Some may think “Golf is a pleasant walk spoiled,” but that doesn’t stop millions of us from chasing that little white ball around a field for hours at a time.
Originating in 15th-century Scotland, the sport is now played worldwide and has evolved from a humble hobby to a luxury amenity. Some of the finest hotels in the world feature courses on their grounds, with the best of them adding a serious reputation to the property.
If you or a loved one (we’re looking at Dad and Grandpa) is golf crazy, read on. We’ve found the best golf hotels on the planet. And don’t worry—most of them have something for everyone else, too.
Gleneagles Golf Resort and Spa
Location: Gleneagles, Scotland
Vibe: Legendary Scottish luxury crowd pleaser
The rundown: Gleneagles should be on any hotel lover’s bucket list. But for a golfer, it’s tantamount to a pilgrimage. The King’s course (one of three championship courses) is widely regarded as a masterpiece of golf design, while an elite practice facility, two halfway houses, and a brilliant little 9-hole par three course will keep your golf fire burning.
Thankfully, the experience is just as good even if you don’t play golf. The Gleneagles Hotel is one of the best in the UK, offering five-star luxury, Scotland’s only 2 Michelin-starred restaurants, and extraordinary experiences, including shooting, fishing, off-roading, and nature walks.
Four Seasons Resort Hualailai
Location: Big Island, Hawaii
Vibe: Volcanic spectacle
The rundown: There can’t be many courses where black lava flows line the greens and fairway. The Four Seasons Resort Hualailai is one of them. A majestically designed course sets the bar for any golfing holiday, with the unbeatable Four Seasons luxury experience playing the role of the 19th hole.
The hotel itself is the only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond Rated Resort in Hawaii, so you know you’re onto something special. Oh, and you’re in Hawaii. That’s enough of a reason to visit, I think.
Location: Turnberry, Scotland
Vibe: Classic golfing opulence
The rundown: The home of golf’s second feature on the list is Trump Turnberry. Widely hailed as one of the best golfing destinations on the planet, its spectacular location on the rugged South Ayrshire coastline is enough to melt your heart.
Add some world-renowned links golf, outstanding culinary options, and five-star luxury, and you’ve got a golf trip for the ages.
Location: Pinehurst, North Carolina
Vibe: American bucket-list course
The rundown: Few courses in the US are as revered as Pinehurst’s Number 2. It’s no surprise it’s been used as a championship course more than any other in the country in its 125-year history. Nestled in the middle of ever-beautiful North Carolina, an easy-going weekend spent on the fairways here is fantastic.
It boasts three separate accommodation options, ranging from luxury to more basic, meaning a trip here doesn’t need to be quite as expensive as many others on the list.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Location: Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Vibe: Southern spectacular
The rundown: Kiawah Island’s spectacular location is unbeatable. The headlining course has been the scene of some of golf’s most nail-biting moments, and you can replicate them yourself.
While golf may be the big-ticket item here, the resort is well-equipped with enough to keep the entire family engaged. An excellent spa, culinary experiences, pools, tennis courts, world-class beaches, and an array of luxury accommodations help round out an amazing escape at Kiawah.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
Location: Bandon, Oregon
Vibe: Scottish tradition, Pacific destination
The rundown: For true golf fans, links courses are the dream. There are only 247 officially designated links courses in the world, with the vast majority located in the UK. The US only has four. Three of them are found at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Pairing the breathtaking scenery of Oregon’s Pacific coast with the only US golf tied to the Scottish tradition is a must for any real enthusiast. For the novice, the courses here may be a touch beyond them, but it’s worth the shot. Franky, the views from the lodge are worth the trip alone. There aren’t any carts, though, so be ready to get your steps in.
The American Club at Whistling Straits
Location: Kohler, Wisconsin
Vibe: Midwestern golf escape
The rundown: While not officially labeled a links course, Whistling Straits in Kohler has been designed with the spirit of the ancient game in mind. Perched on the banks of Lake Michigan, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a prettier place for a round in the Midwest.
The nearby American Club is a beauty. A five-star, five-diamond hotel for over 100 years, the management here knows service. Bursting with high-end amenities, immaculately designed rooms, and excellent culinary options, it makes for the perfect base to explore the region (and, of course, the golf).