Look West for the Best in Golf

The majesty of the Western landscape is reason enough to embark on an unforgettable golf trip—or fall head over heels for a destination and make it a second or primary home. But our lineup of favorites features amenities and activities that go well beyond sensational courses and Instagram-worthy vistas. From wine lockers and local culinary offerings to four-season outdoor activities, these destinations serve up the very best.

CENTRAL OREGON GOLF TRAIL
Bend/Sunriver, Oregon
(888) 280-3336

You’ll come for the golf, but it just might be everything else you encounter in Central Oregon that makes you never want to leave. This is where they’ve cornered the market on the “Relaxing Adventure.” From the sheer rock walls of Smith Rock (dubbed one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, the out-of-this-world rock formations are a must-see) to world-class mountain bike trails along rivers you can fish, raft, paddle, and float, this region is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Throw in Mt. Bachelor, home to some of the deepest powder for skiing in the West, an urban-chic dining scene, two dozen micro-breweries, luxurious spas, tax-free shopping, and 300 days of High Desert sunshine and there is no better place for year-round fun. And the golf? No less than two dozen golf courses on the Central Oregon Golf Trail, including three (Pronghorn, Crosswater, and Tetherow) ranked in the country’s Top 100 public courses. From the high mountain courses at Black Butte Ranch and Widgi Creek, to the High Desert tracks of Juniper and Crooked River Ranch, and everything in between, you will want to play them all. The Trail’s golf packages and free Golf Concierge services will help you do just that. Off the golf course, venture into the Cascades for family-friendly hikes at the base of snow-capped mountains or kayak/canoe floats in easily accessible high-alpine lakes. And what goes better with a round of golf than a cold beer? With nearly 30 breweries throughout the region, this is craft beer Nirvana. Several breweries, including Deschutes Brewery, Central Oregon’s first and largest craft brewer, offer brewery tours.

FUN FACT: In the Sixties, believing the lava rock surface here was similar to the moon’s surface, NASA astronauts came to train for their missions. A rock from Central Oregon accompanied Apollo 15 and was placed on the moon.

MayacamaMAYACAMA
Santa Rosa, California
(866) 519-3088

Rare vintages go hand in hand with exceptional golf at this private golf and residence club community where there are as many wine lockers as golf lockers. The nearly 500 wine lockers are filled with impossible-to-find cult vintages that never see the market. Safe to say, the wine program at Mayacama is extraordinary and immersive, richly enhanced by a membership that includes more than 35 of the world’s most notable vintners overseen by Wine Director Jeff McCarthy. The setting, in the heart of the Sonoma Wine Country, an hour north of San Francisco, helps explain some of the reason. The deep connection to wine reaches the golf course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature that’s among his very best. Here, a deft touch and patience, rather than power, pay off. And rounds are settled not in dollars, but wine. Mayacama guests have access to the ultimate in wine and culinary activities, including the culinary creations of Executive Chef Scott Pikey, inspired daily by the bounty of Sonoma County and beyond. The ongoing wine and food events and activities for members are second to none. Parents can fully enjoy the property knowing their children can participate in monitored activities specifically created for them, including circus school, filmmaking, exotic animal excursions, museums, and crafts. The world-class spa offers a chance to immerse in a healthy and luxurious experience from the finest therapists. And when it’s time to retire for the day, the casitas and villas are as exquisite and luxurious as everything else here.

FUN FACT: The 675-acre property, originally owned by Peanuts cartoonist, Charles M. Schulz, abuts 850-acre Shiloh Ranch Regional Park and is situated in the midst of  some of the most acclaimed wine regions in the world.

Pacific LinksPACIFIC LINKS INTERNATIONAL
(702) 856-8404

With over 100 signature golf courses in the U.S and around the world, Pacific Links International has carved out quite a reputation for itself in the golf world. But that’s only part of its appeal. The company offers so much more beyond outstanding cross-club golf experiences, especially for members in Nevada and California. From the private beach at the SouthShore Lake Club, tennis programs at DragonRidge, and the spa at Southern Highlands to Dove Canyon’s Frank Lloyd Wright inspired clubhouse, Pacific Links members are treated to luxury social and lifestyle experiences. The crown jewel of Pacific Links-owned properties, Southern Highlands is consistently ranked among the top private clubs in North America. Members have access to the exclusive Spa Southern Highlands and its extensive menu of relaxation and pampering services. With a reunited SouthShore Golf Club and The Lake Club, the facility’s restaurants, fitness and swimming amenities, social activities, and beach on Lake Las Vegas are open to members. Upscale DragonRidge Country Club, Pacific Links’ third Las Vegas course, has a Tennis and Athletic Center featuring five tennis courts (one with stadium viewing), fitness equipment, private training programs, and pool. And only a four-hour drive from Nevada, the sprawling clubhouse at Dove Canyon serves delicious cuisine, complemented by extensive wine and beer selections. The diversity of experiences available to members lets them enjoy more variety, flexibility and a wider range of membership categories and prices than traditional golf memberships.

FUN FACT: Tiger Woods’s first course design in China will be Pacific Links National Golf Club in Beijing. In the next three to five years, Pacific Links plans to acquire a dozen courses in Beijing and Tianjin and renovate the properties to create upscale golf clubs.

