days, it seems you can’t swing a five iron without
hitting a celeb-designed golf course at some swanky
resort. This is good news for the tee set, who now have
more choices than ever when it’s time to go on
holiday. Do you want your course designed by Fazio,
Norman or Nicklaus? Would you prefer a Balinese resort
or Uruguayan estate setting? While we had fun with geographical
diversity when putting this list together, we couldn’t
resist throwing in a few classics, as well. Whether
you’re a stickler for tradition or enjoy the barefoot
casual lifestyle, you’ll be inspired to pack up
your clubs and head for the fairways.
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
rolling over ancient lava beds. A 17th hole incorporated
into a natural lava amphitheater. There’s no arguing
that the two championship courses at the Mauna
Lani are among the most dramatic in the world. The
resort’s original course was split in two, and
nine new holes were added to each side. The North Course
is now edged by a protected archaeological area, and
the South Course winds through the prehistoric Kaniku
lava flow. No matter which one you play, feel free to
pray to Pele for that hole in one. As for off-the-course
pursuits, you can hang out in your private bungalow,
check out the legendary ponds, enjoy a spa treatment
or learn how to hula dance.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach
Beach and golf. Is it possible to disassociate the two?
In fact, we feel you could say Pebble Beach is golf.
It’s more than just a great golf destination.
It’s like its own small golf nation. Pebble Beach
Resorts is made up of four courses and three accommodations,
but we’d like to focus on the historic Lodge—with
its wonderful Stillwater
Bar & Grill and beautiful Carmel Bay views—and
Pebble Beach Links. Hemmed by forest and ocean, this
classic golf course dates back to 1919, competing for
granddaddy on our list with Gleneagles. Technically,
it’s a public course, but when you stay at the
lodge you enjoy special booking privileges and tee times.
The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
the twelve-million-year-old boulders that give this
property its name, you won’t find any Flintstones’
kitsch here. The
Boulders is truly elegant, and its pair of 18-hole
championship golf courses capitalize on the gracious
serenity of the high Sonoran desert setting. Designed
by Jay Morrish, layouts take full advantage of the natural
terrain. They alternate so that one is always private
and the other always available for hotel guest use.
Desert elements are equally essential off the greens.
You’ll find plenty of cacti and even a few coyotes
along with the adobe casitas and Golden Door Spa offering
Native American therapies.
The Lodge at Sea Island
you love tradition—from timeless Southern hospitality
to English country manor decor—this destination
off the coast of Georgia will make you very happy. The
three championship courses, ranging over a beautiful
lowcountry landscape, feature fairways by Tom Fazio,
Rees Jones and Davis Love III. Redesigned by Fazio,
the Seaside Course makes excellent use of the setting
with elevated tee boxes overlooking ancient oaks, salt
marshes and sand dunes. The lodge’s
forty accommodations sit above the clubhouse with views
of the Atlantic or Plantation Course. A romantic touch:
the bagpiper poised on a distant fairway bringing each
day to a close.
Casa de Campo
we could have played it safe and selected a resort on
Barbados or Bermuda, but we like the off-the-beaten-path
aspect of this property. Plus, we’re into its
island-casual style. The three Pete Dye-designed courses
include the acclaimed Teeth of the Dog. Seven of the
holes sit right on the Caribbean Sea, and if that isn’t
challenge enough, there’s a tricky dogleg to keep
you on your toes. Don’t be intimidated, though.
Caddies can advise you on the terrain. Another great
thing about this resort is its family friendly atmosphere.
Whether you want to get the little ones started on their
strokes or just have access to a great kids’ program
while you play (lizard hunts are particularly popular),
this is a terrific choice.
all the hoopla over France and not Scotland being the
birthplace of golf—gasp!—the world is sitting
up and paying attention to the French golf scene. This
resort is particularly notable because its excellent
Woodland Golf Course is flanked by traditional Loire
Valley cottages and farm buildings that have been renovated
into beautifully rustic accommodations. This former
hunting estate was conceived by industrialist Baron
Marcel Bich (bic pens) and businessman Yoshiaki Sakurai,
whose goal was simply to create a superb golf retreat.
Just an hour and a half from Paris, the fairways are
surrounded by ancient forest (hence, the club’s
name). Water features on twelve of the eighteen holes
make sure golfers never run out of challenges.
Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort Bali
the only hotel on Bali with its own golf course, this
property clearly has an advantage. The resort incorporates
the Nirwana Bali Golf Club, with its 18-hole, Greg Norman-designed
golf course. From an aesthetic point of view, the best
thing about the fairways are their use of rice paddies,
which aren’t just for show. Local villagers farm
these plots, adding to the unique beauty of the surroundings.
The hotel itself offers an elegant modern interpretation
of Balinese style. The oceanfront location overlooking
Tanah Lot sea temple completes the romantic atmosphere.
so many outstanding golf courses in Scotland, this was
a tough pick. St. Andrew’s Old Course is a golfer’s
paradise, but fundamentally it’s a public course
with nice hotels nearby. For this list, we wanted the
whole package, and Gleneagles was a natural choice.
You also get a nice dose of Scottish history, as the
hotel was built in French château style by the
Caledonian Railway Company in 1924—it even had
its own railway station. Opened in 1919, the King’s
Course is a venerable favorite, and the Queen’s
Course is popular for its natural beauty. But the real
gem here is the 1993 Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary
Course. Host to the G8 Summit in July 2005 and 40th
Ryder Cup in 2014, it is destined to become a classic.
Fancourt Hotel & Country Club Estate
resort unites historic lodgings with a relatively new
set of courses. The estate is anchored by a Cotswold
Manor-style country house built in the mid-1800s at
the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains. The property was
transformed into a golf resort in 1989 and now features
four courses, including two that are open to club members
and hotel guests only. With their parkland layouts,
both the Montague and Outeniqua were designed by Gary
Player. In contrast, The Links offers a dune-style landscape,
as well as a mix of Kentucky Blue, Rye, Fescue and Bent
grasses on its tees and fairways.
Four Seasons Golf Club Carmelo
it to the Four Seasons to bring a great golf resort
to the unspoiled Uruguayan wilderness. This countryside
retreat on the banks of the Rio de la Plata boasts an
18-hole course that blends pampa grass, lakes, wetland
and native trees with excellent bent-grass putting surfaces,
hybrid Bermuda fairways and white sand bunkers. While
playing you’re sure to see lots of birds, and
you may even catch a glimpse of a wild horse or two.
With just 24 suites and twenty bungalows, all decorated
with stylish local accents, there’s a nice feeling
(Updated: 12/06/11 CT)