The whole golf industry has been hot the last couple of years, but golf travel, in particular, is on fire. People with disposable income are looking more toward experiences than material possessions as a way to enjoy their hard-earned dollars, and golfers are reaping the benefits – as are golf courses, resorts and destinations.
As 2024 looms, it’s never too early to start pondering your big golf trip – or trips – for the coming year. GolfPass’ travel department continues to add value-loaded stay-and-play packages to hundreds of courses across the world, including numerous PGA Tour host venues and the site of the thrilling 2023 Solheim Cup. Other world-famous resorts and hidden-gem destinations alike are offering packages through GolfPass, and GolfPass+ members can save up to $100 on certain packages as a perk of their membership (click here to join GolfPass+ for $99).
Our travel department offers an extensive menu of stay-and-plays, but to inspire you for the year ahead, here are 10 packages I find particularly compelling.
17 Mile (Pebble Beach) Stay & Play Golf Package
Pebble Beach Resorts hardly needs any introduction. Its three big courses – Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and the Links at Spanish Bay – comprise one of the world’s most sought-after golf destinations, meandering through scenic cypress forests and dramatic coastal dunescapes on California’s Monterey Peninsula.
The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is one of America’s great vacation golf playgrounds. The game’s recent boom has driven green fees up across the Valley of the Sun, making it more important than ever to parlay rounds of golf and lodging, as opposed to going a la carte for everything. This popular stay-and-play golf package includes rounds at Scottsdale’s iconic Troon North Golf Club and The Boulders Resort, with accommodations at the hip Westin Kierland Resort. GolfPass offers several other attractive Arizona golf packages, too.
The forest fire-driven devastation of the Maui town of Lahaina put a brief pause on tourism to this Hawaiian island. But things are opening back up, and there is an unprecedented opportunity for visitors to enjoy themselves and have a deep sense that they are helping the local economy get back up and running after a natural disaster. The flames spared the resort and golf courses at Kapalua, which have been open since October and will host the PGA Tour once again in January. There has never been a more important time for golfers to book a Maui golf vacation.
Wilderness Club Stay & Play Golf Package
Golfers are increasingly open to off-the-beaten-track experiences, and The Wilderness Club fits that description perfectly. It’s one of America’s best one-course destinations, home to Montana’s top-ranked public course, designed by Sir Nick Faldo. Visitors can stay in suites or cottages on the 550-acre property less than 15 miles from the Canadian border. Booming real-estate sales have led to the on-going construction of a main lodge and more.
Much like Montana’s Wilderness Club, Mystic Creek, tucked into the southwest corner of Arkansas, is one of America’s most worthy one-off golf destinations you might not have heard of. The Ken Dye-designed course is kept in immaculate shape and hosts the Epson Tour every year. The hilly terrain reminds some golfers of a certain perennial major championship host golf course in Georgia.
PGA National Gold Golf Experience
New ownership has poured more than $100 million into updating virtually every square inch of PGA National in West Palm Beach, Fla. – including the golf courses. Perhaps the biggest improvement on this front: The Match, a quirky and addictive course where match-play is the house game. The Staple, a new 9-hole short routing, is a must-play, too.
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Stay & Play Golf Package
Puerto Rico is the only Caribbean getaway where no passport is required for Americans. Rio Mar Country Club is home to two acclaimed courses – the Ocean (designed by George and Tom Fazio) and the River (designed by Greg Norman). The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar resort is coming off of a multi-million-dollar renovation project.
The Dominican Republic is home to some of the Caribbean’s best resort and championship golf. This package lodges guests at the all-inclusive Westin Puntacana Resort & Club and includes golf at La Cana, Corales Golf Club (home of the PGA Tour’s Corales Puntacana Championship) and the spectacular, Jack Nicklaus-designed Punta Espada Golf Club.
Finca Cortesin Golf Experience
If you caught any of the 2023 Solheim Cup – likely the most thrilling professional golf event of the year – you probably were captivated by the stunning Andalusian scenery and beguiling host course, Finca Cortesin. So why not book a golf vacation to Spain to see it for yourself?
Costa Navarino Golf Experience
GolfPass Managing Editor Jason Scott Deegan was able to experience this 72-hole resort first-hand in 2022 and considers it one of Europe’s greatest golf experiences, from the property’s four hotels to its four golf courses, designed by Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal and Robert Trent Jones II. Greece is not historically a golf-focused country, but the fact that it has one of Europe’s hottest golf resorts is helping to put it on the map.