The 10 Top Golfing Destinations – where would those be? Well, that depends completely on your point of view. Do you intend to play the game with leisurely zeal, watch the game played by experts or escape your wife and kids for as long as reasonably possible while you take them on vacation?
Do you want the hardest golf course imaginable? Or do you like to be pampered with an easy course that has a five-star restaurant at the turn?
It's all a matter of perspective. With that in mind, we looked over some credible lists of golf destinations and compiled a casual survey and then derived a truncated list of our own – because who likes to get lost in too many choices, right?
Yes, this started with that go-to guru of all things known to man called Google the Omniscient. This got us thinking about tournaments, so that's where we start:
If tournaments are your thing, you would be hard to find a Top 10 list that doesn't include the Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia, specifically at the Augusta National Golf Club.
What is to say about the Masters? If you had Masters tickets 2017 in your pocket last year, let's just say you would be the hippest, coolest, most admired golfer on your home course, even if you're handicap was in the low 20s. You'd be the envy of every foursome in the land, your iron shots notwithstanding.
Yes, it's the history. Yes, it's knowing the best in the game tore up divots on that very sod you are walking on. Yes, it's the endless azaleas and the traditional pimento sandwiches. Yes, it's the incredible golf course. This is what makes the Masters the Masters.
But it's more than that. This is a golf course that smells like prestige should smell. This is the course that people say actually looks like every blade of grass is individually trimmed. Each flower petal, each pebble of stone on the walkways – this is the most impeccable creation on the planet, visitors say. This one is wow from start to finish.
After that, sure, you should get out to California for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to get a look at the most gorgeous course in the country that is – this being California – the au naturale version of beauty. Where Augusta is the most manicured, Pebble Beach is the barefoot beauty with the windblown hair.
Hey, since we're dreaming, next try the Hyundai Tournament of Champions simply because … well, it's in Kapalua, Hawaii.
Hardest Courses to Play
Golf Digest should know, right? Their Top 20 Toughest courses starts with The Ocean Course on Kiaway Island, South Carolina. Why? This monster course hugs the Atlantic Ocean – and it takes a monster to hug an ocean. Its layout defines a local tidal estuary with an endless variety of obstacles from dunes, marshlands, ponds and tiny, isolated greens that are tucked under the wild huffs of wind coming from the ocean.
Other contenders for the heavyweight crown include Pine Valley in Pine Valley, N.J., the Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania, Spyglass Hill in Pebble Beach, Ca., and Bethpage State Park (the Black course) in Farmingdale, N.Y.
Is there a list of the easiest golf courses in the country? That doesn't make much sense, but that is where you would find me.
Along those lines, we turn to the travel website Babble for their list of the best family oriented golf vacations.
Babble has at their No. 1 spot: Palmetto Dunes Oceanside Resort, South Carolina. It's a perfect spot for golf beginners and other casuals as well as seasoned players.
It's easy to see why. Hilton Head Island, S.C., is known throughout civilization for its lavish lifestyle, great weather and terrific golf courses. The place is constantly bathed in a magical ocean spray and the scent of southern hibiscus. But it is all laid out for family fun, given the enormous time-share beach houses that hold a half dozen families each, offering accommodations custom fit for families.
The beaches are gorgeous, the restaurants are to die for, except that you can save a bundle by cooking at the time-shares, which offer plenty of room for everyone from toddlers to grandparents and everyone in between.