Spring is approaching and for us golfers, our clubs are getting itchy. Fortunately, the South is awash in destinations for a much-needed fairway getaway, from traditional resorts hosting big tournaments to approachable up-and-comers. Here are seven resorts to note in the South—and a little farther afield in a Southwestern golf haven.
The PGA has relocated its headquarters to Frisco, Texas. Why Frisco? Location, location, location. Located thirty miles from Dallas, the Omni PGA Resort will feature two new golf courses when it opens in May, including Gil Hanse’s Fields Ranch East, the future site of multiple PGA championships. Visitors will also find the Swing, a ten-hole lighted short course, and the Dance Floor, a two-acre putting course and entertainment hub.
If you golf, surely your bucket list includes Pinehurst, home to famous #2, the 2024 U.S. Open site recently restored by Bill Moore and Ben Crenshaw, and the beautiful #4, redesigned by Gil Hanse. Golf House Pinehurst, the USGA’s new campus, will open later this year with the USGA Experience, an immersive golf exhibition. With or without a Golf House visit, playing a few of Pinehurst’s nine courses is as good as it gets in North America.
A visit to Sea Island, Georgia, adds a great twist on the family golf story. In 2019 brothers Davis Love III and Mark Love redesigned their home course, home to the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic. The Scottish links–style Seaside Course and the parkland-style Retreat Course are also worthy adds to your agenda.
Pete Dye’s Ocean Course on Kiawah Island in South Carolina carries the reputation of one of America’s toughest tests, an exposed track with ten seaside holes, the most in the Northern Hemisphere. You’ll play against the wind, as pros did at the historic “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup and 2012 PGA Championship. Designers named Fazio, Nicklaus, and Player have also left their mark here, creating courses that will challenge your game and take your breath away for their beautiful Lowcountry vistas.
There is only one place in America to sample fairway fare from the Dean’s List of natural golf course designers: Streamsong Resort in the Sunshine State. Tom Doak, Coore & Crenshaw, and Gil Hanse have each etched a remarkable eighteen among the Central Florida lakes, dunes, and wetlands. These tracks were crafted from the bunkers outward, one of many facets that led Bill Coore to declare how “this landscape is different than anything we’ve ever worked with.” Coore and Ben Crenshaw will also debut a short course here in the coming year.
Golf getaways with buddies or girlfriends offer a chance to slip away from responsibilities and spend a few days playing, talking about, and playing more golf. Big Cedar has spent the last few years betting that you’ll do just that in the Missouri Ozark Mountains. This lodge features five courses, including one designed by Tiger Woods. Woods joins the ranks of player/designer teams including Nicklaus, Watson, Player, Fazio, and Coore and Crenshaw here. That’s fifty-two major wins by last count guiding these grounds.
South by Southwest
Southerners will agree that it’s just so cool to play golf in the desert, whether you’re chipping out from behind a four-armed saguaro or, in the case of Tucson National’s Catalina Golf Course at the recently renovated Omni Resort in Arizona, driving the same fairways the pros have faced in more than thirty PGA Tour events. The companion course, Tom Lehman’s Sonoran Golf Course, gives you different challenges. Located beside the clubhouse, Bob’s Steak and Chop House, a restaurant with roots in Texas, offers the perfect venue to settle those side bets.