As the PGA Tour island hops from Maui to Oahu this week, the Golf Guy and Birdie Bailey decided it was an appropriate time to bust out their picks for their top-5 dream golfing destinations. Feel free to add your thoughts on where YOU dream of playing.
The Golf Guy
Maui, Hawaii: Wailea to be exact. The Blue Course, the Emerald Course and the Gold Course. Three fun layouts, each with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and some of the nearby islands. And I’ve never witnessed more beautiful shades of green in my entire life. My favorite part? Playing late in the afternoon with the setting sun, and realizing some cocktails and a steak are waiting after the round in the clubhouse, where you can talk about this may have been the greatest day of your life.
Cape Kidnappers (New Zealand, pictured above): Never been there. Good chance I’ll never get there. But just seeing a picture of that golf course makes me think that it is has to be the home course of the golfing gods.
Whistling Straits (Kohler, Wisc.): Strange as this may sound, I have mixed feelings when I think of my trip last year to Whistling Straits. I played all three course in the area – Blackwolf Run (the fairways are in better shape than most greens), the Irish Course (incredible, perfectly-framed course standing on the tee), and the Straits Course (pretty sure what filmmaker Tim Burton would have in mind if he ever designed a golf course). Where do the “mixed feelings” come from? I had to go to the hospital (no joke) after playing the Straits Course. No carts allowed. Walking mandatory. Bring muscle relaxers.
Cypress Point (Pebble Beach, Calif.): Aerial views of the famed par-3 16th are awesome (Google it). The rugged coastline around the hole looks like pre-historic times, the crashing waves are awe-inspiring … and it’s a par-3. That means, I could somehow get a green in regulation on one of the world’s greatest golf holes. Only one problem: It’s is a very exclusive club. Not likely to see ‘Golf Guy’ on the tee times sheet … ever.
Anywhere, Ireland: Again, never been there … yet. Do I want to play in the wind, cold and rain? No. Do I want to at least set out to play in horrible conditions knowing full well that I can quit at any time and instead head back into a pub and try to decipher crazy Irish talk? Absolutely.
Monterey, Calif.: Pebble Beach is as amazing as its reputation suggests. And yes, Cypress Point is even more spectacular and breathtaking. Throw in a few other rounds at Spyglass, Poppy Hills or Monterey Peninsula Country Club and have yourself a bowl – or ten – of clam chowder from the Old Fisherman’s Grotto on the wharf and I can’t say it gets any more heavenly than that.
Long Island, N.Y.: Bethpage, Shinnecock, Long Island National and a slew of other courses crowd the populated state and I imagine any of them would be one of the best courses I’ve ever played. I’ve never been, but would love to see grown men sleeping in their cars overnight just to be one of the first in line to tee up at Bethpage.
Bandon, Oregon: Rumor has it that Bandon is home to some of the most beautiful, links-style courses on the western coast. With four courses to choose from – Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails and Old Macdonald – I’d be lucky to play just one, let alone all four.
Scottsdale, Ariz.: Call me biased, call me partial. I spent three years in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area playing golf and writing about it, and it was nearly the perfect job. A few of my favorites include Quintero, We-Ko-Pa, Southern Dunes, Estancia, Grayhawk and DC Ranch, but you can hardly go wrong anywhere you play. Throw in a good margarita, guacamole and some short rib tacos and call me a happy clam.
St. Andrews: I surmise St. Andrews is on every golfer’s list of dream destinations, so I don’t have to explain myself on this one. Seeing the birthplace of golf and soaking in the history? I’ll get there one day.