Summer is here and that means golf season is in full swing both in Atlanta and across the world. For golf enthusiasts looking for a little extra in their summer vacation, check out these four unique destinations. For those who live by the motto “a bad day on the golf course, is better than a good day anywhere else”, these over-the-top golfing vacations are sure to impress.
Destination: Rocky Mountains
When most people think of the Rocky Mountains, images of world-class skiing come to mind. However, Vail and Beaver Creek are also home to top-ranked golf courses. Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club features two courses – one designed by Tom Fazio and the other by Greg Norman. The courses are naturally divided by a ridge which is also a migration area for deer and elk. Excellent lodging options abound in Vail Village such as Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, which gives you access to Beaver Creek Golf Club. Near the southern edge of the Rockies is The Broadmoor, a golf club steeped in tradition and a premier resort complete with adventure activities, wilderness experiences, varied culinary options and whole-body wellness. Further north, in the heart of Canada’s Rocky Mountains, is the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. Renowned for its challenging layout and panoramic vistas (which might include a bear or moose sighting), this course keeps golfers on his or her toes. Off-course activities include helicopter tours, rafting trips, mountain biking, hiking, and fishing.
As the “birthplace” of golf, Scotland and neighboring Ireland have long been a destination for golf aficionados. It’s not only the sandy links style courses along the coast that make these areas special, but also the opportunity to experience the culture and lifestyles of each country. Though the Old Course at St. Andrews is the most famous, Scotland’s other continually top-ranked courses include Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and Castle Stuart. The Emerald Isle’s standout courses include Lahinch near Shannon, Waterville in County Kerry, the Old Course at Portmarnock in Dublin and Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. Castle visits, whisky and craft beer tastings, meeting with award-winning cheese makers and just enjoying a pint at the local pub ensure an experience to remember.
For a completely over-the-top experience, head to Fiji’s Laucala Island. With only 25 villas, this private island is the ultimate destination for golfers seeking luxury and privacy. The stunning golf course, with volcanic backdrops, features a signature par-five 12th hole with a green extending to the beach, which means wet feet at high tide. Your stay also includes innumerable activities such as scuba diving, horseback riding, kitesurfing, game fishing and even a ride in a personal submarine. Keep the adventure going in New Zealand. Known for its dramatic scenery, New Zealand is home to nearly 400 golf courses each with its own unique charm and design ranging from alpine beauty to idyllic seaside locations. Highlights include Kauri Cliffs, reminiscent of Pebble Beach with its 180° views, and Jack’s Point with holes perched on the edge of the cliff, dropping down to the waters of Hawke’s Bay below. Round out the trip with a helicopter tour, visit to area wineries and a stay at some of New Zealand’s top lodges and you have the vacation of a lifetime.
Of course, there are great golf get-aways right here in Georgia. Reynolds Lake Oconee features five signature courses designed by some of the world’s most famous golfers. Also, The Reynolds Golf Academy’s Charlie King has been rated one of Golf Digest’s Top 50 Teachers, making this the perfect place for both beginning and experienced golfers. The Ritz-Carlton hotel offers luxury, lake-side accommodations with indoor and outdoor pools, children’s programming and an award-winning spa. Exceptional golf extends to coastal Georgia at Sea Island Resort, ranked #4 out of the 75 best resorts in the U.S. With three 18-hole golf courses, world-class tennis facilities, luxury accommodations, and varied children’s and nature programs, Sea Island Resort is a long-standing favorite.