What A Trip
The best places for buddies golf getaways & what makes them so special
PLANNING A BUDDIES TRIP?
This is among golf's indisputable truths: When you head north for a buddies trip in mid-November, you're gambling on the weather. Jake Ramirez, leader of a group that goes to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort the weekend before Thanksgiving, says they've had 60-degree days with no wind on five of their eight visits. And the other three? "The weather was pretty extreme," Ramirez concedes. "One year it snowed."
That might not sound like the ideal buddies golf trip. But Ramirez and his seven fellow travelers beg to differ. They've been to Scotland, to Ireland, to many of the top resorts in the United States. For their money—$780 a man for three nights, three rounds, two dinners and breakfasts—it doesn't get any better than Bandon.
"We love the links-style golf, and it's right here" in the States, says Ramirez, who lives in Southern California. As for those occasional foul-weather days: They don't get too worked up about it. "This trip is all about being with friends and just getting away," Ramirez says. "That's the most fun part."
Thanks to Bandon and its five exceptional courses, golfers from all over the world now recognize the greatness of Oregon's southern coast—a region that takes top honors in our new ranking of America's Best Buddies-Trip Destinations. We created this list by surveying the Golf Digest panelists, roughly 1,100 avid golfers who produce our biennial rankings of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses.
We asked them to score buddies-trip destinations they have visited on a scale of 1-10.
In addition to that ranking, we've compiled lists of the top-10 buddies-trip destinations in seven categories: Courses, Value, Weather, Food & Drink, Lodging, Nightlife, and For Couples. Want to head overseas with your group? Consult our list of the top-10 British Isles buddies destinations. Finally, if you want to take a buddies golf trip somewhere a little less well-known (and where your dollar will almost always go further), see "Planning a Buddies Trip?" sidebar (right)._________________________
BEST GOLF COURSESPebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, Nos. 1 and 11 in our ranking of America's 100 Greatest Public Courses, deliver a one-two punch like few others. Add the Bayonet and Black Horse courses in nearby Seaside, and the Alister Mackenzie classic Pasatiempo Golf Club on the drive to or from the Bay Area, and you have an extremely powerful buddies-trip destination.
An obvious knock on the area is the price. A round on Pebble Beach Golf Links will set you back $495, on top of the $650 or more you'll pay for a room at the resort. But for guys like David Lambert, a retired Wall Streeter who has led a group there every September for more than 30 years, there's nothing like it. "Pebble's the granddaddy of great courses," he says. "It's very, very hard to beat those vistas."
Rank | Region
2. Oregon (southern coast)
4. Charleston/Kiawah, S.C.
6. Kohler, Wis.
7. Palm Springs
8. Hilton Head/Savannah
9. Las Vegas
10. Myrtle Beach (south)
BEST VALUEJeff McIntire isn't surprised by Myrtle Beach's strong showing in the Value category. He has been leading a group of 12 guys to Myrtle every September for the past nine years. They stay five nights and play four tournament rounds, for about $750 a person. That does not include transportation to Myrtle, but it does cover golf, their rental house on the North Carolina border, almost all food, beer and prizes.
The group books its lodging and golf through a local real-estate firm, Century 21 Thomas. Their agent helps them pick a house, then McIntire and a friend do the research to identify which courses they want to play.