Travel

Why the Formula 1 races in the U.S. make for perfect golf trips

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The explosion of Formula 1 popularity among American sports fans—thanks to the Drive to Survive series on Netflix—has led to three F1 races taking place in the United States this year for the first time (plus one in Canada). Avids will likely be booking trips to experience the booming sport first-hand, and the good news for travelers who have golf on their minds: The races are taking place in great golf destinations.

The first set of races are set for Miami starting May 5th in Miami Gardens. If you’re eager enough to hop on a plane to attend, it looks like there are currently tickets still available—and though hotels in the Miami area will cost you—availability at nearby golf resorts are the way we'd go to combine golf with the F1.

Here are a few ones we’d recommend:

Trump National Doral: Blue Monster
The linchpin of the famous four-course complex previously known as Doral Golf Resort, the Blue Monster had hosted a PGA Tour event annually from 1962 to 2016. The fearsome layout was designed by Dick Wilson in 1962 and set the template for the modern south Florida course with lakes galore, deep bunkers and greenpads elevated above the fairways for drainage and aerial target golf. Several questionable renovations in the 1990s and early 2000s moved it away from the original Wilson look, and the design was lost for a period of time. Always intended to be a course presenting shot-making demands for good players, the Blue Monster was given added bite by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner through the creation of new slopes and ridges on several holes and the excavation of new lakes on the par-3 15 and drivable par-4 16 to add more excitement to the finish. But they wisely left the legendary 18th nearly untouched. Why mess with history? The changes were completed shortly before the PGA Tour took the course out of its annual location.
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Turnberry Isle Country Club: Miller Course
Though shorter than the Soffer Course, the Miller Course still offers trouble off the tee and around the greens. Three-time major champion Julius Boros was the course's first Director of Golf.
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Turnberry Isle Country Club: Soffer Course
4
7 Panelists
Having hosted PGA and LPGA Tour events, the Soffer Course at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry offers a risk-reward scenario on almost every hole.
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Shula's Golf Club: Senator Course
Public
Shula's Golf Club: Senator Course
Miami Lakes, FL
Conveniently located close to Miami's and Fort Lauderdale's airports, Shula's Golf Club (or Miami Lakes) is one of the best values in town and perfect for travelers.
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The Biltmore Golf Course: Biltmore
Public
The Biltmore Golf Course: Biltmore
Coral Gables, FL
3.7
55 Panelists
This historic Biltmore resort features a par-71 championship course originally designed by Donald Ross in 1925 that underwent an extensive renovation recently by Brian Silva's team to reinvigorate this classic layout.
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Though it's about an hour and a half (depending on traffic) from Miami, PGA National might be a great option for golfers looking to add an extra day of golf after dabbling in a little F1:

PGA National Resort: Champion
Private
PGA National Resort: Champion
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
4
298 Panelists
One of five courses at PGA National, the Champion Course hosts the Honda Classic every year. Originally designed by Tom and George Fazio for tournament play, Jack Nicklaus redesigned the course in 2014, creating the infamous three-hole stretch aptly named "The Bear Trap." Routinely one of the toughest courses on Tour, The Champion is a true ball-striking test.
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There is still plenty of time to plan a trip to the other two American Formula 1 races this year, though we’d recommend acting fast. The others, Austin (weekend of Oct. 20-22) and Las Vegas (Nov. 17-18), can be paired with a few rounds to make for an ideal golf trip.

Austin has become an international event with downtown taken over by the influx of international crowds. The city’s old airport even opens up for the litany of private jets making their way into Austin.

Staying at a golf resort is a great way to make it a bougie experience for yourself. We hear the Omni Barton Creek resort’s lodging prices will be high, but with four courses on-site, you have everything you need. The resort has offered helicopter trips to the track in the past for circumventing traffic, though we're told that won't be offered this year.

For the everyman, or if you just appreciate good golf, The Muny, as locals call Lions Municipal, is also worth your time. Ben Crenshaw has devoted his resources to save The Muny from being developed, even offering his services along with design partner Bill Coore to preserve and restore the old municipal course.

