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RyanC74

US Golf Trip - Advice and Recommendations

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Hi guys,


I am interested in a golfing trip to the States over the next couple of years but the amount of choice is quite overwhelming when looking at possible locations. I also understand that a lot of the courses are members and members’ guests only.

I understand that it is a pretty open question/discussion but I’m looking for advice and opinions on where the 'best' location would be for a golfing trip would be, taking into account:

  • Availability of courses (e.g - non-members allowed)
  • Variety of course
  • Weather/Best time of the year to play there
  • Affordability - mixture of higher end courses and a good selection of good but reasonably priced courses
  • Other attractions around the area

Very much just a thought at the moment but would likely look at the trip being a couple of weeks long. 

Thanks in advance!

 

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Welcome to TST.  You're going to have to supply more information for us to help you.   When you talk weather, it's dependent upon the time of the year.    Upper Michigan has some great golf but it's seasonal, you'd want to visit anytime from June thru September.  I'm sure others will chime in but help us help you.     Give us a general location, time frame for your visit and your budget.  

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Where are you coming from? If you're coming from Europe it's going to be easier (and probably cheaper flights) to play on the east coast, somewhere like Pinehurst or Florida (or both) compared to if you are coming from Australia where it would be easier to play on the West coast, places like Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Bandon Dunes, etc.

A lot of it too depends on how much travel you want to do. Do you want to stay in one place over the entire 2 weeks, or do you want to drive around a bit and see some different states/regions?

If you want to travel and budget isn't an issue, an option that comes to mind for the East coast is to fly to Orlando, play a couple rounds at Streamsong, drive north, play the TPC Sawgrass Stadium course near Jacksonville, continue North and stop for a day and a round in Hilton Head if you want to break the drive up, or keep driving and finish your trip up in Pinehurst, then fly out of Charlotte. (Or start in Pinehurst and work your way south)

West coast you could start in Torrey Pines/ San Diego area and work your way North, visiting Los Angeles on the way north, maybe playing Sandpiper just north of LA, keep going up the Pacific Coast Highway until you reach Pebble Beach, stay there for a bit then finish the trip in San Francisco. (Or start in San Fran and work south to San Diego)

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While there are plenty of private, member only clubs in the U.S., there are far more that are open to the general public.  As others have said, the time of year you intend to travel will play a big role in determining your options.  
 

As an example, Wisconsin and Michigan have some great options, but a season pretty limited to the very late Spring to early Fall.  North and South Carolina extend the season a bit, while Arizona and Florida provide year round opportunities, but really shine in the cooler months.  

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I have always wanted to try the Myrtle Beach SC area. I’ve never been there, but have talked to people who have. Any of you folks who have first hand knowledge on this area for me and the OP?

As far as Wisconsin goes, it will be weather dependent. The best time is June-September for best weather. There are many public courses you can play for $30-$350 depending on your budget. Top of line courses would be Erin Hills, Whistling Straits, or any of the Kohler courses. Green Lake Wisconsin has a number of very nice courses that are in the $60-$100 range with nice housing and meal accommodations too.

Edited by CharlieB

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3 minutes ago, CharlieB said:

I have always wanted to try the Myrtle Beach SC area. I’ve never been there, but have talked to people who have. Any of you folks who have first hand knowledge on this area for me and the OP?

I have played a few of the courses there, but probably wouldn't recommend it as a "must stop" place for someone coming from a different country for a golf trip unless they are bringing significant others/kids. 

Myrtle Beach National Kings North is the best course I played while on my trip there.

Also there have been a ton of topics about Myrtle Beach courses and trips

https://thesandtrap.com/search/?q=myrtle beach&updated_after=any&sortby=relevancy&search_and_or=and&search_in=titles

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1 hour ago, CharlieB said:

have always wanted to try the Myrtle Beach SC area. I’ve never been there, but have talked to people who have. Any of you folks who have first hand knowledge on this area for me and the OP?

Dunes Golf and Beach club, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, Legends Resort (few different courses, but I recommend Doaks Heathland course), and Arcadian Shores is supposedly pretty good. 

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Naturally I could recommend plenty in South Florida during the winter.  But for variety I like the idea of hitting the Carolinas in summer, say Charlotte NC or Spartanburg SC possibly.  From there you can try out some of the fun Appalachian courses with their considerable height changes and heavy deciduous tree cover.  And you can also swing over toward the coast for flatter, open courses with palms and pines.  There are plenty of lovely public courses in the area where you will pay about $40 - $60 for morning tee times in summer.

I bet that you can get a similar experience in southern California, just with less trees and more sand.

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8 hours ago, RyanC74 said:

Hi guys,
I am interested in a golfing trip to the States over the next couple of years but the amount of choice is quite overwhelming when looking at possible locations.

First of all, welcome to the Sand Trap!  :beer:

As the others have mentioned, a lot of this will depend on who's coming with you.  If its you and the wife and kids, that brings a different set of requirements as compared with a group of 4 guys.  That being said, here are a few options on the East Coast, 

Myrtle Beach.  close to 100 courses, a great variety of courses in both quality and cost, a big beach resort, lots to do for non-golfers

Charleston SC to Savannah GA area:  Includes Hilton Head, Kiawah Island, Wild Dunes, and a few more.  More golf-centric resorts, although the beach is nice for the non-golfers.  Both Charleston Savannah are lovely cities with great dining options, but the golf resorts are at least a half-hour drive away.

Pinehurst area.  Really golf-centric, not a ton of non-golf activities, no beach.  Plenty of really good courses, with a good number of lower-cost options.

Towards the west I've been to:

Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona  Again, lots of gold in a wide variety of prices and challenge.  This is a major city, and golf is spread for miles all around.  

