Editors' picks: Best golf vacations
As serious golfers who have made the pilgrimage to St. Andrews Links know, your knees will knock upon first sight of the Old Course. St. Andrews also has the gorgeous Kingsbarns Golf Links. More awe-inspiring sights are only an hour away in Edinburgh, including the intriguing, medieval Edinburgh Castle.
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Legacy Golf Resort, Phantom Horse, Wildfire and Club West are all great picks at the golf mecca they call Valley of the Sun. With over 100 courses to choose from, you'll be sure to find a favorite. Getting to know the area's history will enhance your appreciation the courses' sweeping desert vistas. Pueblo Grande is the unforgettable site of an ancient Native American village. The Heard Museum offers the foremost collection of Southwestern Native American art and cultural exhibits and also schedules many weekend dance performances and concerts.
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Ireland's southwest coast is home to some of the world's top golf courses: the legendary Ballybunion Golf Club, the Tralee Golf Club and Waterville Golf Club, just to name a few. After golfing, take a drive along the famous Ring of Kerry and settle in for the night at a cozy inn in Killarney or Kenmare.
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Enjoy views of the Spring Mountains and the Las Vegas skyline from the undulating greens at the Siena Golf Club. Or indulge in a South Pacific-themed outing at the Bali Hai Golf Club. In Mesquite, Nevada, you'll find spectacular desert landscapes and howlingly tricky sandstone bunkers at Wolf Creek at Paradise Canyon, the Oasis Golf Club and the Palms Golf Club. All three courses are well worth the 90-minute drive northeast from Las Vegas.
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Though only 12 miles long, this sophisticated southern island has 22 golf courses. Top-rated Harbour Town Golf Links is only 45 minutes from breathtaking Savannah, Georgia. Palmetto Dunes Plantation and Old South Golf Links are also good bets. For a break from the fairway, visit the wilds at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.
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Southampton offers a central island base for those headed to the greens or to Bermuda's pink sand beaches. The Port Royal Club is one of the highest-rated public courses in the Caribbean. The 18-hole course at the lovely Southampton Princess Golf Club offers more of a challenge than most resort courses. If you're a member, or you know someone who is, world-class Riddell's Bay in nearby Warwick is worth a visit.
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Who knew a Midwest golf club could make you feel like you're playing in the British Isles? The American Club resort, just outside Sheboygan in Kohler, has four courses. Two of them, Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run, are arguably the finest championship-caliber courses in the Midwest. This first-class resort on Lake Michigan is a short distance north of Milwaukee and only two and a half hours from Chicago.
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A golfer's paradise near the southern tip of Baja California, this region hosts a dizzying array of courses and luxury resorts, including the championship-caliber Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, Palmilla Resort and Golf Club and Cabo Real. But don't forget that Los Cabos is also the marlin-fishing capital of the world. Serene San Jose del Cabo makes a great sportfishing homebase. You want the nightlife? Check out Cabo San Lucas, the charming, rowdy town at the far end of Los Cabos.
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Home of the Broadmoor Golf Club, Colorado Springs is the place to golf if you want to add power to your swing. The high altitude adds 10% to the distance a ball travels. Also, be sure to see The Garden of the Gods while you're in town. No, it isn't a golf course, although it may sound like it. It's a park at the base of Pikes Peak known for its towering sandstone rock formations that seem to defy gravity.
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You're surrounded by rugged peaks and wildlife at this remote golfing locale in the Canadian Rockies. Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course has a wildlife corridor built right down its forested center. After a round of golf and eagle-spotting, you'll appreciate the alpine allure of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Also, non,golfing adventures await you in the surrounding Jasper National Park. To explore more of Alberta, drive to Banff (home of the Banff Springs Golf Course) and Lake Louise via the scenic Icefields Parkway.
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