Here’s the other Austin golf that’s well worth your time:

Omni Barton Creek Resort Fazio Canyons
4.2
68 Panelists
One of Texas' best golf resorts is the Omni Barton Creek, located just 25 minutes outside of Austin. The resort features four 18-hole designs, and the highest-ranked layout is the Fazio Canyons design, a former Golf Digest America's 100 Greatest Public winner. This signature Tom Fazio design, which offers scenic views of Austin’s Hill Country, recently underwent an extensive renovation.
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Omni Barton Creek Resort Fazio Foothills
4.1
50 Panelists
Fazio Foothills is another former member of America's 100 Greatest Public, and the favorite among many at the Omni Barton Creek, though the Canyons course ranks slightly higher in our scoring criteria. The Foothills course, which used to host a PGA Tour Champions event and hosted the 2003 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, underwent an update in 2017 to the layout, which tumbles and undulates down the rolling hills and around and over creeks.
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Omni Barton Creek Resort: Crenshaw Cliffside
3.8
20 Panelists
Part of the major renovations at Omni Barton Creek totaling more than $150 million included an update to the Coore and Crenshaw layout, which opened in 1991. (The resort also added three pools, including an infinity pool looking out over its golf courses.) Though the land on the two Fazio courses is much more rolling and interesting, Bill Coore and Austin native Ben Crenshaw created some interesting putting surfaces which will make all resort guests think.
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Omni Barton Creek Resort: Palmer Lakeside
The Palmer Lakeside course is the only one of the four layouts at Omni Barton Creek Resort that is located off property. The course is about 40 minutes from the resort and is situated on a hilltop overlooking Lake Travis. Given the setting on the hilltop, there are scenic views of the lake down below and plenty of elevation changes. The signature par-3 11th plays over a pond to a green perched in front of an impressive stone-covered waterfall.
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Ram Rock at Horseshoe Bay Resort
Private
Ram Rock at Horseshoe Bay Resort
Horseshoe Bay, TX
4
42 Panelists
Host of the Texas State Open on multiple occasions, this Hill Country course is a demanding test—so much so it used to be called “Challenger.” Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the par 72 is built in a counter-clockwise circle, causing several of the doglegs to favor a right-to-left-shape. Rugged rock outcroppings throughout the course, as well as an island green on the par-3 fourth, make Ram Rock a memorable place to play at Horseshoe Bay Resort, which features four 18-hole courses.
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Horseshoe Bay Resort: Apple Rock
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Horseshoe Bay Resort: Apple Rock
Horseshoe Bay, TX
A little over an hour northwest of Austin, Horseshoe Bay Resort has three Robert Trent Jones Sr. courses open to resort guests (and a fourth private layout) that make it well worth the drive. The most scenic course at Horseshoe Bay, Apple Rock is a rolling layout with the back nine playing down to the shores of Lake LBJ. There are plenty of elevation changes at this previous Texas State Open host, creating picturesque views of the lake below and the surrounding Hill Country. Unlike Slick Rock, which has generous greens, Apple Rock’s putting surfaces are much smaller and require far more precision. In 2019, new bentgrass greens were installed as part of a renovation that also included work on 50 bunkers.
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Horseshoe Bay Resort: Slick Rock
Private
Horseshoe Bay Resort: Slick Rock
Horseshoe Bay, TX
A little over an hour northwest of Austin, Horseshoe Bay Resort has three Robert Trent Jones Sr. courses open to resort guests (and a fourth private layout) that make it well worth the drive. Slick Rock, the easiest of the three RTJ courses at Horseshoe Bay, is a parkland design that plays over 170 acres. Playing through a tree-lined landscape with granite outcroppings spread throughout, Slick Rock presents generous targets off the tee and into the large greens. Opening in 1972, Slick Rock was the first course to open at the resort, and in 2016, it underwent an extensive renovation of the greens, bunkers and irrigation system.
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Our friends at Premier Golf can also arrange for a Texas Hill Country tour, including rounds at TPC San Antonio, for those interested. To combine a trip to the Grand Prix with unique golf packages, contact Premier Golf’s Golf Travel Specialists on 866 260 4409 or email infogolf@premiergolf.com

