7 Incredible Golf Courses in the U.S. You Can Build a Whole Vacation Around

These unique golf courses pair creative course design with value-added hotel packages for a true golf vacation experience.
Man hitting golf ball down hill towards ocean and horizon (Photo: Shutterstock)
Photo: Shutterstock

It’s not just serious golfers working the sport into their vacations now. We’re seeing golf vacations increasing in popularity even among casual golfers, and many courses around the United States now offer packages and discounts for guests who stay on-site at their hotels and resorts. Even golf courses that don’t have their own hotels are getting in on the trend by creating discounts for guests of partner hotels. And with non-golf options like spas, destination restaurants, and activities like hiking, there’s still plenty for any non-golfers in the group to get up to.

Standout Golf Vacations in the United States

The best golf-focused vacations take you someplace where you can tee it up for 18 holes somewhere new and beautiful. Here are seven unique golf courses around the U.S. that I like because they pair next-level scenery and creative course design with value-added hotel packages for a true golf vacation experience. 

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1. The Reserve at Moonlight Basin

Big Sky, Montana

The Reserve at Moonlight Basin (Photo: Moonlight Basin)
The Reserve at Moonlight Basin is a Jack Nicklaus designed course with one of the longest holes in the country (Photo: Moonlight Basin)

The Reserve at Moonlight Basin, designed by Jack Nicklaus, has one of the longest holes in the U.S. at 777 yards. The Reserve is known for its 1,000 feet of elevation changes and hillside clubhouse, where golfers can taken the mountain views before teeing off or after finishing a round.

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Where to stay When Playing The Reserve at Moonlight Basin

If a mountainside course isn’t enough to lure you into a golf vacation in Big Sky, Montana, then the stunning rentals through Moonlight Lodging just might be. Each of the rental properties have access to the private Moonlight Lodge, where you can swim and dine between daily rounds of golf. At night, you can watch the sunset over the mountains as you sip on a glass of wine and enjoy time with family and friends.

2. Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island is known for its beachfront hotels and stunning golf courses, one of the most impressive of which is Sea Pines Resort’s Atlantic Dunes course. A complete reconstruction of the very first course built on Hilton Head, Atlantic Dunes is loaded with hidden bunkers and water hazards, making it challenging yet still playable for novice golfers. The Sea Pines resort has other courses as well (Harbour Town Golf Links and Heron Point by Pete Dye), making it one of the top destinations in the country for golf vacations.

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Where to Stay When Playing Sea Pines Atlantic Dunes Course

Base your golf getaway at The Sea Pines Resort, a sprawling vacation and residential community on the coast of Hilton Head Island. Depending on your personal needs and group size, you can book everything from a standard hotel room all the way up to a vacation home that sleep up to 12 (perfect for large families).

Fair warning: You may never want to leave The Sea Pines Resort once you arrive thanks to the abundance of restaurants, shopping opportunities, and activities all within the gates of this golf vacation community.

3. Disney’s Magnolia Course

Orlando, Florida

If you’ve ever wanted to combine the magic of a Disney trip with the relaxation of a golf vacation then you’re in luck. At Walt Disney World in Orlando, you can take on three challenging golf courses, including the Magnolia Course, which is the longest at the theme park resort. The course has a total of 97 bunkers, but also has wide fairways to allow you to get your ball close to the pin without dropping too many in the water.

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Where to Stay When Playing Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course

Reminiscent of the country’s most beautiful national park lodges, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has spacious rooms, great views of Bay Lake, and so many dining options that you won’t miss going to the theme parks themselves. Step down to the edge of the lake at the end of the night to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks or the cute Electrical Water Pageant float by.

4. Wailea Blue Golf Course

Maui, Hawaii

Wailea Blue Course in Maui, Hawaii (Photo: Wailea Golf Club)
Wailea Blue Course in Maui, Hawaii offers volcano views and a challenging course (Photo: Wailea Golf Club)

The Wailea Blue Golf Course combines incredible views of the ocean and Mount Haleakala, Maui’s famous volcano, with a challenging round of golf. The fairways are wide and generous, but many natural hazards make this golf course a suitable challenge. In the winter months, you might also spot a humpback while from the lush green fairways that lead to the ocean.

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Where to stay When Playing the Wailea Blue Course

For a true luxury golf vacation, stay at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. The resort is located across the street from the golf course, and its concierge team can assist guests with tee times. It also has direct access to the beach, stunning infinity pools that look out over the ocean, and elegant oceanfront suites that are big enough for your entire group to spread out and enjoy some quiet time after the course.

5. Brickyard Crossing Golf Course

Indianapolis, Indiana

Fans of golf and NASCAR will want to tee up at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. The unique course has four of its holes inside the oval of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Golfers need to ride or walk under the race track to get to the holes, where there may also be cars racing or practicing at the same time.

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Where to stay When Playing Brickyard Crossing

Near the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course you’ll find the Bottleworks Hotel. The historic building was once home to a bottling factory. A few of the original pieces from the bottling factory can still be seen at the hotel, including the terrazzo floors and historically accurate exterior. Each room has great views of the city, and most have a terrace for enjoying the evening.

6. Boulders South Course

Scottsdale, Arizona

Rosie Rock at Boulders South Course (Photo: Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale)
Rosie Rock at Boulders South Course is part of the outstanding desert scenery that comes with playing this Scottsdale course (Photo: Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale)

Swing past massive granite boulders and cacti at The Boulders South Course in Scottsdale, Arizona. There are also two themed holes here. Hole five combines the backdrop of a boulder pile rock formation with 40-foot-tall saguaro cacti, while hole seven takes you by “Rosie’s Rock,” a three-story boulder balanced just a few feet away from the tee.

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Where to Stay When Playing the Boulders South Course

Notable for its bright red boulder scenery, Boulders Resort and Spa Scottsdale has accommodations to fit any golf vacation group size, including two- and three-bedroom Haciendas. While staying here, you can enjoy golf at Boulders South Course, take a dip in the pool, or take in the view while sipping a cocktail at the Discovery Lounge.

7. Rope Rider Golf Course

Cle Elu, Washington

Foundations and other remnants of old coal mines still remain on the course at The Rope Rider Golf Course. With more than 7,300 yards of play, this challenging course also allows shorter three- or six-hold loops, perfect for golf vacations with kids who may not be up for an entire 18-hole round.

Where to Stay When Playing the Rope Rider Golf Course

If you’re looking to stay just a few feet away from the course, consider the Suncadia Resort. The stunning property in the Cascades offers private home rentals, condo rentals, or traditional hotel and lodge stays. Besides golf, there’s plenty of activities here, including bike rides, a spa, and an axe throwing experience.

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Megan duBois
Megan duBois is a freelance writer who covers theme parks, cruising, food and drink, and family travel. Her work has appeared on Buzzfeed, Popsugar, Insider, Orbitz, FamilyVacationist, The Daily Meal, Family Vacation Critic, TravelPulse, and more. Megan has been quoted as an expert and thought leader on theme parks for Forbes and other outlets.