Go: How to arrange a luxurious golf trip without getting stuck in the debt?

The Links at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach features a regular bagpiper performance on the first tee of the course. ( Photo by David Dickstein )
By David Dickstein | [email protected]: April 10, 2024 at 10: 15 a. m. | UPDATED: April 10, 2024 at 10: 16 a. m. One of the beauty about sport, besides the hydrangea- flanked 13th hole at Augusta National Golf Club, home of this week’s Masters, is that unlike most expert athletics, you and I can really perform where the pros play.
Is Pebble Beach Golf Links, which hug the ocean, too beautiful to watch on television only in February each year? Then book a tee time online for a stunning California course that has hosted an iconic pro-am every year since 1947 and has made U.S. Open champions of such greats as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods. Do you want to play 18 at the Texas State Open in the Hill Country? The Ram Rock course, which is regarded as the most challenging of the four courses at the renowned Horseshoe Bay Golf Resort outside of Austin, welcomes everyone from scratch to hacker. Similar to the paradisiacal Plantation Course in Hawaii, Kapalua, where the wintertime Sentry Tournament of Champions is held, and TPC Sawgrass, Florida, where one of the most renowned stops on the PGA tour is made.
Unfortunately, for us golf lovers not among the top 1 %, water hazards and sand traps are n’t our only obstacles. To play the greens, it requires a lot of green. A round at Sawgrass, for example, can set one back a grand at peak tee times, making Pebble Beach sound like a bargain at$ 675. Another fact is that not every prestigious or well-known golf course makes the welcome mat for us regular golfers. For one, getting besties with a club member or former Masters champion is pretty much required for Teeing off at Augusta National.
The good news is that when we club-swinging legends yearn to play legendary links, we have other options. The U. S. is dotted with them, but if we take our virtual golf cart to the warm- weather golfing meccas of California, Hawaii, Texas and Florida, our GPS system can locate less forbidding championship courses that are also vacation- worthy because they’re linked to topnotch resorts with accommodations, dining and activities to match.
Where are these swaying Shangri-las? This question is well- timed. Aware that golf fever is peaking with this week’s Masters and next month’s U. S. Women’s Open— we’re in the heart of the PGA, LPGA, PGA Champions and LIV tours, as if you did n’t know — we’ve scouted the four aforementioned states for resorts that are well above par even if your score is n’t under par. Quality does n’t come cheap, but unlike some of the more hoity- toity clubs, this quartet of courses will welcome you with open arms, which, if you listen to Tiger, should be wide on the backswing to allow your muscles to stretch to their full potential.
Getting from west to east….

Ko Olina Golf Club
At the entrance to Oahu’s Ko Olina Golf Club, Michelle Wie, a retired LPGA champion, is presented with a statue. ( Photo by David Dickstein ) Golf in Hawaii is nearly as kingly as Kamehameha, so playing a tropics- kissed course that’s drop- dead gorgeous is n’t hard to do in the Aloha State. Finding a premier property with a cool, unpretentious vibe is what is harder than Sunday morning. That’s Ko Olina Golf Club on Oahu. Ko Olina, which has consistently been ranked among the top resort courses in the country, is a judgment-free zone with great taste in its collaborations with the choice property within the master-planned oceanfront community, the choice property at Ko Olina, and an on-site Roy’s Hawaiian fusion restaurant that might be the best in the chain.
The Ted Robinson-designed course has expansive landing areas, multi-tiered greens, and stunning water features. Michelle Wie, a retired LPGA champion, developed her game here, and there is a statue of her in front of the audience to demonstrate it. With the rental clubs being TaylorMade graphite, it’s tempting not to schlep your set because the pro shop consistently ranks among the best in the U.S. Inclusive of cart rental, a logoed tumbler and a basket of range balls, adult fees are no higher than$ 255, and go down to$ 190 after 1 p. m.

