As golf courses opened up around the world earlier this month, golfers enjoyed getting back out on their local greens to practice their swing… check out these recommendations of top golf spots to put on the course hit list from the East to the West coast of the US, to Tahiti, Japan and Portugal.
USA – WEST COAST
Meadowlark Golf Course – Huntington Beach, California
Tee up on the green in Huntington Beach town or take a day trip to a picturesque coastal course with eucalyptus-lined playing fields. Designed by William Park Bell in 1924, Meadowlark Golf Course is a par-70 course featuring several pretty water features and widely loved for both its historic charm and reasonable green fees. The course’s restaurant usually serves breakfast and lunch with an array of American and Mexican dishes to choose from. For the time being, the cocktail and snack bar are open for takeaways only so you can still enjoy a day on the course with a sweet tipple.
Pelican Hill Golf Club – Newport Beach, California
Pelican Hill Golf Club features two award-winning courses designed by Tom Fazio that are built among a series of coastal plateaus and canyons. Ocean North Course showcases panoramic ocean views from every tee box and several holes weave their way right down to the cliff’s edge. Ocean South Course offers pristine greens with rolling Bermuda fairways lined with eucalyptus trees descend into breath-taking 270-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. The luxe oceanfront golf resort offers Italian-inspired bungalows and villas, plus dining and a day spa.
Sierra Star and Snow Creek – Mammoth Lakes, California
With immaculate forest-lined fairways, views of granite peaks, clear mountain streams, open meadows, wildflowers and even an occasional herd of deer or a wandering black bear on the green, there’s no more inspiring place to play golf than on one of Mammoth Lakes’ two public courses. Plus experts claim that you’ll see a 5-10% increase in your driving distance at more than a mile above sea level.
Mammoth’s Sierra Star Golf Course – 8,000 feet above sea level – is the highest 18-hole championship golf course in elevation in California. Designed by Cal Olsen and built in 1999, Sierra Star is a challenging par 70. Set in the scenic sagebrush meadow at the base of the Sherwins Range with unobstructed views of Mammoth Mountain and the distant White Mountains, the challenging 9-hole, par-35 Snowcreek Golf Course is more exposed and rugged-feeling than Sierra Star, making it feel reminiscent of classic highland courses in Scotland. Prefer to hack balls as far as you can toward the mountains? Try Snowcreek’s ultra-scenic driving range with its newly installed water feature on the south side of Old Mammoth Road.In winter and early spring, try a morning of skiing on Mammoth Mountain followed by an afternoon of golf down at the Bishop Country Club, open to the public year-round.
Greater Palm Springs, California
Home to over 110 golf courses and offering visitors more than 300 days of sunshine each year, Greater Palm Springs earns its reputation as a top destination for golf in the U.S. Whether you’re looking for a casual round or demanding greens, courses across the nine cities that make-up Greater Palm Springs provide for all levels. Designs by legendary architects such as Arnold Palmer and Pete Dye also provide a major draw, in addition to the scenic mountain backdrops and expertly manicured courses. Top resorts include La Quinta Resort & Club greeting guests since the 1920s with 41 pools and onsite course PGA West. Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage sitting on top of 360-acres. The Desert Willow Golf Resort and JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa, both in Palm Desert and offering mountain views and luxury spa treatments and restaurants for when the sun finally sets.
Pebble Beach Golf Links – Carmel, California
Six-time host of the U.S. Open Championship and unanimously rated the No. 1 Public Course in the U.S., Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the most stunning courses in the world. Its neighbouring course, Spyglass Hill, also offers sweeping ocean views with holes that dart through a daring dunescape to give way to the understated natural beauty and brawn of the Del Monte Forest. And if that’s not enough, meandering among sweeping sand dunes along 17-Mile Drive, The Links at Spanish Bay, ranked among the best public courses in the U.S., unveils some of the most spectacular seaside views in Pebble Beach. The rolling fairways flow through and around the gorgeous dunescape, briefly weaving between towering Monterey Pines, before returning to the white sand of Spanish Bay Beach for a thrilling finish along the wind-swept coast. Wrap your golf trip in the area with a stay at the stunning Post Ranch Inn, located 45 minutes south in Big Sur. Voted as the best hotel in California, the resort is of the world’s leading spots for luxury and ultimate privacy, and with a spa, soaking hot tubs and award winning wine cellar, there’s plenty to help you unwind after a day on the course.