One of the best tickets in sports this fall will be the F1 races in Las Vegas. This will be an absolute spectacle with the track winding through the strip—creating opportunities to watch the race from some of Vegas’ iconic hotels. An experience at the Wynn is being marketed for a $1 million, and rooms at the Bellagio are going for $2,000 per night with opportunities to meet F1 racers going for more than $11,000 across three days. Vegas knows entertainment … but it also boasts some sneaky good golf options.

Saturday might be the ideal day for golf in Vegas. With the race starting at 10 p.m., there’s plenty of time to tee it up during the day before the evening festivities start.

Though we doubt getting onto Shadow Creek or the Wynn Golf Club will be options for most of our readers, here are some of our other favorite options:

Cascata
Public
Cascata
Boulder City, NV
One of the great engineering feats in golf thus far in this century, Cascata climbs up and down a steep, rocky mountain hillside southeast of Las Vegas. It's authentically Nevada on the edges, the barren areas akin to Wolf Creek in Mesquite, but its turfed areas, planted with date palms, ironwoods and willows, and crossed by endless babbling brooks, is something of a salute to nearby Shadow Creek. Cascata plays mostly uphill on the front (the ninth tee is 600 feet above the clubhouse), downhill on the longer back nine.
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Reflection Bay Golf Club
Public
Reflection Bay Golf Club
Henderson, NV
3.7
45 Panelists
A former member of Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Public Courses, this Jack Nicklaus design sits along the edge of Lake Las Vegas, less than 20 miles east of the strip. The routing features a variety of hole directions, effectively using the natural landscape to create a balance of uphill and downhill shots. The five holes set along the water make for a memorable finish.
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Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort: Wolf
Public
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort: Wolf
Las Vegas, NV
3.7
47 Panelists
You would never know you’re less than 30 miles from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip at this Pete Dye design, surrounded by barren desert and jagged peaks. In typical Dye fashion, there are plenty of risk-reward holes, including the split fairways at the par-5 sixth and the par-4 17th. The island green at the par-3 15th closely resembles Dye’s signature 17th at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course.
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Rio Secco Golf Club
Public
Rio Secco Golf Club
Henderson, NV
3.8
98 Panelists
Rees Jones, known as the “Open Doctor” for his work on prominent U.S. Open venues, renovated his original design at Rio Secco in 2017. With the redesign, Jones enhanced the playability for the average golfer, creating many new tees and greens. A former member of Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Public Courses, Rio Secco provides exciting elevation changes and views of the Las Vegas Strip. And, if your round didn’t go as planned, the Butch Harmon School of Golf is on property to help.
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TPC Las Vegas
Public
TPC Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
3.7
51 Panelists
This Bobby Weed and Raymond Floyd design previously hosted PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions events when it was known as TPC at The Canyons. The nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area provides a scenic backdrop for a course that features elevation changes and forced carries over canyons. Fairways are generally wide and forgiving, while the greens have subtle breaks influenced by the surrounding mountains. The course has six sets of tees to accommodate every level of player.
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Bali Hai Golf Club
Public
Bali Hai Golf Club
Las Vegas, NV
Adjacent to the airport, Bali Hai offers a unique setting in the heart of Las Vegas. For those seeking a Vegas-like experience, we’re told Jello shots and Golfboards are frequent options for guests here. Many holes are framed by white sand dunes and palm trees, which give the course a distinctly tropical feel with nearby casinos and hotels towering over Bali Hai’s trees (there are 4,000 in total). The island green at the par-3 16th often features an audience from the nearby restaurant patio.
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To combine a trip to the Grand Prix with unique golf packages, contact Premier Golf’s Golf Travel Specialists on 866 260 4409 or email infogolf@premiergolf.com.