes to arranging your golf outings.

Arranging the Invitations

Start your planning at least 6 months in advance, as few people will have prior engagements that far ahead.

You want to avoid both hurt feelings by forgetting someone as well as disasters due to people pulling out at the last-minute cancellations. So, it’s best to send out one bulk invitation.

Write up an email with the main details of your trip such as the date and possible destination. Send it to at least 20 people, stating that the first seven people to respond get the spots.

That way you don’t have to choose who goes and who stays. If you end up with more than eight players, you can always put a couple of them on standby in case of cancellations.

2. Getting Organized

Once you’ve got a bunch of like minded people together, figure out between yourselves who’s going to be responsible for which details of the trip.

It’s difficult to get everyone to agree, so set up some ground rules from the start. If you find yourself in charge of this band of brothers, take charge and delegate when needed. Your enthusiasm will soon wane if you’re left doing all the work.

3. Pick a Destination

Fabulous Golf Destinations

There are hundreds of excellent golfing hot spots all over the USA. All of these have their merits, but for starters, you should choose one that’s closest to home.

Some of the country’s most popular golfing destinations include:

  • Myrtle Beach
  • Alabama (Robert Trent Jones golf trail)
  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Florida
  • Wisconsin
  • Oregon

If you’re traveling during the wintertime, be sure to choose a place where you’re likely to enjoy the best golfing temperature instead of freezing cold conditions, wind, or rain.

Florida or California are better choices for winter golfing. Many golf courses in snowy parts of the USA close during the colder months anyway.

4. Choose Your Courses

Choosing golf courses should be easy with so many fantastic ones available, but often this mind-boggling variety is what makes it so difficult.

While it’s always nice to tick the major signature courses off your bucket list, you can still have a lot of fun at lesser-known golf clubs. Getting into the top courses is sometimes difficult due to high demand.

You’ll have a better time if you choose courses that are in line with the skills and experience of the players in your group. That way everyone gets to enjoy a successful round or two.

Following one of the established golf trails makes planning a lot easier, especially for first-timers.

5. Go First Class on Your First Golf Trip

As soon as you’ve decided on a few courses that you’d like to play, book your accommodation. During busy periods you could end up having to travel miles to your chosen course if you don’t book early.

Stick within your golf trip budget but avoid cheap choices. Often you’ll get better value by booking everything through a golf tour agent.

Research your accommodation just as thoroughly as you did your golf courses. You’re bound to come across some hotels that offer group packages for golfers at a discount.

While it’s common to share rooms during a golf trip, everyone will enjoy themselves a lot more if they have their own. When you’re playing, eating, and socializing together all day, it’s good to have somewhere to escape for a little peace and quiet. Having your own space means you won’t get tired of each other’s company by the end of the trip.

Plan your meals carefully so you can afford at least one splurge at a fancy restaurant or a night out on the town during your golf trip.

Another option is to rent a house close to the courses you want to play and take turns cooking. A house offers a lot of freedoms that don’t come with a hotel or B&B accommodation.

6. Plan as Much in Advance as You Can

Apart from your accommodation, you should book your golfing experiences well in advance too. Traveling during the week will make it easier to get a slot on the busier courses, but you should still book ahead to guarantee yourself a game on the day.

You may need to reserve a golf cart or a caddy in advance at some courses. There’s no harm in arranging your meals at the halfway house beforehand either, if possible.

If you’re going to be eating out, call the restaurant long before you arrive so they can set up one table for your whole party. Many restaurants can’t accommodate large groups at short notice.

7. Packing for Your Golf Trip

You don’t want to worry about laundry during your golfing getaway, so pack one golfing outfit for each day.

Be sure to check the dress code of each course beforehand and pack accordingly. Don’t forget to let your teammates know if you come across any important information about how to dress appropriately for each course.

You’ll also need some casual outfits for relaxed times as well as some smarter gear for meals or evenings out.

Above all, make sure your golf bag’s packed with everything you need for your games. You can never have too many extra balls and tees. Most golf courses have a store onsite which stocks the basics as well as the latest clubs, shoes, and golf bag designs.

Get More From Your Golf

You need all the help you can get when planning a golfing adventure away from home. You’ll find our website is full of useful information to help you plan your first golf trip or even your next game.

You can read more of our blog for extra tips, or look up golf courses, golf ratings, and golf routes on our site.

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