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5 fall golf trips you should book right now

September 01, 2022
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Photographed by Dom Furore at Arcadia Bluffs in Michigan.

Fall golf can be a double-edged sword. For those up north, it signals the end of the playing season is near, as the inevitable chilly temps and snow will soon force golfers into another months-long hiatus. At the same time, the milder temperatures and colorful foliage often make for some of the most comfortable and scenic golf of the year.

With fall nearly upon us, it’s time to start planning an end-of-the-season trip to take advantage of the seasonable weather. We worked with our friends at Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR to identify the places that should be on your list this fall. Whether you embrace the cooler temps or want to escape to a warmer destination, we’ve got you covered.

Florida

Orlando, with its numerous quality public options, is a popular destination for northerners looking to prolong their warm-weather golf season with a quick, easy trip. On your next trip, consider visiting the Disney area, where you’ll find three courses all worth playing. Tiger Woods collected his second career PGA Tour title at the Magnolia course (below), which hosted a PGA Tour event for decades. Disney’s Lake Buena Vista course—a certified Audubon Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary—presents a scenic test, winding through pine forests, palmettos and lakes. The Palm course was redesigned in 2013 by the Arnold Palmer Group to make the course more challenging, and now it’s a solid test, with plenty of water in play. The Magnolia course is currently closed for play, but it's anticipated to re-open in late fall.

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Just south of Disney, the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate offers a couple Greg Norman designs. The International course is a links-style layout complete with large greens, deep bunkers and wide, contoured fairways. The National course—considered the easier of the two—is a more traditional Florida-style track with wide, relatively flat fairways and plenty of water hazards.

South Carolina

Nailing down a destination for a trip to South Carolina can be tricky with so many options, including Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Kiawah Island and Charleston. If you choose Myrtle Beach, we recommend a stay-and-play trip at the Barefoot Resort, which boasts four of the best courses in the Grand Strand designed by notable architects.

The resort’s Dye course (below), with its large waste areas and intimidating bunkering, presents plenty of risk-reward opportunities while remaining playable for the higher handicap. The routing of the Fazio course constantly changes direction and with an ever-present wind, challenges players to hit a variety of shots. A former member of our 100 Greatest Public list, the Love course is a bomber’s paradise, with large landing areas and subtle doglegs. The Norman courserounds out Barefoot Resort’s lineup and is highlighted by the seven holes that play along the Intracoastal Waterway.

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If you opt to head to Hilton Head, stay and play at the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which has three courses on property. The George Fazio course features tree-lined fairways on the front nine that tighten up significantly on the back side. Lagoons wind through 10 holes on the Arthur Hills course, where the sloped fairways create some uneven lies. The Robert Trent Jones course, which offers wide fairways and large greens, is highlighted by a couple of oceanfront holes.

Interested in booking one of these trips? Click here to start pricing out your trip with our friends at Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR, or call them: (+1) 843.779.7134.

Michigan

Northern Michigan delivers on all of the appeals of fall golf: colorful leaves, comfortable temperatures, stunning scenery and some of the best public golf in the country. For the highest-ranked golf, head to Arcadia Bluffs on the northwestern coast, which boasts two of Michigan’s best layouts. The Bluffs course (lead image), currently 83rd on our 100 Greatest ranking, plays on dramatic sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan. The South course (below)—No. 52 on our latest 100 Greatest Public list—offers a captivating throwback in golf course architecture inspired by Seth Raynor and C.B. Macdonald’s historic Chicago Golf Club.

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For a complete buddies trip experience, head to Forest Dunes, which has everything you’d want in a golf destination: three top-ranked courses, a 10-hole par-3 layout and a dramatic 18-hole putting course. The title course at Forest Dunes (below) is ranked on our Second 100 Greatest list and plays over sand dunes topped with pines. In recent years, Forest Dunes might be best known for its unique Tom Doak-designed reversible course, The Loop. The Loop’s Black and Red courses—the clockwise and counterclockwise iterations—are both ranked on our 100 Greatest Public list.

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Arizona

Too cold to play fall golf where you live? You know where it’s pretty much never too cold for golf ever? Arizona.

All roughly within half an hour of downtown Scottsdale, there are several options for championship-level golf. Take a trip just out of the city to We-Ko-Pa Golf Club for 36 holes on the Cholla (below) and Saguaro courses, the latter being a Coore-Crenshaw design that boasts wider fairways than you might find elsewhere in the area, atypical of target golf in the desert.

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Lonna Tucker/Courtesy of We-Ko-Pa

There’s only one course in the area that hosts a PGA Tour event: TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium course. Home to the Waste Management Open, visitors get to play the famously rambunctious par-3 16th, but in a much calmer setting. Keeping with the theme, Troon North also has two 18-hole courses on-site, the Pinnacle and Monument courses, each of which provides sweeping views of the surrounding desert and mountain ranges.

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For a bit of a change of pace from typical desert golf, Ocotillo Golf Club navigates over and around water hazards on 24 of the 27 holes on the property.

California

California has a wide range of fall weather, ranging from cool and damp in the north to the always-sunny and beautiful weather in the San Diego area.

There’s also the Palm Desert area, home to the La Quinta Resort and Club and PGA West, among several others. There are five championship courses on-site, highlighted by Pete Dye’s Stadium course, home of the American Express Championship. Pete Dye also contributed the Dunes and Mountain (below) courses, the latter of which is a Golfbreaks by PGA Tour customer favorite. The Nicklaus Tournament course, named for Jack himself, is perfect for the “grip it and rip it” golfers among us. The Greg Norman course is a strong target golf option as players have to navigate 102 bunkers. That could make for a frustrating day, but the stunning views of the Coachella Valley should more than make up for it. The Classic Club is widely regarded as one of the best courses in the area. The Arnold Palmer design has hosted the PGA Tour’s Bob Hope Classic three times.

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Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

Interested in booking one of these trips? Click here to start pricing out your trip with our friends at Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR, or call them: (+1) 843.779.7134.