124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Private travel: Coast-to-coast golf itineraries to avoid airport nightmares

July 26, 2022

Golfers are known for embracing a challenge. The harder the course, the more they want to test their skills on it. However, this masochistic attitude is limited to the actual course. No golfer likes the challenges of battling airport parking, canceled flights or, worst of all, lost luggage or clubs, when trying to reach the first tee.

The good news is there’s a simple solution to these trip-sabotaging issues – private jet travel. When diligently planning your perfect golf getaway, you will likely spend hours researching courses, hotels, local pubs, and even weather patterns to make sure you get the most enjoyment out of the trip. Why not spend a little more and become a Wheels Up member to enjoy the perks of traveling in style with your golf partners?

With Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation company, golfers can easily access a fleet of more than 1,500 private aircraft through the company’s app or website. Best of all, unlike commercial airlines, Wheels Up has access to many smaller regional airports near many of the nation’s top courses, giving you additional time to hit the links. In order to illustrate this, we compiled some sample itineraries for a few premier U.S. golf destinations.

Sea Island Golf Club, Sea Island, Ga.

Commercial airport
Jacksonville International Airport, Jacksonville, Fla. – 80 minutes from Sea Island

Wheels Up airport
SSI - Malcolm McKinnon, St. Simons Island, Ga - 5 minutes from Sea Island

With three courses – Seaside, Plantation and Retreat – Sea Island is a golfer’s coastal paradise. It’s no wonder many top professionals, including Davis Love III, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Brian Harman, have called Sea Island home.

Of the three courses, Seaside is the top destination, boasting its 1929 classic layout (Harry S. Colt and Charles Alison) which was re-designed by Tom Fazio and serves as home to the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic.

If you have connections, it’s worth the effort to try to get on at Frederica Golf Club in nearby St. Simons Island, a 10-minute drive from Sea Island. The private club is where most of the areas PGA Tour players tee it up when home.

When you’re done feasting on all the area’s great golf, treat yourself and your golf partners to some of the best BBQ you’ve ever tasted with a stop at Southern Soul BBQ in St. Simons. Southern Soul is one of the few things in the area that might be better than golf.

Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, N.C.

Commercial Airport
Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Raleigh, N.C. – 70 minutes from Pinehurst

Wheels Up Airport
Moore County Airport, Carthage, N.C. – 12 minutes from Pinehurst

Billing itself as The Cradle of American Golf, Pinehurst Resort boasts nine courses, not including the new ‘I-could-spend-all-day-here' par-3 short course, The Cradle. Highlighted by the legendary Donald Ross-designed No. 2 course – the site of more golf championships than any course in America – Pinehurst boasts so much high-quality golf that it simply can’t be experienced in one visit.

After you’ve played No. 2, take a trip around Pinehurst No. 4 (redesigned by Gil Hanse in 2018) and prepare for a heated debate with your playing partners about which course is better. The answer, of course, is they’re both world class. Don’t be afraid to leave the resort property and tee it up at a few other Pinehurst-area gems, including Tobacco Road. The imaginative layout in Sanford, N.C., has also been known to spur spirited conversations between golf traditionalists and those who marvel at the creative vision of course designer Mike Strantz.

No golf trip is complete without tossing back a few pints. Thankfully, the resort recently addressed one of the area’s biggest missing pieces with the opening of the Pinehurst Brewing Company. The brew pub was constructed in 2018 at the site of an abandoned steam plant that had powered the Village of Pinehurst as far back as 1895.

Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.

Commercial Airport
San Jose International Airport, San Jose, Calif. – 90 minutes from Pebble Beach

Wheels Up Airport
Monterey Regional Airport, Monterey County, Calif. – 14 minutes from Pebble Beach

If Pinehurst is the “Cradle of American Golf,” Pebble Beach is her prettier west coast cousin. The iconic golf destination is at the top, or close to the top, of every golfer’s must-play list. Regarded as one of the world’s most scenic golf destinations, Pebble Beach Golf Links has hosted six U.S. Opens (with another scheduled for 2027) and a PGA Championship and has been home to the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am since 1947.

In addition to the three other courses operated by the Pebble Beach Company, the Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Del Monte Golf Course – the area is also home to several other courses worth visiting. Perhaps the most notable hidden gem is Pacific Grove Golf Links. While the shortish, municipal course can be a bit rough around the edges, all will be forgiven when you reach the back nine, arguably the most picturesque nine holes of golf anywhere in the world.

If time permits, take the scenic drive to the north side of Monterey Bay and tee it up at Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz. The semi-private course was designed by Alister MacKenzie, whose legendary course credits include Augusta National, Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne. MacKenzie’s home is located along Pasatiempo’s sixth hole.

Learn more and discover membership options at wheelsup.com or download the Wheels Up app to search and book a private flight for your next trip.