Prairie ClubTHE PRAIRIE CLUB
Valentine, Nebraska
(888) 402-1101

Deep in the heartland of America, where the wide-open spaces don’t restrict a golf course’s layout or a golfer’s enjoyment, The Prairie Club, on roughly 2,500 acres, is about as pure a golf experience as you’ll find anywhere. On the rim of the Snake River Canyon, the club’s three courses, all ranked in the “Top 50 Most Fun in the U.S.” by Golf Digest, offer up what may be the world’s most undisturbed holes of golf. Dunes Course architect Tom Lehman (given over 1,000 acres to work with) asked for two more acres after his final routing was done. The club agreed and Lehman’s 2nd hole turned out to be one of Dunes’s signature holes. Graham Marsh’s Pines Course meanders through the pines on the edge of the canyon rim, while Gil Hanse’s 10-hole, par-three Horse Course forgoes tee boxes to let the player with honors select the stance, lie, shot, and green for the following hole. To get here, you can fly commercially to Pierre, S. D., or North Platte, Neb., and take the club’s shuttle service; the trip is more than worth the effort. Don’t miss the chance to fly fish the privately owned Snake River or canoe, kayak, or tube down the Niobrara River, one of the most scenic in America.

FUN FACT: With no noise, light, or air pollution in the remote wilderness of the Sandhills of Nebraska, the Milky Way galaxy actually casts a shadow on a clear, moonless night.

Victory RanchVICTORY RANCH
Kamas, Utah
(435) 785-5000,

As fun and challenging as the golf is here—and it is among the best you’ll find in Utah—the real challenge is not being distracted by the incredible beauty of the mountain wilderness setting and all the other outdoor pleasures offered. Idyllically located on 6,700 acres, 4,000 of which will remain untouched backcountry, Victory Ranch is pure Eden for outdoor enthusiasts and golfers. The Rees Jones layout serves up spectacular views of the Uinta and Wasatch Mountains and dramatic elevation changes—none more so than from the tee box on the 17th hole, where the 360-degree panoramic view takes your breath away. Members, who enjoy life in residences ranging from spacious cabin-style homes to grand mountain estates, take full advantage of the special setting. They can play 18 holes, catch a 20-inch rainbow trout, mountain bike 20 miles of private trails and shoot clays at the five-stand shooting facility—all in one day. In the winter, they enjoy the convenience of a ski clubhouse right at the base of Park City Mountain Resort. And nothing quite tops spending a night or two in one of the club’s well-appointed backcountry yurts and being spoiled with a campfire meal prepared by an executive chef under the stars. Perhaps their greatest pleasure, though, is having a place to simply disconnect and escape the outside world.

FUN FACT: The first owners of the property were friends who fought in WW II and promised each other that they’d buy a ranch in Utah when they returned home after the war. They all survived, the U.S. was victorious, and Victory Ranch was born.

WAILEA GOLF CLUB
Maui, Hawaii
(888) 328-MAUI

When Hawaii’s postcard-perfect beauty and weather beckon, you won’t do any finer than Wailea, Hawaii’s largest, and only 54-hole, golf resort. With spectacular vistas from every hole, the premier resort’s three championship courses have garnered more than 125 awards. Forget wet and windy golf. Wailea receives the least rain of any Maui resort. And because its courses are in the lowest foothills of Haleakala, they are protected from the brunt of the tradewinds, instead offering gentle breezes. Blue is the club’s original layout, a classic Hawaiian design with tropical foliage, serene lakes, cooling fountains and coral sand bunkers. The Blue Wave is a new nine-hole short course at Blue that’s perfect for beginner golfers, juniors, or those short on time and looking for a fun experience. The Emerald course, with panoramic ocean views and carpet-like fairways, is a fair challenge for all, but known as being very women-friendly. The most challenging is Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s Gold course, hailed as one of the world’s best designed. When you’re here, it’s well worth the drive to visit Haleakala’s summit and enjoy a slice of Maui upcountry life along the way. Makawao is a charming mountain town, while Kula offers rolling pastures and interesting locavore destinations. Wailea boasts luxurious spas, beautiful white-sand beaches, well over 30 restaurants and bars, world-class shopping, the Wailea Tennis Club, and amazing hotel pool complexes. And don’t miss the pedestrian pathway along Wailea’s coastline that’s perfect for an early morning jog or romantic sunset stroll.

FUN FACT: Not only does Maui have more miles of swimmable beach than any other Hawaiian island, but the five white-sand beaches along the Wailea shoreline have been named among the best beaches in the country.

Whitetail ClubWHITETAIL CLUB
McCall, Idaho
(877) 634-1725

A wondrous mix of nature lover’s paradise and lavish social events, Whitetail Club brings the best of both worlds together with a golf course that is pure joy. Designed by Roger Packard and two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North, the course has been honored for three consecutive years by Golfweek in its lists of “Best Courses You Can Play” and “Best Resort Courses.” Golf Digest has ranked it one of America’s “100 Greatest Courses.”  Set in the heart of the Salmon River Mountains just two hours north of Boise, the private course is dotted with shimmering trout ponds, towering pines and sweeping meadows. This summer you can play one of the top-rated golf destinations in America as a guest at the nearby premier resort and spa, Shore Lodge, or by participating in the club’s 10th Annual Payette Cup, August 27–29.The three-day event, one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier couples tournaments, offers non-members the rare chance to experience tournament play on the award-winning 7,200-yard course. It’s a great opportunity to see how much fun it would be to join, as a resident or non-resident. While here, take advantage of Whitetail’s location in the middle of the 2.3-million-acre Payette National Forest, adjacent to 5,300-acre Payette Lake and 1,000-acre Ponderosa State Park. Boating, golfing, skiing, hiking, camping, hunting, swimming, ice-skating, and biking, are just some of the four-season activities you can participate in. The alpine lakes and rivers also make this home to some of the best fishing in the Western United States.

FUN FACT: National recording acts Darius Rucker, Josh Turner, and Earth, Wind & Fire have headlined Whitetail Club’s Men’s Invitational concerts.

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