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Golf resorts

What are golf resorts?

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Resorts are sprawling vacation communities that are designed to offer recreation and entertainment in addition to accommodation. A golf resort is a specialized resort retreat that primarily targets individuals who are interested in the sport of golf. These resorts usually include a top-notch golf course on site or offer access to one or more courses. These could be private or public golf courses. Golf resorts typically also include a clubhouse and offer attractive golfing packages.

Due to the expensive nature of the sport, golf resorts are upscale properties. In addition to offering access to an exceptional course, the resort also needs to maintain a high quality of service and provide top-notch dining and off-course activities.

While golf resorts primarily cater to golf enthusiasts, they also offer other appealing amenities such as a spa and an outdoor pool. Some golf resorts in Ontario, Canada, include ski slopes and a skating rink for the winter season. Golf resorts are generally located away from major cities, in part due to the large space that is required to design an exceptional course. Even if you do not play golf, these resorts can be booked for a de-stressing weekend away.

Types of golf courses

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• Links course

The links course is the most famous type of golf course, and it's where the game of golf was originally played. These courses are located along the coast and have sandy soil under the green. The texture of the soil helps provide a natural undulation to the course. The sandy soil drains well and it keeps the course nice and firm. Some of the most famous links courses can be found in Scotland, Ireland, and England.

Since these courses are near the coast, with few or no trees, wind is a crucial factor when playing. These courses also feature deep pot bunkers, which are typically included in the course design.

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• Parkland course

As opposed to links courses, parkland courses are built away from the ocean and are designed with lush landscaping. These courses are usually built in places that do not have the ideal soil conditions for a golf course, therefore they're harder to maintain. The bunkers, ponds, and even the undulating nature of the golf course are all man-made on parkland courses. The most famous parkland course is the Augusta National Golf Course, which hosts the annual Masters Tournament.

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• Sandbelt course

Sandbelt courses are golf courses found in the Sandbelt region of Australia, outside of Melbourne. The sandy soil conditions in this area are a result of a prehistoric flood and offer the ideal conditions for a golf course. The ground conditions also help form natural undulations and include deep bunkers. Royal Melbourne Golf Club and Metropolitan Golf Club are some of the finest examples of a sandbelt course.

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• Heathland course

These courses can best be described as a mix of links and parkland golf courses. Heathland courses are found inland but have sandy ground. These courses are not as well-manicured as parkland courses and often include coarse grass and vegetation such as heather. Heathland courses originated and are mostly found in England.

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• Stadium/championship course

These courses are specifically designed to host big and small golf tournaments. Many resorts use the term championship course if they have an 18-hole golf course on site. However, true championship courses are the ones that have hosted a PGA tournament.

Stadium courses host PGA events as well, but what separates them from championship courses is that these were designed to host spectators. Since these courses are specifically designed with tournaments and an audience in mind, they're meant to be more exciting.

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• Par-3 course

Par-3 courses allow a shorter version of the game, which can typically be completed in 90 minutes. A par refers to the number of strokes it should take to complete a hole, and in this course type, it's set to three. Generally, a par-3 golf course has a total par of 54.

These courses are an excellent choice for newbie golfers and are cheaper to maintain since they're small in size. Many traditional golf courses such as Augusta National also have a short par-3 course for golfers. Many resorts opt for this type of course since they're easier to maintain and popular with tourists.

Another version of the shorter course is known as an executive course and derives its name from the corporate world. These courses are designed with busy executives in mind, and it typically takes between two to three hours to complete a round on them. These courses are generally par-3, with a few par-4 and par-5 holes. An 18-hole executive course usually has a par of 60-65.

Beginner golf terms

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If you have been playing golf for a while, you must be familiar with all the terms; but to a novice, they might as well be a foreign language. Since golf resorts are relaxing vacation spots, they're quite popular even with non-golfers. And why not try your hand at the game while you're here?

Let’s take a look at 20 of the most common golfing terms, so you can sound like a pro even before you start playing like one.

Golf Term



An official who makes sure you tee off from the first hole on time.


An official who drives through the course ensuring that no golfer is slowing the game.


This is the point that marks the start of each hole.


