There was a time when American golf enthusiasts could count on one hand the number of exceptional resorts that suited their whims. There is no shortage of top-end travel destinations in the United States these days, each with a wide variety of courses and game experiences.

Are you looking for something classic, something historical? Pinehurst, Pebble Beach and The Broadmoor (among others) will exceed your expectations. Are you ready for a pioneering golf trip? There’s a property on the Oregon Eastern Borders that has your name on it. Maybe you want to test your courage on some of Pete Dye’s most challenging layouts? Getaways to Kiawah Island, The American Club and Sea Pines Resort are there for you.

Put simply, world-class golf resorts in the United States today are as numerous as the dimples on a golf ball; and the dozen examples that follow are sure to provide unforgettable – in some cases unique – experiences.

Pebble beach

Pebble beach

Courtesy of Pebble Beach

Although Pebble Beach is famous for its eponymous plaza, it is home to four extraordinary layouts. In fact, many golf enthusiasts have named Spyglass Hill better than Pebble Beach Golf Links. Nonetheless, a trip to Pebble Beach wouldn’t be complete without a round on the oceanfront golf course, which has already hosted six US Open. Just lower your expectations for a low score round. Notoriously small greens and numerous holes playing right on the cliffs of the ocean are two attributes that add to the difficulty of a round of golf at Pebble Beach. “Take a look around, hold your head up, and just enjoy the beauty of the area,” advises David Stivers, president of the Pebble Beach Company. “Whether you play a good round or a bad round, you are running on an iconic golf course in one of the most beautiful locations in the country.”

Pinehurst Resort

Pinehurst Resort

Courtesy Pinehurst

Gil Hanse’s dramatic redesign of the # 4 course last year definitely put the spotlight on Pinehurst’s flagship layout, the # 2 course, originally designed by Donald Ross and recently restored by Coore & Crenshaw. With nine 18-hole courses and a 9-hole short course, Pinehurst attracts golf travelers to linger. It also encourages them to follow the urge of the friendly North Carolina resort staff to “come back now”. The golf-focused village of Pinehurst and the resort’s varied golf courses along the area’s sandhills make return visits a must-do.

Sea Pines Resort

Marine pines

Sea Pines Resort

Courtesy of Sea Pines

A visit to family-friendly Sea Pines will quickly explain why so many PGA Tour players choose to build R&R there after the resort’s Harbor Town Golf Links host the annual RBC Heritage tournament every April. Golfers who love the challenge of forming shots will be heaven on the Pete Dye designed course. but they should turn it up on the other two layouts of the resort as well. Heron Point – another Pete Dye design – has similar signature features to Harbor Town, albeit in a slightly more forgiving package; while Atlantic Dunes – a major redesign by Mark and Davis Love III – combines difficulty with helpful support for golfers who can find their way around a course.

Sea Island Resort

Sea Island Seaside Course 2nd hole

Sea Island Resort

Evan Schiller

Sea Island is home to three different golf courses, perhaps the most famous of which is the Seaside Course. Originally designed by Harry S. Colt and Charles Alison as a 9-hole course, the golf experience at Seaside was, according to Bobby Jones, one of the best nine holes he has ever played. More recently, Tom Fazio has renovated the course and connected it to another nine-hole course at the resort, creating a championship course that hosts the RSM Classic on the PGA Tour every fall. In addition to visiting the resort for the aforementioned tournament, several PGA Tour players also consider Sea Island their primary residence (or their own second homes in the area), particularly because of the quality of the golf facilities. The resort now has a brand new performance center that allows guests to receive the same high quality training and club fitting services as the professionals.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island The Ocean Course

Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Steve Uzzell

For more than a decade, Kiawah Island was home to two golf courses designed by two of the sport’s biggest names – Player and Nicklaus. But it wasn’t until the Ocean Course opened in 1991 that the resort established itself as a golf destination not to be missed. The 1991 Ryder Cup, which was played on the Ocean Course, added to this notoriety, and the course has since hosted a PGA championship (in 2012) and will host that major again in 2021. A round of golf on the Ocean Course is a bucket list experience, but avid golfers staying at the resort will want to play the property’s other four layouts as well. Not only does each of these four courses showcase different aspects of the island’s various ecosystems, but they also offer a less formidable challenge than this infamous Pete Dye creation.

