Talking Stick – North Course

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw said that the Talking Stick – North Course is the low-profile part among the two golf vacation destinations in the area. As the South Course displays a more challenging elevated greens that are guarded by edges of the plan, this North course shows a links style layout that transports any traditional player into the nostalgic history of golf. Home of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the course has wide and sharp-cornered holes that reinforce an amusing play catering to different skill levels.

While the makers of Talking Stick – North Course may declare it as low-profile, the golf trip course is actually far from diffident when it comes to awards. In fact, it has maintained as Golfweek Magazine’ Top 100 Modern Courses from 1999 to 2002, and Top100 Best Courses You Can Play from 2002 to 2003. Making a step forward, the course also garnered the top rank as Golfweek’s Best Public Course in the State consistently from 2002 and 2005. During those years, it was rated with 4 stars from Golf Digest Surveys. The fame has made this course open to host prominent events like the The Gateway Tours from 2002 to 2007.

Despite the well-celebrated reputation, Talking Stick – North Course has maintained to provide a relaxing atmosphere to its customers. Sure players can dive into the challenge at its premier golf layout, but more than that, guests can choose to cuddle up in one of the rooms or dine at the Wildhorse Grille while relishing the spectacular panorama of mountain vistas. Truly, a golf vacation at the North is worth every bit of energy.


La Quinta Golf Resort – Dunes Course

Looking at California and everything in it makes one believe that the sun has cast some sort of spell to it. Be it on the beach, on the mountains, or in the desert, everything under the California sun looks good. It could be that, or it could just be that this is one gorgeous place – every inch of it. But while the mystery remains as to what sort of magic binds California in a stunning spell, at the Dunes Course of the La Quinta Resort near Palm Springs, there’s no mystery. There was no magic, only pure genius. And it was that of Pete Dye that created one of the finest golf vacation destinations in California, creating another wonderland from the natural beauty that is California.

The Dunes Course is an 18-hole, par 72 golf vacation spectacle that is part of the 36-hole golf resort of La Quinta. It bears a Scottish-links style layout and takes its players up and down the sandy paradise. The scenery surrounding it are extremely stunning, its layout very, very enjoyable. Laid in comparison to its more difficult sibling, this course is much easier and more forgiving. Bad shots are not too punishing and create an easy recovery, although forced carries are almost a necessity at every hole. But that should not make golfers assume that they can take the course lightly.

While it is deemed a less difficult course, the 17th hole of the Dunes Course is ranked among the 18 most difficult holes in America. Now, that gives this rather playable course a rather daunting twist. There is nothing mysterious or mystical about this golf trip favorite. There is only pure beauty and excellence that is befitting that of California.

The Senator Course at Shula’s Resort

Something so good could never get old. It ages, but will never be too old to be fun. That is the best way to describe and pay respect to one of Miami’s most beloved courses, the Senator Course at Shula’s Resort. The 1963 classic layout may have seen the best and worst of times, and may have gone through tweaking here and there but the glory and beauty that it has beheld all these years have remained. And yes, for almost half a century now, this course has remained on the Miami list of the most beautiful, most favorite golf vacation destinations.

The Senator Course features quite a variety of terrains and surfaces that makes games here very exciting. This also gives the feel of a long game despite the fact that the course is only a little more than 6,900 yards from the back tees. What begins as a rather open layout finishes off with tighter, tree-lined fairways on the 11th onwards. There is a reason to think that the first ten holes are a beginner’s preparation for the tougher test ahead. The holes start easy until they get guarded a little heavily, both with sand and water as well as trees. These natural elements make for the biggest and most beautiful features of the golf vacation favorite.

And there is nothing surprising about that. This course was made to blend well with its environment, and be a safe haven for native wildlife as much as a paradise for golfers. The Senator Course and the people running it look after not only their beloved patrons but to Mother Nature as well. Perhaps it is for that reason that this golf trip favorite ages gracefully. It lets nature takes its course, and it goes well along with it.

Crandon Park Golf Club at Key Biscayne

Nature is indeed the best accessory any golf course will ever have. Whilst many golf vacation destinations have resorted to moving the earth and creating a new “face” to a property, others have had better sense. But then again, if the property in question is the island park of Key Biscane, the piece of paradise ten minutes off downtown Miami, it would be hard to ignore and alter Mother Nature’s work here. The Crandon Park Golf Club has been the prime centerpiece of Key Biscayne, and it will be this way for a very, very long time.