This is simply the swing of the club when it makes contact with the ball.


The number of predetermined strokes a golfer can take to complete a hole. An 18-hole course for example has 4 par-3 holes, four par-5 holes, and 10 par-4 holes. This adds to a total of par-72.


Completing a hole in one stroke under the par.


Completing a hole in one stroke over the par.


Completing a hole in two strokes under the par.


This means hitting the hole in one shot. This deserves a celebration!


The stretch of short grass that directs the golfer to the hole.


The area of finely cut grass near the end of each hole. On a par-5 course, a golfer is expected to take three strokes to get to the green, and a further two strokes to get the ball in the hole.


The area of tall grass bordering the fairway.


Part of the course design that keeps the game interesting, such as bunkers, tall grass, and even water bodies.


Refers to the way the ball comes to rest on the ground. It could be a ‘good lie’ on the fairway and surely a ‘bad lie’ if it lands close to a gator on a Florida course.


The term golfers yell when they hit a bad shot. It helps warn nearby golfers that a ball might be headed their way. Best to find cover!


To hit the golf ball gently so that it rolls in the hole.


To get the golf ball in a hole in three putts from the green. This must be avoided as it takes a golfer over the permitted number of strokes per hole.

Pin or flag

It helps to identify the hole you're aiming for.

Out of bounds

An area on the course where the ball should not land. A golfer has three minutes to retrieve the ball and take a swing from the previous spot. It also gets you a penalty.

19th Hole

Refers to the clubhouse where you can get drinks after completing your round. You'll be buying if you manage to get a hole-in-one.

Why should you consider staying at a golf resort?

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• Practice your swings and tee off whenever you want

Proximity to a golf course means that guests can tee off early morning before breakfast or in the afternoon after a day of sightseeing. However, guests need to book and pay for their tee time in advance to guarantee a spot.

• Take lessons from professional instructors

Many golf resorts have professional instructors whose services can be booked for one-on-one lessons to help improve your swing. Session timings can vary between an hour to three days of training. Rates also depend on the professional caliber of the instructors. Former PGA players charge more for their lessons.

• Attend golf tournaments and other events

Golf resorts are also a great option for golf fans in town to attend a PGA tournament. Many golf resorts in America offer championship courses that are part of the PGA tournament such as Silverado Resort and Spa, which is also one of the best resorts in Napa.

• Meet friends and fellow golf enthusiasts

A stay at a golf resort makes for an excellent weekend getaway with friends, where you can hone your skills together. It's also a favorable destination for business acquaintances looking to close a deal in a laid-back setting.

• Enjoy beautiful views

The views from the rooms at a golf resort are scenic, with acres of verdant course to gaze at from the windows. If the resort has a links course, then sea views can also be enjoyed.

• Privacy and serenity

Since golf is an expensive sport, these resorts are primarily frequented by travelers who have an interest in the game. You'll rarely find families booking golf resorts since they have fewer amenities catering to children. It's also unlikely to come across college-going kids on spring break at a golf resort. Thus, patrons enjoy a quiet space where they can practice their swing, and if possible, take a lesson from a pro.

• Access to several amenities

While the main focus is on golf, these resorts also offer several other amenities. Guests can pamper themselves with a soothing session at the resort spa, cool off in the outdoor pool, and enjoy exceptional cuisine.

• Specialized services

Most golf resorts provide guests with services related to the game. In addition to easy access to an on-site golf course, resorts might provide complimentary transfers to nearby public golf courses. The resort might even include a pro shop on site, where guests can purchase clubs and other accessories. Moreover, a clubhouse helps rent equipment for those who wish to try a round.

Typical amenities at a golf resort

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• Golfing area

A golf resort will have its own beautifully designed golf course, courtesy of a prominent course architect. If it does not have an on-site course, then it's either adjacent to one or in an area with several golf courses in the vicinity. In addition to a golf course, the resort will usually also include a driving range, where guests can practice their swings before tee time. The course might also offer technology aids such as swing analysis.

While most resort courses are 18-hole, some resorts include a 9-hole course instead. Many larger courses also include par-3 courses, which are an excellent way to be introduced to the game of golf.

