Call them the best of the best, the elite, or the Green Berets of U. S. golf cities.
The ten cities on this list all have one thing common. They occur on more top-ten golf destination lists than all other cities in the U. S. How do I know this? By way of research . . . lots of tedious, time-consuming but totally thorough research.
Building the Ultimate List
I began the process by gathering all the lists of popular U. S. golf destinations I could find. This journey led me from About.com to Golf Digest, from travel websites to sports websites and everything in between. I read lists by golfers, journalists, travelers and even historians.
The Envelope Please
When the dust settled, I had 15 lists of popular golf destinations in the country. Then I began cross-referencing to determine which cities occurred on the most lists. So here you have the best of the best . . . the elite . . . the ten most popular golf cities in the United States.
(I've listed these cities alphabetically, because anything else would have required way too much math. )
1. Hilton Head, South Carolina
The readers of Golf Digest put South Carolina's Hilton Head Island at number 10 on a list of the world's best resorts. Do I really need to say any more than that? Okay, here's more. You can choose from more than 20 golf courses that wind around marshes, lakes and lagoons. For more information, visit www.GolfIsland.com.
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
Say “Las Vegas" to most people, and gambling usually comes to mind. But Las Vegas is also a premier golf destination with more than two-dozen courses. Popular choices include Reflection Bay, Royal Links and The Canyons. Just be mindful of the time of year - if you travel there in the summer, you can expect temperatures over 100. For more information, visit www.LasVegasGolf.com.
3. Maui, Hawaii
Aside from the lush beauty one normally associates with Maui, the Hawaiian island also offers the state's only 54-hole courses, Wailea and Kapalua. According to VisitMaui.com, there's plenty of availability to go around: “Although Maui hosts several well-known professional tournaments tee times are rarely hard to come by. " Learn more at www.VisitMaui.com.
4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
I went on family trips to Myrtle Beach each year for over a decade. I recall how eager my siblings and I would be to play a round of Jungle Golf, miniature golf with all the animal props you could shake a club at. But Myrtle Beach has plenty of golf for “big kids, " too. Popular courses include The Legends, Grand Dunes, Wild Wing and Tidewater. Learn at www.MyrtleBeachGolf.com.
5. Orlando, Florida
Orlando conjures images of Disney World, Universal Studios and similar attractions. But it also attracts plenty of golfers to its more than 20 courses. Popular stops include Orange County National, Bay Hill and Disney. Where else can you golf with Mickey Mouse? Learn more at www.GolfOrlando.com.
6. Palm Springs, California
If you like the idea of golfing on lush green courses with plenty of palm trees and a backdrop of rugged mountains, Palm Springs is the place for you. Within the Coachella Valley, there are more than 100 courses. According to GolfDigest.com, “PGA West, La Quinta and Mission Hills North are the three big resorts in town. " Learn more at www.PalmSprings.com/golf.
7. Phoenix / Scottsdale, Arizona
I'm aware that Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona are two different cities. But they're so close to one another – and they appeared together on so many lists – that I felt they deserved to share a spot in my top ten. The desert landscape alone is worth a trip. Add to that the abundance of world-class golf courses, and you have a desert paradise for any avid golfer. Learn more at www.AZgolf.org.
8. Pinehurst, North Carolina
Yes, we're back in the Carolinas again. I'm not biased or anything – the Carolinas just come up on a lot of lists. Pinehurst is both a resort and a village. The website PinehurstGolf.com explains: “Pinehurst, the resort, is a wonderful collection of historic hotels and eight world-class golf courses that is widely considered one of the top golf destinations in the world. Pinehurst, the Village, is a quaint New England style town…" Learn more at www.PinehurstGolf.com.
9. San Diego, California
I lived in San Diego for three years, so I can vouch that the city is worth a visit. Whether you go for the golf, the sightseeing or a combination of the two, San Diego won't disappoint. San Diego County has excellent weather year-round, allowing for plenty of golf days on any of the county's 80+ golf courses. Torrey Pines and La Costa are popular stops. Learn more at www.SanDiegoGolf.com.
10. Williamsburg, Virginia
If you're a history buff as well as a golfer, put Williamsburg, Virginia on this year's trip roster. Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum that lets you step back in time to the days of the Revolutionary War. And when you're ready to step onto the green, you'll find more than a dozen top-rated courses to accommodate you. Stonehouse, Royal New Kent and Kingsmill are popular stops. Learn more at www.GolfWilliamsburg.com.
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About the Author
B. R. Cornett writes on behalf of ProQuip, a provider of golf rain apparel and the preferred supplier of the 2006 European Ryder Cup Team. Learn more about their golf weatherwear at http://www.proquipusa.net