You’re planning that golf getaway but where to go? For those who feel sleeping is a waste of time, there are round-the-clock casino resorts or let’s face it. You want to play 36 or more holes each day and get enough ZZZs to do it all over again. Give you good golf, a sports bar and a comfy bed and you’re good to go. Then there are grand resorts with all kinds of perks and extras like spas, mega pools and tennis. Here are our picks.

Crystal Springs Golf Resort, less than an hour from Manhattan in Hamburg, New Jersey, has a golf course for every day of the week designed by George Fazio, Roger Rulewich and RT Jones Jr., along with the David Leadbetter Academy, tennis, water park and two spas. Accommodations include rental homes and hotels.

The Equinox in the picture-perfect village of Manchester, Vermont, offers golf on a hilly, scenic track designed by Walter Travis in 1926. Off course grab some specialized expertise at the Orvis Fly Fishing and Shooting schools as well as the Land- Rover Experience Driving School and grab some pampering at the spa.

bucket list golf destinationsFoxwoods Resort & Casino is a wow for “A” types. Owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Foxwoods has six casinos, 38 restaurants, and four hotels. Play golf on Lake of Isles’ stunning Rees Jones-designed courses, North and South, winding through 900 acres of wooded Connecticut countryside and around a lake. There is also an extensive practice facility and the Troon Golf Academy.

• The Sagamore in Bolton Landing, New York, overlooks Lake George, its grand old hotel evoking the Great Gatsby era. Play the historic Donald Ross course, enjoy a spa treatment and lounge by the lakeside pool. Stay in the hotel or in one of the The Lodges that come with fireplaces, kitchens and balconies.

• Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club, Galloway, New Jersey, founded as a gentleman’s club in 1914 and visited by presidents and golfing greats, is blessed with a classic Donald Ross design course, the Bay, stretching out to the wetlands with Atlantic City’s skyline in the distance. Another good choice, The Pines, was constructed in 1927.

Turning Stone Resort Casino rising out of the rural landscape east of Syracuse, New York, delivers round-the-clock action with three highly-rated courses Kaluhyat, Shenendoah, and Atunyote, venue for past PGA Tour events and the sweet par 3 Sandstone Hollow. Turning Stone has two spas, several dining venues and accommodations in the Tower and the quietly elegant Lodge.


bucket list golf destinations• Ocean City is the newest destination to be added to the mid-Atlantic region. Ocean City, which has always been a great family vacation spot has now added wonderful golf facilities and great packaged golf trips to the mix. With over 25 courses to choose from designed by legends in the game it is fast becoming a must play destination. Glen Riddle’s Man O’ War and War Admiral built in 2006 are a must play.

bucket list golf destinationsColonial Williamsburg in Virginia is not only a rich repository of history and culture, it is also a coveted golfing venue. The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club’s Golf Course designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1963 and the 9-hole Spotswood short course, are historic treasures while the Green Course treats golfers to a more modern layout designed by Rees Jones. Stay in a local inn or an antique village home and learn how life evolved during Colonial days.

• The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, has been welcoming guests for more than 100 years and is the former haunt of “Slammin” Sam Snead who lived and worked here for more the 60 years. Among the three celebrated courses are the famed Old White TPC, The Greenbrier and The Meadows. Adding to the upscale ambiance is a classy casino for resort guests and members, a spa, sporting clays, tennis and fishing.

bucket list golf destinations

Kingsmill on the James, Williamsburg, Virginia, has three superb tracks including The River by Pete Dye, the Woods Course by Curtis Strange and Tom Clark and the Plantation by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. There is also the par 3, nine-hole Bray Course especially popular with families, a marina, tennis and all kinds of water toys,

Myrtle Beach running along the white sandy coast of North and South Carolina has close to 100 courses, hundreds of rental condos, miles of shopping outlets and so many places to eat and drink, you could go out every night for a year and still not hit them all. Choose the brash and lively “Grand Strand” in the middle; the quieter low-key Brunswick Islands, to the north or go south to Murrell’s Inlet, home of a Tom Fazio TPC course, Pawley’s Island and Litchfield Beach where life is more like the “Shag”— a smooth, Low Country dance.