• Clubhouse

No golf course is complete without its clubhouse, which is also referred to as the 19th hole. The clubhouse is the main building on the course, and this is where guests check in. It can also include a restaurant or a small snack bar. Essentially, the more expensive a course, the more amenities will be offered in the clubhouse.

Clubhouses can include meeting rooms, a full bar, and multiple dining venues.

• Pro shop/full-service golf shop

The clubhouse on the course usually includes a pro shop where guests can purchase accessories or upgrade their equipment. Resort-branded gear may also be available to purchase as souvenirs.

• Restaurants

Since resorts are much larger than city hotels, they also include multiple restaurants. In addition to that, the resort might also include a bar or a lounge. It's common for most restaurants to offer full room service or a special room service menu. Room service timings can vary by the property.

• Fitness amenities

Just like any other resort, a golf resort promises a relaxing stay. Guests can lounge by the outdoor pool, work out at the on-site gym, and enjoy a couple of drinks at the poolside bar when they're not on the course. The resort may also include additional sporting amenities such as tennis and pickleball courts, and a games room. Beachfront golf resorts usually offer motorized and non-motorized water sports as well.

• Sports Lounge and TAB

The resort or the on-site clubhouse might include a sports lounge where guests can catch up on their favorite sports and indulge in sports betting. And no, they're not limited to golf tournaments. It's a great spot to hang out with your buddies and enjoy a chilled beer.

• Spa and other wellness amenities

When you think of the word resort, you think of a stress-free holiday, preferably with a cocktail in hand. Nothing can be more stress-free than switching off your ringer and checking into the calm and soothing interior of a spa.

Guests can easily book tee time during the day and spend the hotter afternoons in the cool confines of the on-site spa.

• Manicured gardens

Golf courses are perfectly manicured and maintained green spaces, and golf resorts extend the same impeccable standard to the resort gardens. The gardens are landscaped spaces where guests can enjoy high-tea or an evening cocktail while surrounded by fragrant flowers. The manicured gardens might also lead out to the beach or a lakeside where guests can take a stroll.

• Accommodations

Golf resorts offer some of the finest accommodations with spacious interiors and views of the course. These rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi access and room service, among other amenities and facilities. Some golf resorts might also include private pool villas for a truly exceptional stay.

Things to consider when choosing a golf resort

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• Budget

For a golf resort, this includes not just the price of the property but also the cost of tee time. Prices will increase if you're looking to rent clubs and other services such as a caddie. If you wish to sign up for lessons while you're at the resort, that will also add to the overall cost of the trip.

Generally, a golfing holiday is a little bit more expensive than your average holiday, but it offers guests a chance to enjoy a sport that they might not usually find the time to indulge in.

• Location

Golf resorts are usually located away from major cities since courses can stretch over several hundred acres. If you wish to be close to city conveniences, then it would be preferable to choose a resort in and around cities, such as those near Los Angeles.

Many golf resorts that are located in coastal destinations such as Jamaica or Hawaii have plenty of things to do and attractions to visit when you're not on the course. These types of resorts are best for beginner golfers who wish to also include some traditional vacation activities during their stay.

• Period of your stay

Golfing in tropical destinations can be enjoyed year-round, though it might get a bit hot during the summer months. However, this could also be the time when the resort offers attractive discounts. These might include discounted spa services or meals.

• Facilities and other services

Golf resorts offer a wide range of amenities in addition to access to excellent fairways and manicured greens. These include restaurants, entertainment and leisure amenities, and more. If you're traveling with children, you can check if the resort includes a kids club or if a junior golfing package is available. Some resorts allow junior players complimentary tee time when accompanying a paying parent.

• Quality of the golf course

Since golf resorts are primarily for golfing holidays, one of the main criteria for picking a resort is the quality of the course. Visitors should also consider if it's a standard 18-hole or a smaller 9-hole course. If you're new to the game, you may consider picking a resort that also offers a par-3 course for shorter games.

Championship courses where PGA tournaments have been played are some of the most exceptional courses that you'll come across. These will also be on the more expensive side. If you have a preference for a particular type of course such as links or parkland, then the layout will be a determining factor as well.

