Golf is a wonderfully fantastic and capriciously fickle sport. Weather, golf course eccentricities, 3 putting, lost balls and more set the most skilled players crazy unless they have a near-perfect round they’ll be talking about for years.
That’s probably one reason why most courses are so lovely — the sweeping, grassy lawns mingled with interesting features and trees or mountains on the horizon take some of the sting out of the bad shots and invisible-until- it’s-too-late bumps on the green.
It’s no wonder many golf enthusiasts plan vacations around the most gorgeous greens and handsome holes they can get a tee time on. If you’re a golfer who’s in it as much for the scenery as the swinging, here’s a handful of the most beautiful courses in the country you can visit.
PEBBLE BEACH GOLF LINKS, PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA
No list of this type can omit the No. 1 public golf course in the U.S., nestled in the protected southern base of the Monterey Peninsula around Stillwater Cove. Most holes have ocean views and cliffside ruggedness. Its challenging layout and ocean breezes mean this isn’t a cakewalk, but the inspirational views of crashing waves, hardy cypress and sites of some of the most historic shots in golf will keep you thrilling at your good fortune to be here. The Cypress Point Club is just over a 5-minute drive away with ocean views that are just as dramatic.
PACIFIC DUNES, BANDON, OREGON
One of the six courses of the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the southern side of Oregon’s coastline, Pacific Dunes is probably the most scenic. Spanning shore pines to 60-foot sand dunes, it’s designed to follow the naturally rolling terrain, giving it the appearance of being discovered rather than developed. Several holes provide direct views over waves crashing onto sandy beaches for unforgettable play. This and the resort’s other stunning courses were all built to honor the game’s origins among the dunes and meadows from its ancient Scottish origins.
WHISTLING STRAITS, SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN
The Straits course at this resort on the shore of Lake Michigan is another destination featuring rugged, windswept scenery, with the added entertainment of holes with less-than-encouraging monikers like “Endless Bite” and “Pinched Nerve.” It’s been rated the most difficult course in America by Golf.com, another reason not to get too disappointed when your actual golf game doesn’t match your visualizations. Just enjoy the genius
of one of Pete Dye’s masterpieces.
OAKCREEK COUNTRY CLUB, VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK, ARIZONA
You don’t need to travel far to reach a stunning golf course ready to greet you with open arms and breathtaking views. This 145-acre paradise welcomes players with manicured lawns backing straight back to sculpted red rocks, three picturesque lakes and tree-lined doglegs characteristic of courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., who in this case worked with his son Robert Jr. This classically laid-out course is considered “player-friendly” with plenty of room to correct for any errors, so this is a case where your round of play likely won’t be ugly in comparison to the setting.