bucket list golf destinationsPinehurst in North Carolina dating from 1895 has more than 40 courses including the eight top tracks at the Pinehurst Resort and the recently restored Donald Ross-design No. 2, the venue for both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. Stay in the reigning “Grand Dame” Carolina Hotel or book into the historic Holly (1895), the Manor or one of the villas. Save time for the Spa and other leisure pursuits like croquet and lawn bowling.

bucket list golf destinationsHammock Beach Resort & Spa on the east coast of Florida is a Salamander Grand Golf Resort with two superb and very different courses: The Ocean Course designed by Jack Nicklaus and The Conservatory, a Tom Watson Signature Course. Stay in high-rise condos and villas and have fun with a boatload of activities and facilities including a spa, beach, tennis, kids club and several pools—very user-friendly for families.

Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbor, Florida, just north of Tampa, was designed for golf with four highly rated courses: North, South, Island and Copperhead, venue for the PGA Tour Transition Championship. Book into one of the well-appointed condos and unwind in the Indaba Spa and pools. For killer steaks, dine in Packard’s and for a change of pace, hit the tennis courts.

Kiawah Island in South Carolina near Charleston, delivers an over-the-top resort experience with five courses that wind through an incredible landscape of marshes, tidal creeks, live oaks, beaches and wildlife. Kiawah’s courses come with pedigrees from designers like Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Gary Player and Clyde Johnston. One of the most uber-lux resorts in the south, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, extends a low-key sense of privilege while the courses have hosted prestigious events like the Ryder Cup and PGA Tournament.

• Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills near Orlando, Florida, appeals to those looking to ratchet back to a quieter, “Old Florida”-like ambiance in a charming old Spanish-style inn. Tee up at El Campeon one of the oldest courses in Florida dating back to 1917 and untypically hilly for Florida and Las Colinas (The Hills) designed by Gary Koch (1992) featuring more modern elements. There are 190 comfortable guest rooms as well as a pool, billiards and game room, spa, fitness center, marina, tennis and trap and skeet range.

• PGA Village, Port St. Lucie, Florida, is the place to hone your game with a 35-acre Learning Center, a six-hole short course and three designer courses: Wanamaker and Ryder courses by Tom Fazio and the Pete Dye links-style track. Practice, learn and play all day long and visit the on-site Historical Center loaded with memorabilia from golfing greats, a golf library and major trophies.

• PGA Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is all about golf, golf, golf with five muscular courses: The Champion, venue for The Honda Classic, The Fazio (formerly the Haig redesigned by Tom Fazio), The Palmer, The Squire and the Estates. After a $100 million renovation, the resort  has emerged with a more contemporary flair accented by red, ochres and black. There is a huge lobby bar buzzing with energy, a piano bar, an award-winning Spa and an elegant zero-entry garden pool.

• Primland, a 12,000-acre playground in southwestern Virginia, is one of the few places where easy access does not sabotage staggering scenery. Rising 3,000 feet in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Primland is a rare find for those who fish for trout and bass, hunt, horseback ride, hike and play golf. At night fall asleep in piles of luxury in your over-the-top cottage or suite. In addition to a Donald Steel-designed course running atop the mountains where nature has helped call the shots, there is a spa, fitness center and stellar Observatory Dome.

• Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Georgia, strung along Lake Oconee has five highly-rated tracks by Bob Cupp, Rees Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye plus the private Creek Club and The Taylor Kingdom at the Reynolds Golf Academy. At Reynolds it’s all about savoring an incredible setting of lakes, trees and nature. Check into the Ritz-Carlton Lodge and enjoy garden pools, fitness center, spa, water sports, and tennis,

• Saddlebrook Resort & Spa in Wesley Chapel near Tampa, Florida, attracts golfing groups as well as families and leisure guests. Well-appointed, two-story condos are arranged around a car-free “walking village” with a lovely garden pool, restaurants and fitness center. The Saddlebrook Golf Course winds through stands of cypress and moss-draped oaks while The Palmer is a tough but fair test with some elevations. There are 45 tennis courts, an extensive practice facility, the Saddlebrook Golf Academy and the Preparatory School where young golfers and tennis players come for advance sports instruction and a full academic program.


