8Great: September Golf Destinations
It’s a great time of year to take a golf vacation. Temperatures are cooling, the foliage colors are beginning to burst and course conditions are at their peak.
Below are eight late summer/early fall destinations that offer all the ingredients necessary for an exhilarating golf trip: Value-laden rates, multiple high-level courses to choose from and perfect weather.
1. Kaua‘i, HI
The “Garden Isle” is more than just white sand beaches and lush mountains. The picturesque locale hosts more top-ranked golf courses than any other Hawaiian Island.
Two royally-named clubs – Prince Course at Princeville Golf Club and Princeville Makai Golf Club – were designed by Robert Trent Jones II and offer playable layouts with unforgettable views in every direction.
Other resort amenity courses like Kaua‘i Lagoons at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach and Poipu Bay at the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa make it easy to spend time lounging at the beach or getting a rejuvenating spa treatment in between rounds. Even a hidden gem like local favorite Puakea Golf Course is frequently recognized by the likes of GOLF Magazine and Golfweek.
Don’t Miss: The longest continuous stretch of ocean holes in Hawaii at Kaua‘i Lagoons Golf Club, the only Jack Nicklaus Signature course on the island.
2. Canmore, Alberta, Canada
This vacation town in the inspiring Canadian Rockies is a favorite for native Albertans when the snow subsides and golf season is in full swing. There’s not a better selection of golf courses in Canada this close to one another.
Canmore Golf & Curling Club might be the most fun course in town – where you can literally step off a whitewater raft from the Bow River and tee off a few steps later. Across the street is Silvertip Resort, a rugged mountain course with the famed “Three Sisters” peaks as a backdrop on nearly every hole. Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club and The Fairmont Banff Springs are two Top-100 courses within an hour of Canmore that will also test your golf game (if you can keep your eyes off the scenery).
Don’t Miss: The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, the No. 1 golf resort in the country, is worth visiting for a day or two. It’s about a four-hour drive from Canmore.
3. Austin, TX
When it comes to golf in the Longhorn state, bigger is always better. Nowhere is that more apparent than at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin. Fall in the beautiful Texas Hill Country is perfect for golf and the resort provides guests the option of playing four acclaimed courses.
Fazio Foothills is the signature 18-hole layout – featuring five different tee boxes that make the experience enjoyable for all skill levels. Tom Fazio’s other layout on site is Fazio Canyons, which meanders alongside limestone-bedded creeks and majestic Red Oaks. The rest of your visit should also include playing two courses worthy of their namesakes: Crenshaw Cliffside and Palmer Lakeside.
Don’t Miss: A lesson at the renowned Barton Creek Golf Academy.
4. Upper Peninsula, MI
North of Michigan’s mitten-shaped mainland is the dense forests and hardy courses of the Upper Peninsula. Island Resort and Casino, home of Sweetgrass Golf Club, is located a short drive up the coast from Green Bay and makes for a great starting point to experience golf in this unspoiled setting.
Beginning at just $215 per person, the wildly popular “Perfect Foursome” package includes two nights at the casino resort and 18 holes at Sweetgrass and two other Upper Peninsula favorites: Greywalls at Marquette Golf Club and TimberStone in Iron Mountain. Sweetgrass, which annually hosts an LPGA Symetra Tour event, has a character all its own – you’ll notice historic bridges rescued from around the state connecting multiple holes.
Don’t Miss: The symbolic flame on the 10th tee at Sweetgrass honors the resort’s Potawatomi Nation heritage.
5. Biloxi, MS
There is not a better September golf-and-gaming destination in the U.S. than the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Rates are affordable, the weather still feels like summer and nearly every premier casino has an equally impressive golf course to show off.
Fallen Oak is one of the South’s most luxurious golf courses and only available to guests of Biloxi’s Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Don’t worry; a private limo chauffeurs you from the beachfront lobby to the rolling hills of the course, which is home to the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, a PGA Champions Tour event that has been won by Fred Couples and Tom Lehman in recent years.
Don’t Miss: The trendy Harrah’s Gulf Coast has its own amenity course worth checking out – The Grand Bear Golf Course across the bay in Saucier.
6. St. Andrews, Scotland
With the Ryder Cup returning to Gleneagles this October, the “Home of Golf” will once again be in the spotlight. The St. Andrews Old Course will host the 2015 British Open and is a must-play bucket list item for any golfer. Not to mention surrounding legendary courses such as Carnoustie and Turnberry.
Venturing across the pond can be one tall task, which is where travel agencies like Premier Golf come to the rescue. One of the largest golf travel companies in America, Premier Golf has been the exclusive provider of Ryder Cup travel packages since 1991 and also specializes in European golf excursions.
Don’t Miss: The seaside views from the nearby Jubilee Course.
7. Branson, MO
The live-music capital of the U.S. may be best known for its performances, but golf around Branson is not to be overlooked. Perched on top of Table Rock Lake, the par-3 Top of the Rock Golf Course was built over a seven-year period with input from Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson.
In conjunction with the 18-hole Buffalo Ridge Course (formerly Branson Creek Golf Club), Top of the Rock annually hosts the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf, the first PGA TOUR-sanctioned event to use a par-3 course in official competition.
Honoring Missouri’s homegrown champion golfer is Payne Stewart Golf Club. Each hole on the course recognizes one of Payne’s character traits: humor, style and high ideals. Additional courses around Hollister and Reeds Spring round out the Branson area as a premier golf destination.
Don’t Miss: Dinner at Arnie’s Barn, a 150-year-old wooden barn that was brought from Arnold Palmer’s hometown in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and reconstructed at Top of the Rock, complete with two lofts and vaulted ceilings.
8. Olympia, WA
September in the Pacific Northwest is one of the few stretches every year with minimal rain and invigoratingly crisp weather. Olympia, and the area around Puget Sound, is going through a recent golf renaissance of sorts that is worth cashing in on before the weather turns.
Salish Cliffs Golf Club at Little Creek Casino Resort has leapfrogged to the Top-5 of state rankings since opening in 2011 and is already considered one of the best casino courses in the country. The perfectly manicured greens, along with the numerous spa and entertainment amenities at the resort, make it the perfect place to set up base camp while you explore golf around the area.
Don’t Miss: Chambers Bay, site of the 2015 U.S. Open, is less than hour from the resort and makes for an easy day trip.