Silvies Valley Ranch

Silvies Valley Ranch Hankins 18 behind the green

Silvies Valley Ranch

Brian Oar

Usually a resort’s short course is a pretty harmless proposition. Not at the Silvies Valley Ranch, where the architect Dan Hixson only cleared areas for greens and tea boxes at many of the holes in McVeigh’s Gauntlet and left the rest of the sage thicket of the site undisturbed. The boutique resort on a 140,000 acre cattle ranch also features an 18-hole reversible championship course with wide fairways and large, solid greens with many contours. It’s a combination of features that gives everyday amateurs a chance to get low scores, but they still mostly need to get good shots to do so.

The greenbrier

The Greenbrier The Meadows Hole

The greenbrier

Courtesy The Greenbrier

For golfers, a visit to The Greenbrier is like taking a lap at 55 mph in a Delorean with a plutonium-powered condenser. The West Virginia resort welcomes and promotes its story – a backstory shaped by courses that first opened for play in the second decade of the 20th century. At its core, The Greenbrier golfing experience centers around the Old White TPC Course, a facility originally designed by Charles Blair Macdonald and Seth Raynor, two course architects who have created iconic design features of historic Scottish golf courses such as Prestwick, North Berwick. and the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar Lodge: Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course

Big Cedar Lodge

Courtesy Big Cedar Lodge

If you start with a resort owner who loves dramatic nature views and then commit to building numerous championship quality golf courses along with some unique and pristine short courses, the end result is Big Cedar Lodge. The resort recently opened the Ozarks National, the first Coore & Crenshaw course in Missouri, introducing elements of early American golf architecture to the southern Midwest. Later this year, Big Cedar will unveil Payne’s Valley, the first Tiger Woods-designed public golf course and only the second Woods-designed course to open in the United States.

The American club

The American club

The American club

Courtesy of the American Club

Golf travelers traveling to Kohler, Wisconsin do so to play Whistling Straits – a world-famous Pete Dye course that has hosted three PGA championships and a US Senior Open and will soon host the 2020 Ryder Cup. Avid golfers would be remiss if they didn’t also tee off at the resort’s three additional Pete Dye courses – The Irish, The River and The Meadow Valleys. While the latter two parkland courses traverse idyllic, pastoral landscapes – and offer several opportunities to swing away from the tee – the players on the other two courses often have to fight against strong gusts of wind from Lake Michigan and, in the case of Whistling Straits, circle almost 1,000 bunkers. For this reason, a round of golf on this venerable course on the lake will always be unforgettable. . . and sometimes an exercise in survival.

Princeville Resort Kauai

Princeville Makai Golf Club 7th hole at sunset

Princeville Resort Kauai

Courtesy of Princeville Makai Golf Club

While there are several exceptional golf destinations on the island of Kauai, the Princeville Resort stands out for two main reasons. First, its location on the island’s north coast, overlooking Hanalei Bay, offers a view as majestic as any view on the island. Second, the Princeville Makai Golf Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. in the early 1970s, was built before the entire Princeville community was developed, meaning some of the most dramatic oceanfront properties were reserved for fairways and greens . This is one of the main reasons the place got its name, as Makai means “towards the ocean” in Hawaiian.

The Broadmoor

Broadmoor East # 18 and Clubhouse

The Broadmoor

Dick Durrance II

Experience two of the game’s golden ages while playing golf at Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. The resort’s two courses are a combination of holes designed by Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones, Sr. In 1918, Ross created an 18-hole course at the resort; However, this course was parceled out and joined together with two additional nine-hole layouts designed by Jones, Sr. in 1964. The East Course, for example, has a mid-range nine-hole course that has views from Jones, Sr. and challenging terrain from the first through the eighteenth holes – it was also the site of Jack Nicklaus’ first national title at the US Amateur Championship of the year 1959. The West Course also has a middle section with holes, the one from Jones, Sr. It is characterized by narrow fairways and many dogleg layouts with spectacular approach shots.

La Quinta Resort & Club

Nicklaus Tournament at PGA West - La Quinta, CA

La Quinta Resort & Club

Rob Perry Photography

This Waldorf Astoria Resort property uses the slogan “Games Where Legends Played” and it is not an exaggeration. The resort has hosted an annual PGA Tour event since 1960 – first the Palm Springs Golf Classic and now known as the Desert Classic, presented by Workday – and its multi-day Pro-Am event has drawn some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Burt Lancaster (not to mention former US presidents like Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, and George HW Bush). With five courses – three designed by Pete Dye and layouts designed by Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman – the La Quinta Resort & Club offers an abundance of golf options. The Stadium Course may be the resort’s best course, but like so many of Dyes Championship layouts, it is a serious test of golf. In fact, the distinguished course architect said of this particular course: “Here you can find love and hate.”