The 2014 Masters Tournament, held at the famous Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia, has come to a close with Bubba Watson walking away with his second green jacket. Now that the “Super Bowl” of golf has come to a close, and warmer weather is just around the corner, it’s the ideal time to perfect your golf swing by visiting some of the top golf destinations in the nation.
South Carolina has some of the quaintest and surprisingly most challenging courses in the nation. Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, SC was recently ranked as one of CNN’s “10 courses every golfer should play,” and was noted as one of the “toughest links course in the world to possibly the toughest course in the world, which also happens to be by the ocean.” The Ocean Course was also the venue for Rory Mcllroy’s PGA Championship victory in 2012. Just nearby is Myrtle Beach, SC with its 60 courses, referred to by Golf Digest as “Myrtle’s Super 60.”
These courses are all unique, but what makes these courses even better is the resort stays offered. Myrtle Beach resorts are known for being incredibly golfer friendly, with most resorts offering golf deals for various courses in the area. If you are a beginner, this area is also a good match for you. As featured on The Travel Channel, Myrtle Beach hosts some of the top golf schools in the nation, such as the Classic Swing Golf School at Legends or The Riston-Sole Academy at Grand Dunes.
California has a climate and geographical features that can’t be beat, making several regions of the state the perfect backdrop to a long day of golfing. Pebble Beach Golf Links overlooks the Pacific Ocean in a breathtaking vista of rolling green hills against deep blue ocean. The area has hosted five U.S. Opens, with its sixth to be hosted in 2019, and was also ranked in CNN’s Top 10 courses list. What makes this particular course so popular with legends and enthusiasts alike is the combination of the unique and challenging landscape of the course with its rugged coastline, wide open vistas, slipping greens and cliffside fairways.
Check out Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, a top choice in all of California, ranked #1 by Golf Digest in top venues in California. Further south, golfers looking for a laid-back, relaxed course will find Torrey Pines Golf Course, the site of the Buick Invitational, favorite of local Phil Mickelson, and ranked as one of the most challenging courses in California by Departures Magazine. This course, also known as the “working man’s Pebble Beach,” is intended to be an all-purpose, everyman course for golfers of all levels to enjoy. And with the ideal climate of southern California, that’s a great match.When you think New York you may not think golf, but New York boasts some of the top most historical courses in the nation, a few of which made Golf Digest’s 2013-2014 ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. Shinnecock Hills of Southhampton, NY has a rich history as one of the earliest links in America, founded in 1891 and was even added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 as the oldest incorporated golf club. The course, known for its resemblance to the courses of the British Isles, uses the natural topography of the Shinnecock Hills to create a course that is both scenic and challenging.
Shinnecock has hosted the U.S. Open four times and is also the future site of the 2018 U.S. Open. Fishers Island Club in Fishers Island, NY also made the Top 100 list, and is also ranked #29 in the world. Originally designed in 1926, this seven-mile island course is one of the last great works by the famous Seth Raynor. This course, set against the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound, features geometric greens and a rocky shoreline.
Also on the east coast, nearby New Jersey features world renowned courses and historical treasures. Pine Valley Golf Club of Pine Valley, NJ has been ranked #1 yet again by Golf Magazine. This course is not for the faint of heart, or prideful, as the design for the course is an island. The tee is an island; the fairway is an island, and as is of course, the green. These isolated plots of land are then separated by water, sand, thick brush, forested areas, and steep drops.
Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield, NJ has been continuously ranked as one of the top public courses in New Jersey, named #1 Public/Daily-Fee Golf Course in New Jersey by Golf Week Magazine. The course, originally built in 1897, is famed for coining the term “birdie” and known as a local favorite of golf legend Arnold Palmer. The coastal view and challenging layout make this course ideal for pros and beginners with challenging par-4s on the 14th and 18th holes, and mildly challenging geographical features.
Coast to coast, there are courses and clubs for every level of expertise and preference. So whether you are looking for a historical landmark or a scenic beach view, the U.S. has a number of hidden gems when it comes to unique and challenging courses.[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=B00JBKDCPK]