• Reviews and ratings

The best way to judge your short-listed golf resorts is by taking a look at the most recent ratings and reading through the reviews. This will help you find out not just the quality of service but also the best season for certain destinations.

• Golf packages

Some resorts offer all-inclusive stay-and-play packages that include accommodation, meals, and time on the course. Play packages may also include cart fees, balls, and a caddie. If you become a frequent visitor to the resort, you might also consider opting for an annual membership.

Golf resort etiquette and rules

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• General etiquette

A single round of golf takes a long time to play, so it's best not to slow everyone down at the course. From the time you pick up your club, it should take you no more than 40 seconds to play your shot. While course banter is fun, try to maintain silence when someone is taking a swing. Also, do not stand in a position that may be distracting to fellow players.

Make sure to flatten out any indentations your club, and not your frustration, might leave on the grass. For the same reason, buggies should be limited to the pathways. It's never okay to scream or throw your club around the course.

• Honor your tee time

Make sure to arrive a little bit early for your tee time so that you have time to warm up and play a few shots on the practice green before heading to the course.

• Dress code

Both men and women should wear a neatly tucked-in polo or a t-shirt with collars. Note that these cannot be sports jerseys. These should be accompanied by tailored shorts or trousers worn with a belt. Shorts cannot be more than 4 in (10 cm) above the knee. Guests must also wear appropriate golf shoes with short or long socks.

Clubhouses also require guests to be dressed neatly at all times and maintain a certain level of decorum.

• Resort rules

Guests can book tee time either online or directly with the resort when the property includes an on-site golf course. Booking and cancellation of tee time policies vary among properties and should be checked individually.

Top destinations with golf resorts and golf courses

Destinations with golf resorts and golf courses in the United States

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• Florida

With over 1,000 golf courses, Florida is one of the top destinations for people planning a golfing holiday. It also helps that many of the pro golfers, including Tiger Woods, call the Sunshine State home. Florida hosts several annual PGA tournaments such as The Players Championship and The Honda Classic. The year-round sunny weather makes it easy to plan a getaway to a golf resort in Florida whenever the mood strikes.

You can visit the beautiful Florida Keys area and book a golf resort for your stay or enjoy a tee time at any of the resorts in Orlando. The Miami and Fort Lauderdale area offers exciting nightlife and wonderful attractions in addition to exceptional golf courses. Palm Beach is considered the golf capital of Florida and is home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the state.

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• Hawaii

The islands of Hawaii offer some stunning golf courses where the green of the course meets the turquoise of the ocean. Due to the nature of the soil, The island of Oʻahu offers the maximum number of golf resorts in the state, along with golf resorts in Honolulu. Golf resorts in Kauai and Maui are other popular destinations to consider in Hawaii.

The advantage of choosing Hawaii for a golfing holiday other than the fantastic climate is that there are so many things to do on the islands. Visitors can go hiking up a volcano to witness a glorious sunrise and even explore tropical rainforests. And when in Hawaii, you cannot miss out on learning how to surf.

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• Arizona

The best time for planning a golf holiday to Arizona is during the cooler months of January to April. If you do not mind the heat, golf resorts in Arizona offer some majestic backgrounds. Generally, golf resorts are prime properties, but this state also offers some affordable courses if you wish to get a feel of the game.

The mix of mountains and desert conditions contributes to some exciting courses in the state and can be experienced at golf resorts in Scottsdale. Tucson, Phoenix, and Sedona are other top destinations for a golf break in Arizona. Golfing in the state can be mixed up with outdoor adventures such as hiking in the Grand Canyon or exploring the red sand of Monument Valley.

Destinations with golf resorts and golf courses in the Caribbean

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• Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is one of the top choices in the Caribbean for a golfing holiday. The country has 26 golf resorts, with 5 courses designed by prominent golf course architect Pete Dye. The temperate year-round climate and oceanfront courses make the ideal settings for a few rounds of golf.

The capital Santo Domingo is the perfect choice for golf enthusiasts who wish to combine their love for the game with a little bit of sightseeing. Interesting things to do in the city include a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Colonial Zone, which includes Columbus Palace.

