When it comes to golf resorts nowhere does it better than the USA. If you’re looking for grand resorts with multiple championship courses onsite then the country is bestowed some truly spectacular offerings. Supersized doesn’t necessarily mean you need to compromise on quality and the resorts below offer some of the best golf on the planet.
Kiawah Island Resort
Set along a 3000-acre stretch of private beach and spectacularly forested paths, Kiawah Island is home to five outstanding courses. The highlight is the iconic Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course. Opened for play just weeks before the venue staged the 1991 Ryder Cup, Kiawah Island is best known for the thrilling ‘War on the Shore’, a fiercely contested match-up which would come down to the very final singles pairing.
Routed along the Ocean, with panoramic views of the Atlantic on every hole, the layout is breath-taking and rightly takes its place as one of the world’s finest courses.
Add in the semi-tropical weather, a luxury 5* experience and the magic of nearby Charleston and golfers are guaranteed an unforgettable experience.
An hour North of Tampa, Streamsong only opened its doors in 2014 but already boasts the highest-rated duo of public courses in the US.
Set within the confines of an old phosphate mine, Streamsong bears little resemblance to other Floridian golf complexes. There are no villas lining the fairways and bar the alligators that guard the lakes, it might be hard to believe you are in the sunshine state
The three courses are equally surreal, dotted with dune-like spoils that reach up to 100 feet in the air and tower over many of the green complexes.
It’s perhaps little surprise the venue is now the USA’s leading golf destination. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were the design team behind the Red Course, while acclaimed architect Tom Doak would put his name to the Blue Course, which vies with its counterpart as Streamsong’s leading light.
The addition of the Black Course in 2017 has brought the number of the holes at the resort to 54. Guaranteed to grow in stature as it matures, the layout more than deserves its place amid the resort’s celebrated courses.
Golf doesn’t come more beautiful than Kapalua. Nestled in one of Hawaii’s largest nature preserves, the resort takes breath-taking to a whole new level. There are two ocean-facing championship courses at the resort. Built upon a former pineapple plantation and bordered by a necklace of white sandy beaches, the Plantation is the crown jewel at Kapalua.
Set against the backdrop of the West Maui Mountains, the layout is home to the annual Tournament of Champions and regularly ranks among the best courses in the United States. The brainchild of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the same design team behind Bandon Dunes and Streamsong, the course comes to a climax over the final hole, a tumbling par-5 framed against the mountains and the glistening Pacific Ocean. Played through towering palms and beautiful hibiscus the Bay Course is also a beautiful layout.
Bandon Dunes Resort
With four exceptional golf courses and a further Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed par-3 layout, this Scottish inspired resort in Oregon is widely considered to be America’s greatest golf complex. Bandon Dunes is about as close as you can get to traditional Scottish golf without boarding a plane across the Atlantic. Carved out of the natural coastal terrain and played out against the panoramic backcloth of the glistening Pacific Ocean, Bandon Dunes is a rare oddity. A place where both the setting and the golf course designs are exceptional.
The Tom Doak designed Pacific Dunes is the best layout at the resort, while all three other 18-hole courses are ranked among the top 100 courses in the United States.
The cradle of American golf, a pilgrimage to Pinehurst is the American equivalent of a trip to St Andrew’s.
The resort is home to no fewer than nine golf-courses which weave their way through 2,000 acres of North Carolina pines and sand dunes.
The green complexes are magnificent or cruel, depending on which way you want to look at it, with cunning run-offs and the ability to hold only the most accurate of approaches. Host to three US Open’s and a Ryder Cup, Pinehurst is a mecca for all lovers of the game.
Of course, Pinehurst isn’t all about the No. 2 course, and the other eight courses, while not reaching the same lofty heights, are more than worth a round.
The brainchild of Herb Kohler, the US manufacturing tycoon who also owns the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, Whistling Straits is one of the most natural and respected golf resorts in America. There are two courses at the Wisconsin venue, both of which blend so seamlessly with the landscape that it’s hard to believe that they haven’t been there for centuries.
Located on the edge of Lake Michigan, huge swaths of earth were moved in the building process of the Straits Course. It was a massive under-taking which transformed a once uninspiring airfield into one of the most dramatic courses in golf.
Opened for play in 1998 the Straits course would stage the USPGA Championship just a few years later. Since then the venue has hosted two more majors and will take centre stage in 2020 for the Ryder Cup.
There is a distinctive flavour of links golf at Whistling Straits, including on the later addition at the resort, the Irish.
Reynolds Lake Oconee
Stretching over 10,000-acres, Reynolds Lake Oconee is an enormous residential and resort complex located an hour north of Atlanta.
With six fantastic courses designed by five renowned architects, golfers are unlikely to tire of the huge offering at the resort. Scattered along the shores of Lake Oconee, each course serves up a unique and distinctive round of golf. From Tom Fazio’s 27-hole National course, Jack Nicklaus’ Great Waters design, Rees Jones’ Oconee layout, or Jim Engh’s Creek Club and Bob Cupp’s founding efforts at The Landing and The Preserve, each has something special to give. Nonetheless, the Nicklaus design is the finest test at the resort. The layout is likely to rise further in the US rankings following the completion of an extensive re-design next year.
Sand Valley Golf Resort
For a state not necessarily known for golf, Wisconsin is home to two of the country’s finest golf resorts. It’s perhaps little surprise that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw worked their magic at Sand Valley. The acclaimed duo, who are behind many of the country’s best layouts, would again join forces to design the Sandbox course at the resort.
It is the Mammoth Dunes, which opened to much acclaim this year, which looks likely to usurp its sister course in the rankings. Designed by David McLay Kidd, the course is, as the name suggests, ginormous, with some fairways measuring as much as 120-yards across.
Pebble Beach Resorts
The most famous golf resort of them all, nothing can come close to the legendary offering at Pebble Beach. Forming part of an iconic stretch of Californian coastline, Pebble Beach will leave you speechless by the sheer audacity of its holes, which cling perilously close to the clifftop. A trip to Pebble Beach is a must for everyone at least once in their lifetime. Not only for the golf but also to soak up the special atmosphere at the three resort properties, complete with fine dining and 5* spa facilities.
Opened for play in 1919, the course has played host to five US Open’s, and is a regular haunt of Hall-of-Fame athletes and Hollywood stars. The layout is also a regular stop on the PGA Tour, having rolled out its green-carpet fairways to the game’s best golfers on an annual basis since 1947.
La Quinta Resort
Located in the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains, La Quinta Resort is an enormous 90-hole golf complex. There is a diverse collection of courses at the sun-soaked California venue. The Stadium Course at PGA WEST has played host to some of the greatest golfers on the planet and is the home venue of the CareerBuilder challenge.
The layout is one of two Pete Dye designs at the resort. Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Tom Fazio, and Arnold Palmer have all had a hand in the other top-class layouts. All fabulous, the Quarry course is of special note. A stunning course which plays alongside an abandoned mine, the Quarry is one of Pete Dye’s finest works.
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