Spring golf tripping to play where the pros play


When planning your dream golf vacation, who wouldn’t want to play where the pros play every year? From Pebble Beach to TPC Scottsdale to Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Golf Club, these bucket list courses and others that host PGA Tour events are, typically, all accessible for Joe Golfer to play. In addition to these great venues, each destination also features other notable courses to help build a solid lineup of golf outings. In partnership with the pros at Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR, Golf Tips has compiled the following itineraries at PGA Tour destinations so, now is the time to start planning!

SCOTTSDALE

Would you like to imagine playing in front of 20,000 rollicking fans on a par-3? As the site of the PGA Tour’s WMPO, the grandstands surrounding the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course are left year-round for golfers to get a full dose of that experience – minus the 20,000 fans! All that’s needed are speakers to pump in the noise. That aside, golfers will be faced with challenging greens throughout the course and a memorable risk-reward finish.

TPC Scottsdale’s Champions Course, with its tree-lined fairways meandering through ravines, make this venue a strong 1-2 punch but with over 200 courses in this desert region, there is no lacking of quality golf courses to add to your itinerary.

A pair of Tom Weiskopf-designed courses at Troon North are top-10 members of Golf Digest’s best public courses in Arizona. The acclaimed Monument Course, known for having the best back nine in Scottsdale, features breathtaking elevation changes with dramatic rock formations guarding the rolling fairways. The Pinnacle Course is highlighted with wide fairways and small greens. Balls hit off the fairway will find the cactus and other desert foliage.

A quick 16-mile drive from downtown Scottsdale will transport you to another top-tier 36-hole facility at Grayhawk Golf Club. Both the David Graham/Gary Panks-designed Talon and Tom Fazio-designed Raptor courses provide generous fairways, sweeping undulations, deep bunkers, and generous views of the McDowell Mountain. The Raptor is the only other Scottsdale course to have hosted a PGA Tour event (currently known as the Fortinet Championship) from 2007-2009. Beautifully crafted from the natural Sonoran Desert landscape, the Talon has been described as one of the ‘most exciting and dramatic’ desert layouts in the Southwest.

Owned by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, presents 36 holes east of Scottsdale with sweeping mountain views and not a home in sight. The Cholla Course was first on the scene in 2001, and offers a true desert golf experience with fairways meandering through ridges and arroyos. The Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw-designed Saguaro Course provides wider fairways making this an enjoyable player-friendly walking course.

Nearby We-Ko-Pa is SunRidge Canyon Golf Club, designed by Keith Foster, unfolds around the rugged ridges and shady canyons unique to the desert mountains that divide Fountain Hills from Scottsdale. It is best known for a challenging closing six-hole stretch known as the “Wicked Six.”

Ready to book? Click here for your customized golf trip with Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR or call (843) 779-7143

MONTEREY/PEBBLE BEACH

Heading down the 17-Mile Drive to play Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the most sought-after experiences on any golfer’s bucket list. Home to the annual PGA Tour AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and six U.S. Opens (#7 coming in 2027), securing a tee time at this perennial No. 1 Public Course in the Country does come at a high price but you’ll be assured the round of a lifetime. The Hay, Pebble’s redesigned short course by Tiger Woods, is also a must-play.

To continue with the Pebble Beach Resorts’ golf experience, Spyglass Hill and The Links at Spanish Bay are ranked on Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Courses. Perhaps, Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s greatest work, the first five holes at Spyglass Hill take golfers through a daring dunescape with sweeping ocean views before heading to weaving airways through the majestic Monterey pines. The Links at Spanish Bay traverses throughout coastal sand dunes with some of the most spectacular seaside views in Pebble Beach and where a twilight round is punctuated by bagpipers. Although not within the Monterey Forest, Del Monte Golf Course is the most affordable of Pebble’s courses and is the oldest course (1897) in continuous operation west of the Mississippi.

Resting 200 feet above sea level within the forest, Poppy Hills Golf Course is owned and operated by the Northern California Golf Association. A one-time co-host of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (1991-2009), it underwent a major renovation in 2013 by Robert Trent Jones Jr. (original designer) and Bruce Charlton.

Just outside the 17-Mile Drive gate, Pacific Grove Golf Links lives up to its billing as the “poor man’s Pebble Beach.” The front nine offers glimpses of Monterey Bay on fairways framed by Cypress trees, and an ocean-side back nine cuts through dunes reminiscent of a traditional Scottish links.