Putt and drive surrounded by alpine beauty – South Lake Tahoe, California / Nevada
The Tahoe South region has six distinctive golf courses, each with its own vibe and views, and spectacular scenery is part of the course. Located in a natural mountain meadow just minutes from the southern shoreline of Lake Tahoe is Lake Tahoe Golf Course’s spectacular William Bell-designed championship layout will inspire and delight every golfer with its breathtaking scenic views and natural habitat.
Just over the stateline border in Nevada is the stunning Edgewood Tahoe, which has played host to countless major golf events and the renowned golfers who’ve shaped the game. Here you can play a round at an altitude of more than 6,200 ft. on the shores of America’s most majestic alpine lake. If watching is more your style then be sure to check out the American Century Championship, hosted at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course between 8 – 12 July 2020. The competition brings celebrity and community service together in a 54-hole modified Stableford format tournament, often referred to as the Super Bowl of celebrity golf. A total of 13 Hall of Famers and 19 active NFL, NBA and NHL players are expected – among 80 sports and entertainment stars planning to compete and charity fundraise for nine hours of live NBC Sports coverage over three days (without spectators). All prize money will be donated to COVID-19 relief and area non-profits as the tournament continues its longstanding commitment to charity fundraising efforts.
Mather Regional Park Golf Course, Sacramento – California
Mather Golf Course provides the perfect round of golf all year round. Located on a former Air Force base, there are 18 holes of tree lined open fairways and medium sized greens. Designed by Jack Fleming in 1959, Mather Golf Course continues to attract golfers of all skill levels. This championship length par 72 has three tee boxes that provide the opportunity to test your skills and will challenge how much of a long ball hitter you are.
Seattle Golf Club – Seattle
Seattle Golf Club was redesigned in 1996 by Arnold Palmer, this challenging but beautiful golf course is surrounded by hundred-year-old Douglas firs offering a quiet serene place to put off some tee’s. The golf course will test golfers skills against the narrow fairways and speedy greens. The club is thought to be one of the most outstanding golf courses in the Northwest hosting a historic clubhouse that overlooks Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The clubhouse retains its original objective of creating a vacation style lodge by providing spacious banquet facilities and decks with its magnificent views.
Take your pick in Colorado
Pole Creek Golf Club, located 12 miles north of Winter Park offers tree-lined, links-style holes with breathtaking views of the Continental Divide. At 8,600 feet above sea level, it’s one of the highest 27-hole courses in North America. At Grand Lake Golf Course adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, you may be sharing the tee with some of the native elk, deer, fox and red-tail hawk that roam this tight, tree-lined course. Each hole of this 6,650 yards–Par 72 course offers a view of Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest natural lake, and the surrounding snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide.
Tucked between the sparkling waters of the Fraser River and the mountain splendor for which the Rocky Mountains are famous, Golf at Granby Ranch offers golfers of every level and interest an exceptional experience. The front nine of this 7,200 yards–Par 72 course serves as a warm-up to the back nine, where golfers will encounter several memorable holes incorporating lakes, wetlands, elevated tees, and large, deep bunkers. Located south of Granby, Grand Elk Ranch & Club is the newest golf course addition to Grand County. The 18-hole, 7,200 yards–Par 71 course opened in late 2002 and is Colorado’s first Heathland-style golf course. The course sits at an elevation of 7,935 feet, and offers views of federally protected wetlands that are habitat to hundreds of birds.
The Aspen Golf Club – Colorado
The Aspen Golf Club provides a challenging 18-hole course set in the heart of the Rockies and minutes from downtown Aspen. This public championship course is complete with a PGA award-winning golf shop, a state-of-the-art golf academy with practice area, full service restaurant, and full-service locker rooms. Highly skilled PGA staff offer group and private instruction, as well as golf school to elevate visitors’ game. After a round of golf head to the Red Mountain Grill where an array of delicious fine foods and refreshments are served with an amazing patio that overlooks the course.
