For those who love the game of golf the United States of America couldn’t be a better place to call home. With over 45% of the world’s golf courses sprinkled from California to the Florida coast, there is no shortage of mind-blowing golf destinations to add to your bucket list. It is no wonder America is host to three of the four major PGA Championships each year with such a list of iconic courses to choose from, South Carolina to Hawaii, California to Florida, the choices are endless. Pack your bags, let’s take a journey across the country to highlight five of the all-time classic courses, a golfers road trip paradise. Coast to coast, driving or flying, this is one for the ages.
Pebble Beach, CA
Starting on the west coast there is no more iconic golf course than Pebble Beach. Arguably the most well-known golf course in the world it is no wonder so many revel at the thought of one day teeing it up here. Situated on the Monterey Peninsula on the west coast of California the backdrops here are pretty difficult to beat. The contrast of striking manicured green grass against the dramatic rocky shoreline has made for some of the more famous flyovers in golf history. With the combination of this unrivaled natural beauty and a course design that will challenge even the best of golfers, it is no wonder that it has been host to so many PGA tournaments throughout the years. Pebble Beach golf course has been host to seven men’s major championships, consisting of six U.S Opens as well as a PGA Championship and is slated to host the women’s U.S women’s Open in 2023 as well as another men’s U.S Open in 2027.
Torrey Pines, CA
It would be a sin to leave the west coast of California without a quick drive to Torrey Pines in La Jolla, 15 miles north of San Diego. Situated atop cliffs towering above the blue waters of the Pacific this is another coastal classic that will simply take your breath away. Named after the rare tree that is found in the wild along this stretch of San Diego coastline and on Santa Rose Island, Torrey Pines is well known as the best municipal golf course in the country. Although host to the annual Farmers Insurance Open Torrey Pines Golf Course will go down in the books as the host to one of the most dramatic wins in PGA Golf history. Back in 2008, Tiger woods defeated Rocco Mediate, forcing multiple playoff holes both Sunday as well as the following Monday, and he did it on one leg with a double stress fracture in his left tibia as well as a torn ACL. TV history was made during the event which aired on ESPN as well as NBC making it the highest-rated golf broadcast on network TV in 30 years. With year-round sunshine, stunning vistas, pristine fairways and meticulously manicured greens, Torrey Pines is simply a golfer’s paradise.
Ocean Course Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Join the ranks of avid golfers who have tested their game at this American icon. With the most seaside holes in the Northern Hemisphere (ten to be exact that hug the Atlantic coastline) and blustering winds, you might want to bring an extra box of balls for this round. Although originally planned for the course to sit behind the dunes, designer Pete Dye’s wife offered her suggestion to raise the entire course for its unobstructed views of Kiawah’s mesmerizing coastline. This new and improved view carved its way into U.S golf history-making The Ocean Course one of the more challenging courses in the country with its brisk and severely unpredictable Atlantic breezes. With its jaw-dropping backdrops, impeccable design and overall challenging play it is no wonder Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is only one of four courses to have hosted all of the PGA of America Championships. Host to the recent 103rd PGA Championship the Ocean Course was a part of golf history as Phil Michelson became the oldest golfer to win a major championship at the ripe age of 50!
Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes Course
Situated on the dramatic Pacific Coastline in Oregon, Bandon Dunes is said to be one of the best all-around golfing venues in Western America with stunning backdrops to match its quartet of world-class golf courses. The Pacific Dunes course is viewed to many as the standout of the four courses which is reminiscent of some of the UK’s greatest links layouts. Architect Tom Doak has created a true golfing masterpiece by melding the Pacific Northwest’s spectacular natural landscape with masterful golf course design. Awe-inspiring views throughout your round are said to be so incredible that you just may forget about the fact that you are not setting any course records, to say the least. Winds of up to 25mph, super-fast undulated greens and cavernous bunkers will challenge even the best of golfers so needless to say you need to bring your A-game to make par here. No carts, no cart paths, not a single piece of real estate on any of the sprawling links courses, a course made for golfers by golfers. With a fifth course being added this year called Sheep Ranch it is safe to say that 130 holes of golf all together makes for a golfers’ dream come true.
Bay Hill, Orlando Florida
The home of arguably golf’s most famous name, Arnold Palmer, there couldn’t be a more iconic course to play when checking off that bucket list. Proclaiming it to be the best course in Florida Palmer’s history with the course is a story that needs to be told. While visiting Bay Hill for an exhibition match during the winter of 1965 Palmer found a golf course that perfectly suited his tastes with rugged natural surroundings teeming with wildlife and a sense of solitude that he found extremely desirable. With Palmer’s business savvy and ability to visualize his ultimate goal he gained ownership of Bay Hill Club and Lodge in 1970 and turned it into today which is one of the country’s top golf destinations. From the tips, the course measures in at over 7,200 yards and is a true test for golfers of all skill levels. Featuring several burdensome water features, players must draw upon the best of their golfing skills to navigate their way around this incredible layout. Palmer’s goal had come true when he transformed Bay Hill Club into a full-service golfer’s paradise giving guests a sense of belonging to a private club. Amenities include a 70 room lodge, a full-service spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, pool and tennis courts. Three nine-hole links courses (Challenger, Champion, and Charger) comprise the 27 holes of championship golf that made Bay Hill Club what it is today.