Many people lost a lot of precious golf time because of the restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. As restrictions loosen, golfing is once again the perfect leisure activity to help people relieve stress and cope. And with that in mind, here are the golf courses that are still worth a vacation trip.
Sea Pines Resort
Sea Pines Resort is a favorite among PGA Tour players and golf enthusiasts. Located in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the resort has three courses: Harbour Town Golf Links, Heron Point, Atlantic Dunes. The golf courses have won many awards from critics including Golf Digest “Editors’ Choice Award 2021” Best Golf Resorts – Carolinas.
Harbour Town has hosted the RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour since 1969 the week after the Masters. The course was designed by legendary course designer Pete Dye, and Jack Nicklaus was a consultant.
Atlantic Dunes is an ocean course that was recently remodeled and features natural sand dunes. The seaside ambiance is unbeatable as it incorporates elements of the Carolina beachfront. The course was designed by Davis Love III and won the NGCOA National Course of the Year Award.
To add to the hardware, Heron Point was named South Carolina’s 2015 Golf Course of the Year. The course is very challenging with high-risk, high-reward holes. However, recent modifications have made it possible to play easier as there are seven sets of tees on each hole.
The resort offers inns and villas for rent as well as a beach club and marina. And there’s also tennis, fishing, and other watersports available.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
On the shores of Oregon, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is considered a mecca in the golf community. The resort boasts five 18-hole courses, a 13-hole par-3 course, a practice center, and a 100,000 square foot putting course. And all of the courses mimic the feeling of Scottish links.
The 18-hole courses consistently show up on lists of top golf courses to play. In Golfweek’s 2020 Top 100 courses to play, Pacific Dunes came in at No. 2, Old Macdonald No. 4, Bandon Dunes No. 6, and Bandon Trails No. 10. The resort hosted the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship in 2020, which was played on Bandon Dunes and Bandon Trails. Its newest golf course, Sheep Ranch, opened in June 2020.
Besides golf, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has a ton of dining options and lodging that range from inns to four-bedroom cottages. There is also a massage center, hot tub/sauna area, hiking trails, and fishing spots.
An exciting new course that opened up during the pandemic in September 2020 is Payne’s Valley in Ridgedale, Missouri. You may be thinking “Why would I go on a golf trip to Missouri?”. Well, it is the first public course that Tiger Woods has designed in the United States.
That may convince only some golf enthusiasts, but the location is also in a prime spot. The course is set among the Ozark Mountains at Big Cedar Lodge, which is considered a premier wilderness resort. For the people who want to golf and do other activities, Big Cedar Lodge also features outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, hiking and horseback riding. The lodge also includes other amenities like a spa and multiple dining options. A perfect combination for either a guys’ trip or a family trip.
Enough about all the extracurriculars, let’s get into the actual course. Payne’s Valley incorporates many beautiful features like exposed rock outcroppings, bold mountain ridges, valleys and pristine streams. The course is perfect for all skill levels and has wide fairways. After your round of 18 holes, you can even play the 19th hole. The hole is a par 3 that plays to an island green surrounded by streams and waterfalls flowing down exposed rock walls.
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