Some golf holidays are weeklong, 36-holes-a-day marathons. Others are quick weekend getaways arranged around two or three tee times.
The necessities for each are the same: lodging on or near the fairways and multiple golf courses to choose from in close proximity. Destinations with lively nightlife, shopping, sightseeing, spas and other off-course activities earn bonus points.
Here are three of America’s best addresses for a short, medium or long golf holiday.
Ideal climate, world-class scenery, boatloads of non-golf diversions… Is it any wonder San Diego is one of America’s favorite golf vacation spots? There’s no bad time to visit, and greens fees are reasonable compared to high-season rates in Scottsdale and Las Vegas.
Golf galore: The area boasts 90-plus courses, including several nationally ranked gems that are open to the public.
Play here: Barona Creek Golf Club (sumptuous bunkering alone is worth the price of admission); La Costa Resort (36 holes and top-notch amenities make it a family fave); Sycuan Resort (a pair of 18-holers routinely rated the area’s finest); The Crossings at Carslbad (inspiring visuals highlight spectacular new track)
Beyond golf: San Diego has miles of Pacific beaches, thriving food and art scenes, and historic sites aplenty. If you somehow get bored, Tijuana, Mexico is just a short drive south.
At best, golf ranks a distant second in drawing visitors to Las Vegas. But that’s no reflection on the quality of Sin City’s courses, which offer an amazing variety of settings and challenges. This being Vegas, facilities tend to pile on crowd-pleasing bells and whistles like manmade forests and waterfalls inside clubhouses.
Golf galore: Once home to relatively few courses, Vegas now counts 55 or so golf options.
Play here: Cascata (a roller-coaster of canyon-carving golf); Rio Secco Golf Club (variety of holes, scenery place it near the top); Bear’s Best (cool collection of Jack Nicklaus’ finest designs); Las Vegas Paiute Resort (featuring a trio of Pete Dye classics); Primm Valley Resort (36 sublime holes and welcome distance from the Strip)
Beyond golf: Gambling is legal in Nevada, and a few casinos have sprouted in and around this dusty desert outpost. Kidding aside, other activities include visiting Hoover Dam and… Yeah, you’re heading for the blackjack table.
Winter is a no-go here, unless you’re into snow skiing, but there’s no better place for summertime golf. Remarkably, 900-plus courses are planted across Michigan, with many of the best concentrated in the state’s forested, lake-strewn upper half.
Golf galore: Choose from more than 100 public-access courses in Northern Michigan.
Play here: Treetops Resort (a true golf feast with 81 holes); Boyne Highlands Resort (tough to top for beauty and layout quality); Bay Harbor Golf Club (Lake Michigan backdrop reminiscent of Ireland); Crystal Mountain Resort (parkland golf at its finest)
Beyond golf: The area’s fertile soils and teeming waterways are a wonderland of orchards, vineyards and fishing excursions.