As golf courses open back up across the UK, keen golfers are heading back to their local greens to practice their swing, and with the U.S. Masters having just finished, golf is definitely in the air.
See our pick of top golf spots to put on the course hit list from the East to the West coast of the US.
USA – WEST COAST
Sierra Star and Snow Creek – Mammoth Lakes, California
With immaculate forest-lined fairways, views of granite peaks, clear mountain streams, open meadows, wildflowers and even an occasional herd of deer or a wandering black bear on the green, there’s no more inspiring place to play golf than on one of Mammoth Lakes’ two public courses. Plus experts claim that you’ll see a 5-10% increase in your driving distance at more than a mile above sea level. Mammoth’s Sierra Star Golf Course – 8,000 feet above sea level – is the highest 18-hole championship golf course in elevation in California. Designed by Cal Olsen and built in 1999, Sierra Star is a challenging par 70. Set in the scenic sagebrush meadow at the base of the Sherwins Range with unobstructed views of Mammoth Mountain and the distant White Mountains, the challenging 9-hole, par-35 Snowcreek Golf Course is more exposed and rugged-feeling than Sierra Star, making it feel reminiscent of classic highland courses in Scotland. Prefer to hack balls as far as you can toward the mountains? Try Snowcreek’s ultra-scenic driving range with its newly installed water feature on the south side of Old Mammoth Road.
Legendary courses in Greater Palm Springs, California
Home to over 110 golf courses and offering visitors more than 300 days of sunshine each year, Greater Palm Springs earns its reputation as a top destination for golf in the U.S. Whether you’re looking for a casual round or demanding greens, courses across the nine cities that make-up Greater Palm Springs provide for all levels. Designs by legendary architects such as Arnold Palmer and Pete Dye also provide a major draw, in addition to the scenic mountain backdrops and expertly manicured courses. Top resorts include La Quinta Resort & Club greeting guests since the 1920s, Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage sitting on top of 360-acres and The Desert Willow Golf Resort and JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa, both in Palm Desert offering spectacular mountain views. When the sun finally sets, fine-dining, luxury spa treatments and pool-side relaxation awaits.
Wawona Golf Course – Yosemite National Park, California
One of only six golf courses located in a National Park, Yosemite’s Wawona Golf Course is a truly special setting. It was the first regulation course in the Sierra Nevada when it opened in 1918, and has provided golfers challenging but rewarding rounds ever since. Located right across the street from Wawona Hotel, this course was designed by Walter G. Favarque to blend seamlessly into its spectacular surroundings. Enjoy the nine-hole, par-35 national park golf course which measures 3,050 yards and includes two par-five holes and three par-three holes. Different tee positions per side provide a par-70, 18-hole format.
Mather Regional Park Golf Course, Sacramento – California
Mather Golf Course provides the perfect round of golf all year round. Located on a former Air Force base, there are 18 holes of tree lined open fairways and medium sized greens. Designed by Jack Fleming in 1959, Mather Golf Course continues to attract golfers of all skill levels. This championship length par 72 has three tee boxes that provide the opportunity to test your skills and will challenge how much of a long ball hitter you are.
Take your pick in Colorado
Pole Creek Golf Club, located 12 miles north of Winter Park offers tree-lined, links-style holes with breathtaking views of the Continental Divide. At 8,600 feet above sea level, it’s one of the highest 27-hole courses in North America. At Grand Lake Golf Course adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, you may be sharing the tee with some of the native elk, deer, fox and red-tail hawk that roam this tight, tree-lined course. Each hole of this 6,650 yards–Par 72 course offers a view of Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest natural lake, and the surrounding snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide.
Tucked between the sparkling waters of the Fraser River and the mountain splendor for which the Rocky Mountains are famous, Golf at Granby Ranch offers golfers of every level and interest an exceptional experience. The front nine of this 7,200 yards–Par 72 course serves as a warm-up to the back nine, where golfers will encounter several memorable holes incorporating lakes, wetlands, elevated tees, and large, deep bunkers. Located south of Granby, Grand Elk Ranch & Club is the newest golf course addition to Grand County. The 18-hole, 7,200 yards–Par 71 course opened in late 2002 and is Colorado’s first Heathland-style golf course. The course sits at an elevation of 7,935 feet, and offers views of federally protected wetlands that are habitat to hundreds of birds.
The Aspen Golf Club – Colorado
The Aspen Golf Club provides a challenging 18-hole course set in the heart of the Rockies and minutes from downtown Aspen. This public championship course is complete with a PGA award-winning golf shop, a state-of-the-art golf academy with practice area, full service restaurant, and full-service locker rooms. Highly skilled PGA staff offer group and private instruction, as well as golf school to elevate visitors’ game. After a round of golf head to the Red Mountain Grill where an array of delicious fine foods and refreshments are served with an amazing patio that overlooks the course.
Haymaker Golf Course – Steamboat
Located in the lush Yampa Valley Region of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Haymaker Golf Course is a Championship Golf Course Gem. Snow-capped Mount Werner frames many of the holes, while the spectacular Flat Top Mountain Range serves as a picturesque backdrop. As the day begins, directly ahead lies a challenging links-style course with native grasses and wetlands to enhance the wide open fairways. Created out of vast ranch-land and rock piles, this Keith Foster design is home to where many elk, eagles, and blue herons roam. In early spring, try a morning of skiing on Steamboat’s legendary Champagne Powder® Snow, followed by an afternoon of golf at Haymaker.
USA – EAST COAST
Florida’s Paradise Coast – Florida
An abundance of clubs and courses make Naples a golf lover’s paradise. With more than 90 golf courses in the area there are plenty of places to play, and several tricks to the tee box. JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort has two courses: The Rookery, recently redesigned by course designer Robert Cupp, and Hammock Bay, designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy. The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club’s course is the oldest in Naples and is included in the Florida Historic Golf Trail. For golfing visitors, courses reflect the native Floridian terrain and can pose unfamiliar obstacles to players. Before you take that first swing, keep in mind that the lush, green and relatively flat terrain of most courses in Naples and Marco Island can pose a challenging surprise with creative layouts, bunkers and water hindrances. Wildlife is also abundant on courses in the area. Expect close encounters with birds and other wildlife during your game. If your ball ends up in the water, be aware of alligators and turtles.
Navigate the bucolic terrain in Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh boasts a rich golf history and the state itself is home to more than 500 public golf courses. In Schenley Park, the Bob O’Conner Golf Course is the only course located within city limits and this beautiful 18-hole walking course is set within the rolling hills of the park and offers spectacular views of downtown. Just 40-minute from the city, the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort offers keen golfers two options. Mystic Rock, designed by the legendary Pete Dye, offers players a challenge unlike most others and the Par-72, 7,533-yard course has received top honours from Golf Magazine and Golf Digest. Shepherd’s Rock is a 7,151-yard golf course that used the rolling bucolic terrain and is ideal to fully utilize Dye’s brilliant imagination in fashioning an outing that is both fun and challenging.