The thrill of competition is only part of the reason golfers love their game; the fresh air and gorgeous natural surroundings add to the appeal. So if you love the game, check out these seven courses because they are regarded as some of the best and most beautiful in the United States.
Golf is just one of the surprising ways to spend your time in the U.S. National Parks.
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, California
The Pebble Beach Golf Links are as beautiful as they are storied. Located along the central California coast (about 200 kilometers south of San Francisco), Pebble Beach has hosted five U.S. Open Championships and has thrilled golfers for nearly a century with its challenging 18 holes and breathtaking ocean views. The new fifth hole, which was designed by golf champion Jack Nicklaus and introduced in 1998, is one of the most gorgeous. The vista of Stillwater Cove makes this oceanfront hole a memorable one. But pay attention to ocean breezes, which may affect your club choice. When you finish your round, enjoy the view with a drink in hand at one of the Pebble Beach Resort’s many restaurants, or relax with a massage at the Spa at Pebble Beach.
Augusta National Golf Club
Home to the annual Masters Golf Tournament, the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, is one of the most lauded courses in the world. The 12th hole, Golden Bell, is one of the most popular due to its tree-lined green and beautiful azaleas. Though it’s very difficult for nonmembers to play this course, you can admire the views if you attend the Masters, which is held every spring. In addition to being a golfer’s paradise, Augusta also beckons to history lovers with its monuments to the U.S. Civil War.
Pacific Dunes is just one of the six 18-hole golf courses that make up the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the southern coast of Oregon (about 400 kilometers southwest of Portland). This course features an undulating landscape of naturally occurring fairways and bunkers that overlook the Pacific Ocean. You’ll encounter stunning ocean vistas as you tee off on many of the holes, especially 2, 3, 10 and 11. If you still have energy after your round, you can go for a hike in Bullards Beach State Park, located just north of town.
The Golf Club of Amelia Island
Amelia Island, Florida
Opened about 28 years ago, the Golf Club of Amelia Island rests on Florida’s northeast coast just outside Jacksonville. Though you won't be able to see the lapping waves of the Atlantic Ocean from the course, you won’t be disappointed by the views. The first nine holes are dappled with tall oak trees and picturesque lakes, while the last nine stand on lush marshland. Plan your golfing getaway to Amelia Island during winter, when the air tends to be drier and temperatures are a comfortable about 19 degrees Celsius. After you’ve finished your game, cool off with a dip in the ocean at one of the many nearby Florida beaches.
Pine Valley Golf Course
Clementon, New Jersey
The Pine Valley Golf Course in southern New Jersey regularly wins top honors in Golf Magazine's world's greatest golf courses. The course, founded by a handful of amateur golfers from nearby Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is home to some of the country's most unique and challenging holes. Although you can’t actually play this private course, you can enjoy the sweeping fairways and their beautiful forested landscape while watching the Crump Cup, an invitational amateur tournament, usually held in September.
Kauai Lagoons Golf Club
The Kauai Lagoons Golf Club sprawls out over a scenic section of Kauai, Hawaii, overlooking the island’s rugged coastline and towering peaks near Lihue Airport. The club boasts part of the longest continuous stretch of ocean holes in any golf course in Hawaii. The fifth hole is particularly scenic: It is part of what's been coined the "amen corner," meaning once you get past the challenging obstacles, you say amen and keep going. Golf legend Jack Nicklaus reportedly called hole 5 "one of the best holes anywhere."
Harbour Town Golf Links
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Harbour Town Golf Links play host to an annual PGA tournament called RBC Heritage, in which celebrated players Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have competed. This 18-hole course is one of three found within the Sea Pines Resort on South Carolina's Hilton Head Island. Players end their round on the course’s famous 18th hole, which overlooks the glittering waters of the Calibogue Sound and the island’s famous candy-striped lighthouse.
Play a round of golf in the heart of the USA’s big and bustling cities.