Planning a vacation centered around golf is a pleasure — and perhaps a challenge — for weekend golfers or for anyone who's looking for a change of scenery or a new destination to explore. With so many options, planning a golf vacation requires a few basic decisions.
Is the goal to take the family to a destination resort with a variety of golf courses and something for everyone when it comes to activities and dining? Do you want to play at the same courses as the pros or explore the work of favorite course designers? Do you want to visit the ocean, desert, or mountains? Golfers who have to pack away the clubs during winter might be seeking a destination with year-round golf weather.
With many golf resorts in the United States to choose from, I've rounded up some suggestions that offer luxurious amenities, quality courses, and a variety of destinations. You might see one that inspires you to propose a family trip or round up some friends for your next golf vacation. Here are 11 of the best golf resorts in the U.S.
Related: More golf vacation ideas
The two 18-hole championship courses at Torrey Pines feature the challenging layouts and well-maintained facilities that have made it the location for major PGA TOUR events, including the 2021 United States Open Championship. Set along the coast in picturesque La Jolla, The Lodge at Torrey Pines offers plush guest rooms and suites, spa, pool, and several exceptional restaurants. Family activities include guided nature walks, lawn games, and a children's scavenger hunt, and San Diego's many attractions are nearby.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Golf Hale at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons
This five-star beachfront resort boasts an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature championship course with black lava features and stunning oceanfront final holes. Their Golf Hale includes state-of-the-art simulator technologies, practice areas, and an esteemed golf professional available for analysis and lessons. The resort's amenities include several pools, beach, dining venues, spa, and the new Kuma Kai Marine Center at King's Pond, with programs by the resort's team of marine biologists.
Pebble Beach Resorts
Guests can choose to stay at The Lodge, The Inn at Spanish Bay, or the Casa Palmero with luxurious accommodations and views of the ocean and dunes. For golf, the resort offers the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill, The Links at Spanish Bay, the Del Monte, and The Hay, recently redesigned by Tiger Woods. A spa, pools, a variety of dining venues, horseback riding, tennis, and the beautiful Monterey Peninsula and 17-Mile Drive provide much to see and do aprés golf.
Big Cedar Lodge
Big Cedar Lodge gold course in Branson, MO Credit: William Watt/Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge
This wilderness resort in Missouri's Ozark Mountains offers a wide variety of accommodations, including lodge rooms, log cabins, cottages, and glamping tents. Five golf courses, designed by golf's top names, are set among mountains, streams, and waterfalls, with an abundance of natural beauty. The resort offers boating, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, and a variety of activities for children.
The American Club Resort Hotel
A five-star, five-diamond resort with classic elegance and a fascinating history, the hotel offers a variety of guest rooms and suites, the Kohler Waters Spa, several restaurants, and a variety of outdoor activities. Golf courses include the world-famous Whistling Straits course, home of the 2021 Ryder Cup, as well as The Irish, The River, and The Meadow Valleys, all designed by Pete Dye. The Baths of Blackwolf Run, a 10-hole par-3 course, might be a welcome change after the challenges of Dye's 18-hole designs.
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Austin TX exterior view from the golf course Credit: Courtesy of Omni Resorts
Located in the hill country of Austin, the Omni is set on 4,000 scenic acres. The resort includes the Mokara Spa, an expansive fitness center, adults-only pool, kids' splash pad, nature trail, and seven dining venues. Four top-ranked golf courses, a Golf Academy, and a Fitting Studio provide stunning views, variety, and opportunity for improvement (as well as fun).
Exclusive Windsor Club suites, guest rooms, cottages, and estate homes provide a range of accommodations, and twenty restaurants, bars, and lounges offer something for everyone's taste. The resort includes a spa, casino, retail shops, and outdoor activities for adults and family members of all ages. The Greenbrier course, home of the 1979 Ryder Cup, and the new Ashford Short Course, are two of the resort's four golf courses.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Kiawah Island Golf Resort Score: 92.85 | Credit: Steve Uzzell/Courtesy of Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Set on an unspoiled barrier island, Kiawah offers ten miles of shoreline for swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, surfing, fishing, and more. Visitors can choose the five-star Sanctuary Hotel or a stay at The Cottages at the Ocean Course, home of the 2021 PGA Championship. Five courses including Turtle Point, designed by Jack Nicklaus, and the famed Pete Dye Ocean Course offer variety and challenge along with stunning views.
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
Aerial view of The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, Georgia Credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton
An hour from Atlanta, this lakeside resort offers guest rooms, suites, cottages, and the stunning four-bedroom Lake House, with private pool and patio. Five golf courses and the Kingdom at Lake Oconee — with private instruction, custom club fitting, and the latest technology for practice and swing analysis — make this a golfer's paradise. Find all this, plus boating, swimming, fishing, and the nearby Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds for archery, a sporting clays course, canoeing, and off-roading.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
This five-star resort, set among Tucson's Tortolita Mountains, features three swimming pools, several restaurants, and a holistic spa using indigenous gemstones and desert extracts in a variety of therapies. Guests can enjoy guided hikes, biking, stargazing, and the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert. The club's 27 holes, designed by Jack Nicklaus, create three courses with elevation changes and Saguaro cactus forest and mountain views.
The Coeur d’Alene Resort
The waterside golf course with tall pines at The Coeur d'Alene Resort, Idaho Credit: Courtesy of The Coeur d’Alene Resort
The resort's guestrooms and suites, some with private balconies and fireplaces, offer views of Lake Coeur d'Alene, the marina, or the mountains. Six restaurants, a plush spa, water sports, and lake cruises fill the time when golf is over. A round at the Coeur d"Alene Resort Course, known for spectacular scenery and its 14th hole floating green, begins with a cruise aboard one of the resort's custom mahogany lake shuttle boats.