USA – EAST COAST
Florida’s Paradise Coast – Florida
An abundance of clubs and courses make Naples a golf lover’s paradise. With more than 90 golf courses in the area there are plenty of places to play, and several tricks to the tee box. JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort has two courses: The Rookery, recently redesigned by course designer Robert Cupp, and Hammock Bay, designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy. The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club’s course is the oldest in Naples and is included in the Florida Historic Golf Trail. For golfing visitors, courses reflect the native Floridian terrain and can pose unfamiliar obstacles to players. Before you take that first swing, keep in mind that the lush, green and relatively flat terrain of most courses in Naples and Marco Island can pose a challenging surprise with creative layouts, bunkers and water hindrances. Wildlife is also abundant on courses in the area. Expect close encounters with birds and other wildlife during your game. If your ball ends up in the water, be aware of alligators and turtles.
Pittsburgh has a variety of courses open to the public for golf enthusiasts: from beginners to aficionados. Located in Schenley Park, just minutes from downtown in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, Bob O’Conner Golf Course is the only course located within city limits. The beautiful 18-hole walking course is set with the rolling hills of the park and is open throughout the year, weather permitting. A little further afield you will find Mystic Rock. Part of Nemacolin Woodland’s Resort, the beautiful Mystic Rock golf course is definitely one of the must-see courses in the region.
Golf International Olivier Bréaud – The Islands of Tahiti
Built in the 1970s on an old cotton plantation on the west coast of Tahiti at Atimaono, this course is just steps from the centre of Papeete. Offering an 18-hole golf course, it is accessible to both beginners and experienced golfers, and renowned internationally for the quality of its fairways and greens, as well as for the beauty of its location. Nestled on Tahiti island, players are surrounded by vanilla plantations, pineapple farms and temperatures averaging 27 degrees. Away from the course, the islands boast pristine beaches and aquamarine waters where guests can soak up the Tahitian culture, devour fresh sea-to-fork cuisine and embark on a number of activities, from deep-water shark diving to hiking around the mountainous landscape. The course at Atimaono is 5,950 metres long for a 72 stroke par, and is approved by the French Golf Federation. Today, it welcomes numerous international players annually to the Open International de Tahiti (Tahiti International Open).
Tee off on one of Japan’s 2,000 courses
Long seen as the exclusive playground of the rich and important in Japan, golf courses in the country are looking to make a sport more accessible. There are just shy of 2,350 courses with 18 holes or more dotted across Japan offering facilities and degrees of difficulty to suit all tastes and abilities. Many Japanese courses are renowned for their beauty, their perfect maintenance and, often, technical requirements that will challenge even the most accomplished players. Making a reservation for a round of golf is becoming easier as more courses have English-speaking staff, opening up the market to golfing holidays from the UK. Courses can be found from Hokkaido in the far north of Japan to Okinawa at the other end of the archipelago. Many clustered in the countryside within close driving distance of the major cities.
Kasumigaseki Country Club, north of Tokyo, opened in 1929 and became Japan’s first 36-hole course three years later. Since then, it has hosted numerous international tournaments. The course has also been selected to host the golf tournament for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Ombria Resort, Algarve, Portugal – Viceroy Hotel Group
Opening its first development phase in early 2022, Ombria Resort will set the bar as a new generation of low-density resort development where sustainability, the environment and support of the nature and local heritage lie at the heart of the resort. 5-star Viceroy at Ombria Resort and Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort, which includes a spa, healthcare and fitness facilities, several restaurants and bars, kids zone, a conference centre, golf course and swimming pools, managed by Viceroy Hotel Group. Designed by Jorge Santana da Silva, Ombria Resort’s golf course will offer one of the finest golf challenges in the region, across an 18-hole, par 70 course spanning 6,000m. The Clubhouse will be built into the castle-like walls of an existing farm ruin and will house the reception desk and pro shop, as well as a Sports Bar and restaurant and outdoor terrace, a gym, locker rooms with sauna and Jacuzzi, and an outdoor swimming pool. The elevated golf and countryside views of the bar’s outdoor terrace will be the perfect place to socialise and unwind with a relaxing drink.