In the Southeastern U.S., home of eSouthernGolf.com, the golf season never ends. And just as SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey envisions a conference spread among contiguous Southern states, we’re fortunate to live, work and play in a region where the next great golf destination is only a short road trip away. From Florida to North Carolina, these golf destinations are perfectly teed up for an extended golf getaway next year.
Innisbrook Golf Resort – Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course is a favorite among PGA TOUR pros, and it’s also one of the most difficult on the ever-popular Florida Swing. This highly amenitized resort west of Tampa on the Gulf of Mexico houses four courses along with various rooms, suites, vacation rentals and top-notch restaurants. It’s a true set-it-and-forget-it golf stronghold and easy drive from Tampa International Airport.
PGA National Resort and Spa – Palm Beach County is a hotbed of golf, and it doesn’t get any hotter than PGA National Resort and Spa, home of the PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic. Four 18-hole courses, including the Jack Nicklaus-designed Champion (home of the TOUR’s Honda Classic), await golfers willing to test their mettle against this tournament-tested venue. The Match Course, designed by Andy Staples, recently opened, touting a modern twist on Golden Age templates.
PGA Golf Club – The flagship public property of the PGA of America, PGA Golf Club at PGA Village is a 54-hole golf panacea with a world-class practice range, short game area and short course. Catch a bite to eat in the Taplow Pub and stay a few nights in the adjacent Perfect Drive Villas or neighboring Hilton Garden Inn. This is a golf purist’s pitstop devoid of frivolous amenities and activities. All golf, all the time.
Streamsong Resort – One of Florida’s newest and most publicized golf resorts got even newer with the opening of its Gil Hanse-designed Black Course in 2018. Streamsong’s Red and Blue courses have also quickly moved atop the national rankings, and the Streamsong Lodge is the perfect place to kick back and relax, post-round. Earlier this year, resort officials announced the construction of The Chain, a short course being designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
Callaway Resort and Gardens – Golf may not be the first thing that comes to mind at this famous water-skiing stronghold, but the 18-hole Lake View and Mountain View Courses are a couple of underrated gems. Golfers can choose from the AAA Four Diamond Lodge, cottages or villa accommodations. Callaway Resort and Gardens doesn’t get the “ink” many of its Georgia counterparts do, but it’s worth the visit and priced to please.
Reynolds Lake Oconee – Reynolds Lake Oconee is to Georgia as Pinehurst Resort is to North Carolina. That is to say, a seemingly endless supply of golf in the form of six highly-ranked layouts designed by Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Bob Cupp and Jim Engh. Lodging ranges from cozy cottages to the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Lake Oconee. Golf course big game hunters will want to tackle the Great Waters Course which lies gracefully along the lake shore and features many of the Southeast’s most scenic holes.
Sea Island Resort – While Georgia is better known as the home of The Masters, the RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort is a PGA TOUR player favorite. So much so, several pros make their home at this golf haven on Atlantic. The Seaside Course is a Tom Fazio redesign perched hard on the Atlantic; the Plantation Course was recently renovated by natives Davis and Mark Love, who also recast the vastly underrated Retreat Course in 2001.
Grandover Resort – Golfers need only veer off I-85 in Greensboro to access this 36-hole collection designed by Gary Panks. A full-service onsite hotel offers all the accouterments, from casual and fine dining to a spa and fitness center. If convenience and value are major considerations, it’s hard to top Grandover Resort in either of these categories.
Pinehurst Resort – Nine 18-hole courses, including famed No. 2, host of the 2024 U.S. Open, make Pinehurst Resort the largest golf resort in the U.S. Golfers also flock The Cradle, a nine-hole short course designed by Gil Hanse, and Thistle Dhu, a 75,000 square-foot putting course. Three hotels, including the recently renovated Manor Inn and Carolina Hotel, are just a short walk to the Pinehurst Brewing Co, which opened in 2018 in the Village’s old steam plant.
Rumbling Bald – Spring in Western North Carolina means mountain golf and Rumbling Bald along scenic Lake Lure won’t disappoint during peak 2023 golf season with two 18-hole tracks, Apple Valley and Bald Mountain, designed by W.B. Lewis and Dan Maples. Spacious vacation rentals are available for stay-and-plays, and the lake offers endless off-course activities. Apple Valley, with several downhill and level fairways, is a mountain-style course. Bald Mountain, bequeathed with doglegs and a bevy of blind shots, is a true mountain layout.
Cherokee Valley Course and Club – Upstate South Carolina’s premier golf destination, Cherokee Valley Course and Club is home to a P.B. Dye mountain-style layout, on-site cottages and a brand-new casual dining restaurant, Core 450. Get game ready at one of South Carolina’s most expansive practice facilities.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort – For golfers who want to play where the pros play this year, Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Ocean Course is hosting the 2020 PGA Championship in May. If Pete Dye’s diabolic oceanside layout it too tough to tackle, four other 18-hole courses adorn this majestic barrier island near Charleston. Catch a good night’s rest at the Sanctuary at Kiawah, a AAA Five Diamond hotel.
Myrtle Beach – While it’s not a resort, per se, the Grand Strand one of the world’s most iconic golf destinations. Accommodation options are limitless, and lineup cards can be filled with vaunted venues like Tidewater Golf Club, Grande Dunes Resort Course, King’s North at Myrtle Beach National, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club and TPC Myrtle Beach. Check out www.myrtlebeachtrips.com for one-stop shopping for golf packages featuring many of the Grand Strand’s best tracks and lodging.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort – Hilton Head is known as “Golf Island,” and the three brawny layouts at Palmetto Dunes are a big reason for that moniker. The Robert Trent Jones features one of the island’s only oceanfront holes, and the George Fazio and Arthur Hills courses round out the bill. Golf groups love the popular “Birdies and Beer Getaway” and the resort’s comfy vacation rentals.
Sea Pines Resort – Settled along Hilton Head Island’s south end, The Sea Pines Resort is home of the PGA TOUR’s RBC Heritage tournament and famed Harbour Town Golf Links. Two other championship-caliber tracks reside inside the gates, Heron Point by Pete Dye and Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III. The Inn and Club at Harbor Town is just a pitching wedge from the clubhouse and the famed Yacht Basin is a short jaunt away.
Fripp Island Golf and Beach Resort – The most seaward of South Carolina’s Sea Islands, Fripp Island Golf and Beach Resort is 18 miles east of historic Beaufort, where novelist Pat Conroy spent his summers. Its original course is Ocean Point, designed by George Cobb while its newer layout, Ocean Creek, is a Davis Love III / Paul Crowley collaboration. A wide selection of vacation rentals are available, ranging from on-course villas and condos to luxury rental homes. On the way in or out of Fripp, don’t miss Legends Golf Course on Parris Island, one of the country’s best military-owned venues.