Golf trips combine all of the greatest aspects of a holiday into one, with immense scenery, a fun and challenging course to compete against, and the relaxing times at the clubhouse. The golf course is perfect for just a few people or a small group of friends to base a trip around.
The USA is a huge place, almost a whole continent in fact, and so the nation offers a very diverse range of golf courses for you to plan your golf trip around. As the country is quite golf-oriented, there are courses available publically and privately in every state, many of which are ranked among the best in the world.
To plan your golf trip, you must first hone in on the season in which you want to travel and the course which you wish to spend your day competing on. Then, look into the cost of flights, nights in a hotel, and the costs of playing on the course – such as the green fee and buggy prices. Here, you’ll learn all about the very best that the USA has to offer those looking to embark on a golf trip as well as recommendations for the best time of year to fly out and top golf courses for different levels of budget.
What’s the best season to go on a golf trip to the USA?
Each season brings a different golf experience, particularly when it comes to how many people are on the courses at any one time. Summer can be a nightmare at the public courses, and the spring can be just as bad. For most, the winter is too cold with bad weather adding uncertainty to your day. So, that leaves th crisp air of autumn as the prime season to golf in the USA.
Being such a massive country, the weather in the USA throughout autumn – or as Americans call it, ‘fall’ – varies tremendously. For a more relaxing, warmer experience, you’ll want to aim for one of the southern states. In the autumn months, the average temperature in Alabama is 17.6 °C, and it’s even warmer in Texas at an average of 18.6°C. But, if you’d like to enjoy a bit more warmth in autumn, then Florida at an average of 22.6°C and Hawaii at 22.1°C will suit you to a tee.
The USA’s most famous private courses
While it’s almost impossible for the average golf player to enjoy a round on many top private courses, they certainly act as a fine advertisement for the lofty standard of courses found around the country.
The most famous course, due to its place in the annual Masters Tournament, has to be the Augusta National Golf Course. The most famous aspect of the course is the 13th hole, currently standing as a par-five. But, this may yet be lengthened if the club can extend into a portion of the close-by Augusta Country Club.
Pine Valley Golf Club has recently been voted as the best golf course in the USA, taking back the crown that it has owned multiple times since 1985. Pine Valley has been sculpted from the sandy pine barrens on which it sits, creating incredible scenery and an architecturally superb course to play on.
Cypress Point is yet another iconic golf course in the USA, sitting on Pebble Beach in California. It’s a short and charming course which celebrates its original architecture by holding its grand form on the jagged seafront.
The USA’s best public courses
When planning your golf trip, it’s the public courses which you’re most likely to have at the centre of your holiday. While the top-end private courses offer the pristine and professional feel for huge membership fees, there are also some incredible public courses dotted all over the USA.
One of the most highly-rated public golf courses in the USA, Pebble Beach Golf Links sees patrons play along the seafront while the Pacific ocean crashes below. The course boasts some real challenges, including a mighty oceanic chasm on the eighth hole which players have to fire an iron shot over to make it to the sloped green.
Ocean-side courses often gain critical acclaim, which is the case with the Pacific Dunes of the Bandon Dunes Resort. With ominous dunes, jagged fairways, and sloped greens, Pacific Dunes presents a unique challenge that tests players in ways that they didn’t know needed testing on a golf course.
Keeping in theme with these stunning, water-coddled courses, the Ocean Course of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort is an iconic course described by some as a diabolical creation. It boasts slanted greens, rough-edged bunkers that merge into the dunes, and sawgrass around every hole.
Planning your golf trip around your big or medium budget
Autumn is the best time of year to go on a golf trip in the USA due to the smaller crowds, beautiful scenery, and favourable conditions that you can find in many of the southern states and Hawaiian islands. Almost all of the top golf resorts in the USA offer packages for accommodation and days on their courses which can vary from season to season, so the numbers below will be based on the rates found outside of the packages. So, keep in mind that you may be able to find cheaper rates on the websites of the golf courses or even through comparison websites.
For those with a big budget, one location stands out as an exotic getaway with a simply stunning golf course, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the island of Hawai’i. To get there, you’ll want to fly into Kona International Airport at Keahole as the hotel is 42.6km away, as opposed to being 123.4km from the other airport, Hilo International Airport.
Staying at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel with a stunning golf view will cost from around $425 to $875 per night depending on the room that you select in the Main Tower. Through autumn, the general green fees are from $235 to £285 per person, which includes the golf cart rentals, bottled water, and range balls for the 18-hole, par 72 course.
If you’d prefer that your golf trip is based on a smaller starting fee than that of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, another fine location for a more moderate budget is the World Woods Golf Club. From Tampa Airport, the golf club is a 50-minute drive north into Brooksville. The Pine Barrens golf course in engulfed in pine trees which make for a stunning backdrop during the autumn months, while the trim fairways are littered with bunkers to bring about a grand challenge.
Playing 18 holes at the Pine Barrens or the Rolling Oaks course incurs a green fee of between $40 and $69 through the autumn months – which includes the cart fee. As for accommodation, if you wish to stay at World Woods, you can get a three-bedroom villa for between $209.80 and $265.30 per night, or up to $176.50 per night in a two bedroom villa. If you do stay in the villas, 18 holes of golf is cheaper, costing up to $45.
Warm autumn climates with that crisp air, incredible scenery, and fantastic golf courses are on offer by the bundle across the USA. As for your golf trip, be sure to have a look around your options as the USA is a vast country with many different golfing experiences on offer in every state.