The 371-unit Four Seasons ( fourseasons.com ), which offers digs and dining to the five-star brand and serves as a model for luxury Hawaiian resorts that try to appeal to everyone, from young families to honeymooners to seniors, is accessible via a quick shuttle or walk away. R&amp, R-run activities include the five-star Naupaka Spa, entrancing lagoons and pools, and first-class horseback riding in the picturesque Waianae Mountains, as well as an impressive schedule of daily activities.
Spanish Bay Links
The Links at Spanish Bay’s Pebble Beach Resorts, which serves good food and good golf, are a good time. This unworthy duffer can now tell the difference between a” Scottish-style links” course and the real deal, having recently walked the storied course and hallowed halls of the 146-year-old Royal Troon Golf Club, which in July will host its 10th Open Championship. While the southern Ayrshire coast and Pebble Beach have little in common besides a shoreline, playing a round at The Links at Spanish Bay does suggest playing Royal Troon’s Old Course.
A bagpiper who plays from the first tee to the second tee helps spread the spirit of Scotland. He plays for about 45 minutes before sunset. Fee- wise, guests staying at The Inn at Spanish Bay pay$ 350, which includes a cart. It’s a stately and elegant hotel with 269 rooms, and has reciprocity with other Pebble Beach Resorts facilities ( pebblebeach.com ). Overlooking spectacular sand dunes with an endless view of the Pacific costs just north of$ 1, 000 a night, but that’s less than the rates at the sister properties, The Lodge and Casa Palermo.
Snob factor aside, “better” and “best” do n’t get much more than “good” — not when Spanish Bay’s lowest- price room still comes with a romantic fireplace, reading nook, choice of nine different types of pillows and other niceties.
Lost Pines Club
On Nicholas Holditch’s Lost Pines course, where he serves as lead golf instructor, great shots can be made with wild Texas bluebonnets and Nicholas Holditch’s backswing. ( Photo by David Dickstein ) The phrase “everything is bigger in Texas” certainly applies to the list of activities at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort &amp, Spa ( lostpinesresortandspa.com ), a Hill Country jewel along the banks of the Lower Colorado River. On more than 400 glorious acres just outside Austin, you can fish, ride horses and ponies, pet goats, alpacas, pigs and donkeys, say “howdy” to morbidly named Texas Longhorns ( Chuck, Sirloin, Brisket, T- Bone and Ribeye — really? ), go on a wagon ride and hay ride, trap shoot, fire off BB guns, slingshots and arrows, throw tomahawks, swim, float on a 1, 000- foot, palm tree- lined lazy river, play tennis and pickleball, and, oh yeah, golf.
Deep in the heart of Texas is a 7, 200- yard course well- described by the club’s lead golf instructor as “undulating and isolated”. Green fees start at$ 200. The redesign of holes 10 through 13 and rebuilt bunkers were the result of a recent multimillion dollar makeover, which also changed the name Wolfdancer. Lost Pines, a par 72 beauty created by golf architect Arthur Hills, is a par- 72 beauty dotted with rolling prairies, wooded ridgelines, and groves of native pecan trees.
At the Lost Pines Resort near Austin, Texas, golf and horseback riding are a daily occurrence. The nuttiest dessert served at Maude’s, a bastion of Southern hospitality ironically named after the Texas-sized pecan tree that towers over the outside tables, is apparently insufficient for those homegrown pecans. The main ingredient in the delectable bourbon pecan pie is still locally sourced, just like almost everything else guests taste, touch, and see at the resort’s 490-unit resort. Lamb sliders, artisanal charcuterie, and flawless libations that include a killer carajillo continue to be delicious. You might never order an espresso martini again if you take one sip of their version of this traditional Spanish coffee cocktail.
Before we leave Lost Pines, hoping to return again, a shout- out to Sushi By Scratch for a new- wave spin on the Japanese dining experience of omakase, where it’s basically chef’s choice through 17 individually paced pieces of nigiri, A5 wagyu beef and other delicacies. Seatings are limited to 10 patrons, each paying a minimum of$ 165 for this event meal. Sushi By Scratch’s Lost Pines location is one of 10 in the U. S., four of which are in California.
The Boca Raton
The Boca Raton in South Florida’s signature island-green 18th hole is a stunningly challenging way to wrap up a round. ( Photo by David Dickstein ) It’s hard to imagine a classier, cleaner and more comfortable resort than The Boca Raton ( thebocaraton.com ) in South Florida. This place is so exquisite after a history- respecting,$ 200- million reimagination, if it were n’t for the bill at the end it could qualify as heaven on Earth.
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Tommy Armour and Sam Sneed, who both served as The Boca Raton’s first two golf directors in 1926, are credited with creating the rich golf legacy that the club has today, winning 10 majors in succession. The resort’s Harborside Golf Course, exclusive to members and guests, is dedicated to these two legends. The par- 71, 18- hole championship- level course features 12 acres of water, some put to use for a signature island- green finishing hole. From June to October, green fees are$ 210. That includes a food and beverage cart as well as a golf cart, get this. We’re talking Asian shrimp salad, roasted turkey shawarma, rotisserie chicken salad and more delivered on the course by a pleasant attendant, and just for the asking. As we said, classy.
The nearby high-tech driving range is also nearby. Hitting stations powered by cutting-edge Toptracer technology that was developed to perfect your swing are included in the resort fee. A monitor provides useful information about the speed, distance, and spin rate of your golf ball. There are so many exciting options for digital gaming.
The Boca Raton in South Florida’s south Florida’s balconies offer a view of a yacht-lined marina. ( Photo by David Dickstein ) Taking off the cleats, also on the resort’s 365 acres are five hotels within a hotel that make up 835 total rooms. 112 of those units, all chic suites with private balconies and views of Lake Boca Raton, the Atlantic, and a yacht-lined marina, are claimed by the adults-only Yacht Club. A butler, exclusive dining, and an invitation to explore the South Florida coast while driving a$ 2,000 Aston Martin DBX are included. Which raises the question: Do we dream about purchasing a membership at Augusta National Golf Club or both?

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