A ten-mile drive inland from Carmel Beach will bring you to Pete Dye’s only design in Northern California at Carmel Valley Ranch that enjoys a unique microclimate of 300 days of sunshine per year. With dramatic elevation changes, the tight fairways wind through vineyards, lavender fields, ponds, and oak groves.

To round out an unforgettable Monterey golf trip, Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Club is situated along the Pacific Coast Highway. Built on the land of an old U.S. Army training facility overlooking Monterey Bay, Bayonet (1954) was designed as a left-handed slicer’s dream with holes 11-15 known as “combat corner.” To compliment this 18-hole layout, the Black Horse Course opened in 1964, with slightly wider fairways and less penal bunkers.

SAN ANTONIO

Texas has vaulted into a top-tier golf destination with extensive natural landscapes and an ideal climate. With a collection of excellent public golf courses, including the renowned TPC San Antonio, site of the PGA Tour Valero Texas Open, the opportunities to build a memorable golf trip to the Lone Star State is becoming increasingly popular amongst traveling golfers.

The Oaks course, where the tournament is played, is a Greg Norman design (with an assist from Sergio Garcia) that incorporates some rocky terrain and native grasses nicely in the routing. The facility’s Canyons course, designed by Pete Dye along a rolling ridgetop, hosted a PGA Tour Champions event from 2011-2015 and offers views of a 700-acre nature preserve.

To help bolster a golf trip to San Antonio, there are plenty other quality public golf options. Keith Foster’s design at The Quarry Golf Course utilizes rock formations that were part of the old Alamo Quarry dating back to 1908. La Cantera Resort & Spa is highlighted with thrilling elevation changes and scenic vistas of Texas Hill Country. Brackenridge Park, or “Brack” to the locals, is an A.W. Tillinghast original design (1916) that is the heart of the Alamo City Golf Trail. It is also home to the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.

As an extension to a San Antonio golf trip, Austin is approximately an hour and a half away and worth the visit to play any of the three public 18-hole courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. at Horseshoe Bay Resorton the edge of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson. Ram Rock includes 62 deep bunkers and ten water hazards amongst narrow fairways and swift elevation changes. Apple Rock at Horseshoe Bay is a scenic Hill Country course with Bermuda fairways and bentgrass greens situated on rocky terrain. Slick Rock GC, renovated in 2016, challenges with 71 bunkers and 12 water hazards creating a classic RTJ design of “hard par, easy bogey.”

HILTON HEAD ISLAND

Hilton Head Island, a 12-mile stretch of land bordering the Atlantic less than an hour from Savanah, GA, boasts 24 public courses, from oceanfront to traditional parkland layouts, complemented by Southern hospitality and favorable year-round weather. Renowned architects such as Robert Trent Jones, Jack Nicklaus, and Pete Dye have made their stamp at a destination that has hosted premier golf events, including the annual PGA TOUR RBC Heritage.

As the first resort on Hilton Head, the five-star Sea Pines Resort remains the marquee property with three of the top courses on the island. With its hosting of the RBC Heritage, Harbour Town Golf Links is the most recognizable with the red-and-white lighthouse behind the 18th green. Except for the 17th and 18th holes, the course plays inland with narrow fairways winding through natural woodland.

Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III is a complete reconstruction of the Ocean Course, the first course on Hilton Head Island. Restored natural sand dunes, along with the addition of thousands of indigenous plants, benefit Atlantic Dunes both visually and strategically. The par-3 15th is one of only two holes on the entire island to border the Atlantic Ocean.

Rounding out the resort’s trio of courses, Heron Point, recently redesigned and reconstructed by Pete Dye is very player friendly with a variety of risk-reward shots throughout the layout with rolling fairways and strategically placed bunkers.

Situated in the heart of Hilton Head Island along three miles of white sand beaches, Palmetto Dunes Resortrepresents an ideal golf getaway with three on-site courses, each named for its architect.

The Low Country classic Robert Trent Jones features 11 holes playing through the lagoon and the second hole, the par-5 10th playing straight toward the ocean, on the entire island that borders the Atlantic. The parkland-style George Fazio Course maintains a reputation as the toughest courses on the island with its tight fairways and small greens. Lastly, the Arthur Hills GC with narrow fairways, rolling hills, and sea breezes adding to the challenge. It is also home to the Historic Leamington Lighthouse, situated right behind the 15th green.

Ready to book? Click here for your customized golf trip with Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR or call (843) 779-7143

Leave a Reply

GOLF TIPS MENU