bucket list golf destinationsCasino del Sol, Tucson, Arizona, owned and operated by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe sends out a lot of good vibes from the smartly decorated rooms and casino to the new Sewailo golf course designed by Notah Begay III with architect Ty Butler and the tribe. Nearby are other fine tracks including the 27-hole Arnold Palmer Signature course at Starr Pass, Tubac Golf Resort, venue for the film “Tin Cup, ” Dove Mountain’s three nines where the pros play and The Gallery Golf Club, also at Dove Mountain..

bucket list golf destinationsCordeValle, a Rosewood resort south of San Francisco, excels in personal service and low-key luxury. With just 45 rooms terraced up the hills overlooking the Santa Cruz Mountains, CordeValle appeals to high-end golfers as well as couples looking for romantic getaways. Set on close to 1700 acres, CordeValle’s scenic RT Jones Jr. course rolls through canyons and hillsides planted with sycamores and oaks while water comes into play on a handful of holes. Other facilities include an 85-acre vineyard and winery, clubhouse, fitness center, restaurants and Sense, a Rosewood Spa.

The Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California, has been going strong since 1965 when it hosted screen icons like Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope. Now it’s better than ever after the completion of golf course renovations by the design team of Damian Pascuzzo and Steve Pate on both the Champions and Legends Courses. Rooms and suites are situated in two-story Spanish-colonial style buildings oriented to the golf courses, gardens, spa, Chopra Center and tennis complex.

Palm Springs tucked into California’s Coachella Valley has long been a fashionable escape for celebs from LA and it still is. But today, one big reason to come here is golf with more than 100 fine tracks, well-watered swaths of lush green grass laid over the dry desert floor punctuated by fan palms and misty mountain vistas that ring the valley. With day-after-day of sunshine, golfers play here year round at courses like Marriott Desert Springs, SilverRock, Indian Wells Golf Resort’s two tracks, La Quinta and PGA West’s five public tracks by Dye, Palmer, Norman and Nicklaus. Among the many toney places to stay are the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, La Quinta Resort and Renaissance Esmeralda Resort.

• Scottsdale, Arizona, with annual temperatures averaging 72.6 degrees, more than 330 days of sunshine each year, and close to 200 courses is a golfing mecca. Tee up at top notch desert tracks like The Boulders two courses, North and South, Eagle Mountain, The Raven at South Mountain, Grayhawk Golf Club and the new Ambiante Golf Course at the J.W. Marriott Camelback Inn Resort. At the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, an elegant Spanish-style property, enjoy golf on their TPC’s Stadium and Champions Courses and unwind with a treatment at the Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa.


bucket list golf destinationsThe Algarve, a sunny temperate region along Portugal’s southern coast is home to more than 35 golf courses. Fly into Faro, check into one of the whitewashed villas or luxury hotels and immerse yourself in great golf including the courses at Vilamoura, Amendoeira, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo adjacent to Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Scotland continues to be on the “Bucket List” of golfers everywhere. If you go, we suggest you book with a Scottish tour operator like David Harris of Bonnie Wee Golf, who can help you get on the Old Course at St. Andrews as well as line up other great plays like Kings Barns, Turnberry, Carnoustie, Macrihanish and Gleneagles. Bonnie Wee Golf customizes tours in Scotland as well as Ireland. The company also arranges Executive Heligolf trips and special perks like a Bonnie Wee Piper.

Ryder Cup: This is the year of the Ryder Cup, so why not go over “The “Pond” to Gleneagles. Premier Golf, the only licensed distributor of Ryder Cup travel, is offering several packages to make that all happen.

bucket list golf destinations• Ireland possesses more than one-third of the windswept challenging seaside links courses in the world, a bonanza for those who love golf. Play Lahinch in County Clare, one of the world’s finest and oldest links course, Ballybunion in County Kerry, Connemara in Galway and newer tracks with old souls like Greg Norman’s Doonbeg and the dramatic Old Head stretching out into the ocean. Rental clubs are available at most courses, but bring a few extra balls: golf balls in Ireland are pricey. Expect to walk. Although pull carts are available, many courses do not have motorized golf carts.