The original Bruce Devlin/Robert Von Hagge have been partly recreated – the greens mostly, but the project was more a restoration than a renovation. And it has never been any better. The Crandon Park Golf Club features a layout measuring more than 7,300 yards from the back tees, par 72, all set amidst and through mangrove thickets, saltwater lakes and some of the most challenging sand traps in Miami. Many of the holes are overlooking the beautiful Biscayne Bay. If that is not enough a distraction to any game, then nature will take its course and make a mark on anybody’s golf vacation.

And by anybody, it means anybody including the big names in golf like Ray Floyd, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and Arnold Palmer. They have all fallen prey to, if not the views, nature in its many forms in the Crandon Park Golf Club. They may be the alligators, the iguanas roaming freely about, or the many different species of birds that are as common here as the holes themselves. That, or the wind. Either way, nature and man will live harmoniously on this golf trip haven, and it will be this way for a very, very long time.

Turnberry Isle Miami – Miller Course

Just as it was, the original Robert Trent Jones Sr layout was good and deemed to be among the best and most beautiful in Miami. But things had to change for the better. Whatever was better than the best, Raymond Floyd interpreted and delivered. Today, the Miller Course of the Turnberry Isle Resort bears a charm and quality that is mostly unheard of in most Miami golf vacation destinations.

The Miller Course of the Turnberry Isle took a general and major overhaul by Floyd in 2007, some 30 plus years since it first opened as a RTJ creation. From a relatively flat course following the natural contours of the Florida terrain, this new face of the golf course carries a more sophisticated and more exciting course with mounds and elevation changes. Moreover, Floyd added more water elements to the holes making it more exciting and extremely beautiful. And with the stunningly gorgeous Lake Julius as its centerpiece, golfers are assured of golf vacations that are as beautiful to play as they are to see.

Challenge-wise, the Miller Course is the friendlier of the two courses on the Turnberry Isle Resort. The other one, the Soffer, is lengthier and tougher, while the Miller is shorter and is played as the resort course. It is just the right mix of fun and fierce without going overboard either way, making golf trips here just as they should be: relaxing. The course measures 6,417 yards from the tips, and plays for a par of 72.

Doral Resort – Great White Course

One of the biggest things a golf course – or anything for that matter – goes through in one’s lifetime are big changes. As for golf vacation destinations, these changes mean risks – especially if these courses were known for and regarded for being excellent just as they are. Doral Resort’s Great White Course, the Greg Norman creation, faced and conquered the same all too easily. And beautifully at that.

The Great White Course is one of the five championship golf courses at the Doral Resort. While the Blue Monster is the most well-known of the five for the PGA Tour stint, the Great White is not on the least list either. It is actually known for being the most beautiful and most unique being the only one that uses coquina shells for bunkers on every hole. The course was already known for being tough on the toughies and a fun experience for the high-handicaps. This feature was retained, and the rest made even better. Today, this golf vacation favorite is known for wide fairways bordered by hundreds of native palms, undulating greens made of prime native grass, remodeled bunkers, and water playing on all but four holes.

Measuring a whooping 7, 171 yards from the tips, the par 72 golf trip spectacle has also seen development on its drainage system. They made amends on the course’s cart paths, making the renovation even more beneficial for both the course and the player. And Greg Norman being Greg Norman, naturally, the original layout and the renovation both made very little impact environmentally. Great White Course took as much risk, and now enjoys as much benefits. This is perfectly a change for the best.

Windermere Country Club

The Windermere Country Club was hardly ever golf vacation material. Not so much because of its quality – on the contrary, this is one very excellent course. But this was one course that was only good for the residents of the exclusive gated community it is part of and the few fortunate friends they invite over for a round. It was this way for a long time, until much lately, the golf heavens have finally heard the prayers of its people.

Before the course opened for public play, the Windermere Country Club had to go through a series of improvements to better serve a bigger market. The management began this development by improving the greens and the landscaping, the surrounding areas, and the practice range. And from there, Orlando has never been a happier or more exciting place for golf outings. The Ward Northrup design measures over 6,500 yards from the longest tees, par 72, with some of the most exciting roundup of Florida’s staple golf features. The course features 13 holes on water and 63 beautifully shaped, large bunkers that makes any golf trip essentially fun and challenging. On top of that, beautiful and majestic pines and oaks line the fairways and dot the greens, taking the challenge up one notch higher.

And since it has opened itself to the public, it has naturally made itself more enjoyable for more people. The Windermere Country Club has multiple sets of tees that will delight all skill levels with fair but fun challenge. Now it has become more than just an exquisite golf course. It is now one of Orlando’s most favorite golf vacation destinations.