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Overview of U.S.A Golf

From elite beginnings, U.S. golf has now reached out to all levels of income and abilities and many clubs have become a mix of golf, spa and resort with hotel accommodation and property developments encouraging retirees and tourists to buy homes. Places like Kiawah Island (which is host for the August PGA Tour event) in South Carolina are known for their championship golf but attract families in search of rest and recreation as well. 

Chris Foley, Chichaku’s resident golf pro, has played at hundreds of golf courses all over America. “Sea Island, Georgia is my favourite resort,” he says. “It’s got all the ingredients - great service, fabulous golf, beautiful environment and the people are nice. It can be expensive at certain times of the year, but you can pick the cheaper times to visit.”


Pinehurst is the epicenter of North Carolina golf culture, known as the home of American golf. With eight courses, it is the largest resort in the U.S. “At Pinehurst itself all the courses are pretty upscale,” says Foley. “Number 2 is where they play the U.S. Open. That course is very difficult but the others are not nearly as difficult so there is plenty for all standards there.” 


Pebble Beach, California is another elite hub for championship and recreational golf. The whole area is studded with interesting courses. “Pebble Beach is such a cool place, the raw beauty of the coastline there is well worth the trip and experience,” says Foley. “There are also a number of courses nearby in places like Carmel, Monterey and next door to Pebble Beach is Spyglass Hill which is a very hard course, then Spanish Bay, and several private ones on the Monterey Peninsula, including Cypress Point.” The area is very welcoming to tourists with golf for every level.  


Florida is a year-round golfing destination with hundreds of courses and resorts. TPC Sawgrass in Florida, home of THE PLAYERS Championship, is the birthplace of the TPC (Tournament Players Club) Network, and also the backdrop to the PGA TOUR headquarters. There are two championship courses as well as an extensive resort. “It’s a beautiful resort course but very difficult, so not recommended to a new player but it’s fun to visit because the tour championship that we see televised is there every year. It’s a real ‘bucket list’ place,” Foley explains.


Las Vegas - known primarily for its casinos and exotic nightlife - is also a golf attraction with over 100 courses, most open to the public. Many of these - such as Desert Pines dubbed “The Pinehurst of Las Vegas” - are designed to emulate famous golf courses from around the world so they offer tourists an opportunity to experience the whole spectrum of U.S. and international golf. Many of the famous U.S. courses seen by TV audiences are private golf courses among which Augusta National is probably the most prestigious. Host to the Masters every spring, it is the hardest golf course to get on to in the U.S. either to play or as a spectator with tickets offered in a lottery. “The people who go are the Who’s Who of corporate America,” says Foley. “But there are lots of tour operator packages for international tourists.” He calls it the greatest event in U.S. sports. 


Golf driving trails are very popular with tourists, encompassing a range of different courses over a week or two’s varied travel - for example, the Milwaukee Golf Trail, the Brainerd Golf Trail in Minnesota, the Audubon Golf Trail in Louisiana, the Colorado Golf Trail, the New York Golf Trail and the Pete Dye Golf Trail, Indiana. And resorts in golf-dense areas like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, are attracting tourists with discounted, multi-center golf packages.