Palm Springs area - Again, lots and lots of golf courses, some outstanding, some good, some so-so.  

Others can talk more knowledgeably about Florida, Michigan or Wisconsin, Texas, and some of the other options.  Those are the ones I've had experience with.

 

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Unless you’re coming June-September ( September pushing it for Colorado/Michigan) then please let’s keep the Northern states of barren, miserable cold out of the conversation. 😃

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10 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Unless you’re coming June-September ( September pushing it for Colorado/Michigan) then please let’s keep the Northern states of barren, miserable cold out of the conversation. 😃

That is solid advice - as those are also the months to avoid playing southern state (FL, TX, AZ, etc) as the heat and humidity are oppressive; and I speak from experience having lived in Houston for almost 2 decades. Although for Houston the gates of hell usually open in April or May and it doesn't cool off until October, except for a passing hurricane.

For more than general concepts the OP should give some sort of budget and time frame for golfing trips - Pebble, Bandon and Pinehurst are great but pricey, there are great courses available everywhere at reasonable prices but you might have to get some local knowledge. I know there are some really good courses in Michigan, but they don't spend on promotional advertising, so they are not easy to find and you don't want to pick randomly because there are also some courses that aren't that great.

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2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

First of all, welcome to the Sand Trap!  :beer:

As the others have mentioned, a lot of this will depend on who's coming with you.  If its you and the wife and kids, that brings a different set of requirements as compared with a group of 4 guys.  That being said, here are a few options on the East Coast, 

Myrtle Beach.  close to 100 courses, a great variety of courses in both quality and cost, a big beach resort, lots to do for non-golfers

Charleston SC to Savannah GA area:  Includes Hilton Head, Kiawah Island, Wild Dunes, and a few more.  More golf-centric resorts, although the beach is nice for the non-golfers.  Both Charleston Savannah are lovely cities with great dining options, but the golf resorts are at least a half-hour drive away.

Pinehurst area.  Really golf-centric, not a ton of non-golf activities, no beach.  Plenty of really good courses, with a good number of lower-cost options.

Towards the west I've been to:

Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona  Again, lots of gold in a wide variety of prices and challenge.  This is a major city, and golf is spread for miles all around.  

Palm Springs area - Again, lots and lots of golf courses, some outstanding, some good, some so-so.  

Others can talk more knowledgeably about Florida, Michigan or Wisconsin, Texas, and some of the other options.  Those are the ones I've had experience with.

 

Speaking for the West Coast... Bandon Dunes in southern Oregon or the complex of courses on the Monterey Peninsula (i.e. Pebble Beach, etc.).  Bandon Dunes on the ocean is a "golf buddy" must play destination... select from 5 courses... playable almost year 'round.  Reasonably priced lodging on-site from 2 golf-centric lodges to cottages.  Restaurants aplenty, the Bunker Bar (think pool, poker, cigars and single-malt scotch) and McKee's Scottish Pub (think haggis).  A golfer's paradise without much else in the area.

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15 minutes ago, Wally Fairway said:

as those are also the months to avoid playing southern state (FL, TX, AZ, etc) as the heat and humidity are oppressive;

Nope. Not at all the same. Golf cart, cooler and it’s a good day of golf. People flock to hot spots in the millions every year here. Nobody goes to Michigan in January to enjoy the cold, wet misery. And AZ isn’t humid by any means. Golfing in hot weather doesn’t require extreme patience or perseverance. Golfing in -15 degree weather, snow and rain simply isn’t possible.

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5 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Nope. Not at all the same. Golf cart, cooler and it’s a good day of golf. People flock to hot spots in the millions every year here. Nobody goes to Michigan in January to enjoy the cold, wet misery. And AZ isn’t humid by any means. Golfing in hot weather doesn’t require extreme patience or perseverance. Golfing in -15 degree weather, snow and rain simply isn’t possible.

Nobody is saying to to Michigan or Wisconsin in the winter - but they are much more enjoyable to play in June-August than it is in the south, and you get up to extra 90 minutes worth of daylight as well. 
Then again I enjoy walking the course, and not sweating through my shirt while putting on the 1st hole ... but maybe that's just me.

You seem to want to write off some outstanding golf destinations because they have winter, it's fairly simple - don't go in the winter 

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My wife and make about three road trips a year. For her they are sight seeing, and visiting friends, and family road trips. For me they are golf road trips. "Have Golf Trolley Will Travel" is my motto. 

We always have a far point destination planned. A head back point if you will. However, how we get there is a daily decision.

For me, while on the road, if I see a "Golf Here" sign, I am pulling in to at least check it out. Most times I will play at least 9 holes. I have found quite a few hidden gems playing courses this way. 

If there is a famous, (or not so famous) course along our route, I will plan on playing these types of courses. Even if it involves a high mileage detour. I do call ahead to make sure I can get a tee time. 

We have found just driving down different highways, and back roads make for great road trip vacation. Nothing is planned, and what ever we find is enjoyed. 

Just offering an alternative thought for a road trip.  Golf, or otherwise. 

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10 hours ago, Wally Fairway said:

That is solid advice - as those are also the months to avoid playing southern state (FL, TX, AZ, etc) as the heat and humidity are oppressive; 

I played 37 rounds in Florida, June - Aug this year.   Almost all in the afternoon...

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18 hours ago, Wally Fairway said:

You seem to want to write off some outstanding golf destinations because they have winter, it's fairly simple - don't go in the winter 

That’s not what I said. You’re comparing the ‘don’t go season’ of the Northern winters to the summer of the South. Florida is golf all year round. Period. Colorado and Michigan aren’t. Period. Avoiding the south June-September is a preference only. Avoiding Colorado or Michigan December-March (and often more) isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity.

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