If golf is part of a much-needed relaxing break, then the golf resorts in Punta Cana are a better option. You may find manicured resort gardens leading out to powder-soft beaches where guests can top their tan or take a swim. Many of these resorts also offer luxurious private villas.

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• Jamaica

This island nation offers world-class golf resorts where visitors can make the most of the pleasant weather and natural attractions. A night cruise in the Luminous Lagoon and a visit to Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park are some of the top things to do in Jamaica. The country is famous for its all-inclusive properties, where food and drinks are included in the booking price.

Some golf resorts in the country are also all-inclusive properties that offer complimentary transfers to golf courses and host weekly golf clinics. Visitors can choose to stay near one of the 10 stunning courses, in destinations such as Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, each offering top-notch service.

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• Puerto Rico

With direct flights from several US cities, Puerto Rico is a popular golfing destination. The championship course on the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve hosts the annual Purto Rico Open. The Hyatt property is without a doubt one of the top choices for a golf resort in Puerto Rico. Guests can stay at the resort not just for a golfing holiday but also to catch top golfers in action during the PGA tournament in late February or early March.

Hiking through El Yunque National Forest, wandering the lanes of Old San Juan, and night kayaking are some of the other things to do in Puerto Rico.

Other destinations with golf resorts and golf courses

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• United Kingdom

If you want to experience golf at its finest, you cannot skip the golf resorts in the United Kingdom. Golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century, when players would attempt to swing a pebble over sand dunes. The topography of the land led to the links courses that are found across the United Kingdom. To this day, some of the most famous links courses are found in the country.

Even if you're an amateur golfer or a complete novice, staying at a golf resort in Scotland can be part of a larger holiday experience that can include scenic drives around Scotland. Golf resorts in England and Wales also offer championship courses that allow visitors a chance to escape to the countryside and enjoy the slow pace of life.

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• Spain

The game of golf prefers a pleasant climate with some wind and natural obstacles to keep the course interesting. Therefore, places such as Alicante and Malaga in southern Spain are popular with golfers looking to escape the cold of Northern Europe. Spain has around 400 golf courses, with 70 in the Mediterranean bordering Costa del Sol. The emerald green of the grass creates a stunning contrast against the aquamarine hues of the sea. In addition to the beaches and water sports, things to do here include touring charming villages and hiking through the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park.

Golf resorts in the country can also be found in other cities including Barcelona, which would be perfect for a weekend retreat with business acquaintances.

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• Mexico

This country is yet another top choice for golfers due to its accessibility as well as excellent resort facilities. Golf resorts in Mexico can be found in the tourist cities of Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and the lovely region of Riviera Maya.

Riviera Maya is known for its high-end all-inclusive resorts and resorts with unique swim-up suites. The resorts in the area allow guests to play some memorable games, visit historic sites, and indulge in thrilling water sports.

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• Italy

While Italy might be more well-known for its cultural attractions and high-end fashion houses, it also offers some of the most picturesque golf resorts. A golfing holiday in Italy can be combined with wine tastings, cultural excursions, and food tours. Visitors can experience a variety of golf courses in Italy, including mountain courses. If you have a difficult time navigating the terrain, a golf lesson can be easily booked. While many of the top courses are located in Northern Italy, courses can also be found along the Mediterranean coast.

The hilly terrain of Tuscany provides challenging courses for intermediate to advanced golfers. A holiday in Tuscany can include stops at several destinations, from the hilly Cortona to the coastal Maremma. Visiting an olive farm and enjoying a hot air balloon ride should be on your list of things to do in Tuscany.

Tee off to a memorable holiday

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Golf resorts are luxurious properties in stunning destinations that offer more than just world-class golfing facilities. A golf holiday is an excellent way to take a break and come back refreshed. Even if you do not play golf, you should consider booking a golf resort to enjoy its top-notch facilities and services. With a wide range of relaxing amenities and a private location, these resorts are just what is needed for a laid-back holiday.

Golf Resorts and Golf Courses in the USA

Golf Resorts and Golf Courses in Canada

Golf Resorts and Golf Courses in Europe

Golf Resorts and Golf Courses in Asia

Golf Resorts and Golf Courses in Other Destinations

FAQ's about Golf Resorts

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