You can feed your craving for golf by hitting balls off your boat’s foredeck and into the ocean with no pin in sight. Or, you can plan a birdies-and-bogies dream cruise to some of the world’s top golf courses — many of which just so happen to be located on luxury resort properties with superb marinas and amenities. Doesn’t sound like a tough choice. Fore!
1.Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo, Fla.
This private club’s golf traditions date back more than a half-century to 1955, when its first nine-hole course opened. Today, it boasts two 18-hole championship courses designed by Robert von Hagge and Bruce Devlin — the Hammock Course and the Dolphin Course — both featuring distinct challenges along with beautiful seaside vistas. Ocean Reef Club also offers an inn and vacation rentals, a salon and spa, more than a dozen restaurants, a 175-slip marina and a private airport for the enjoyment of members and guests alike.
2.Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, La Romana, Dominican Republic
With not one but three championship courses designed by World Golf Hall of Famer Pete Dye, this is one of the Caribbean’s premier golf destinations. Teeth of the Dog is carved from the coral shores of the Dominican coastline; Dye Fore has spectacular views of the mountains, marina and river; and The Links winds through the interior of the resort property, with rolling hills and water hazards. Casa de Campo also offers tennis courts, polo facilities, a selection of dining options and a private white-sand beach. Those arriving by boat can tie up at the resort’s Marina Casa de Campo with 370 slips, accommodating vessels up to 250 feet in length.
3.Sea Pines Resort & Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the RBC Heritage, South Carolina’s only PGA Tour event, held at the Sea Pines Resort’s famed Harbour Town Golf Links. Two other courses here are the acclaimed Heron Point by Pete Dye and the all-new Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III. Nearby Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort offers three courses all its own, each one distinctively different and uniquely appealing, including the Robert Trent Jones, ranked the third-best course in the state.
4.The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, Sanibel Island, Fla.
This 18-hole championship course designed by 10-time Tour winner Mark McCumber is the only PGA-rated selection on the island. It unfolds within a stunning wildlife preserve sanctioned by the Audubon Society and features lush tropical links surrounded by water at nearly every turn. Drop a stroke or two with expert input from the on-site golf school. After your round, unwind with a drink and dining at the newly remodeled clubhouse restaurant — look close and you might just see the green flash at sunset from the patio.
5.Whistling Straits Golf Course, Kohler, Wis.
Whistling Straits features two courses of world-class pedigree, both designed by the legendary Pete Dye. Open, rugged and windswept terrain characterizes the Straits, situated along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Just inland and scattered by four meandering streams, the Irish has a deceivingly tranquil landscape of grassland and dunes, but is no less challenging. After your round, enjoy the rustic Irish farmhouse setting of the Clubhouse at Whistling Straits, complete with a refined restaurant, pub and selection of fine Scotch.
6.Port Royal Golf Course, Southampton, Bermuda
Robert Trent Jones laid out this course on the high ground overlooking the Atlantic in 1970. The 16th hole is considered one of the premier par 3s in golf, offering a clear shot across the ocean to the green, which is perched on a coastal peninsula. The course was renovated in 2009, with original design team member Robert Rulewich spearheading the $14.5 million effort ahead of that year’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf. A driving range with ocean views complete with a restaurant and lounge round out the amenities here.
7.Torrey Pines Golf Course, San Diego, Calif.
Well known as the host of the PGA Tour’s annual Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines is actually comprised of two 18-hole courses — Torrey Pines North and Torrey Pines South. The two courses top the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and were designed by William Bell Sr. Both were also named after the Torrey pine, a rare tree that grows in the wild only along this local stretch of the coastline. Players can expect rugged beauty, deep ravines and classic championship golf holes, located about 20 miles from downtown San Diego.
8.Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, Williamsburg, Va.
Forty-five walkable holes on three courses await golfers at this remote and peaceful property hewn from mature forest. The Gold Course reopened last summer following a complete renovation of all greens, fairways, roughs and bunkers. The Green Course is the longest of the three, while the Spotswood Course has been called the “best short nine-hole course in the country” by Golf Magazine. The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club was designed by father-son duo Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Rees Jones and offers to on-site restaurants.
9.Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
Since 1919, the incredible beauty and inspiring challenge of Pebble Beach Golf Links have thrilled golfers and spectators alike. Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the course hugs the wave-swept coastline, providing wide-open vistas, cliffside fairways and sloping greens. The first 10 holes head out, and the final eight come back along the ocean, with No. 18 considered perhaps the greatest finishing hole in all of golf. Amazingly, the course has hosted a PGA Tour event every year since 1947.
10.Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, Harwich, Mass.
Club members and guests don’t play right at Wequassett but rather at neighboring Cape Cod National Golf Club. Designed by Brian Silva and opened in 1998, the breezy and well-groomed course here takes advantage of the area’s unique topography and natural beauty: its rolling hills and hollows, its kettle ponds and bogs, and it stunning views of Nantucket Sound. Wequassett Resort itself features 120 guest rooms and suites, four on-site restaurants, two pools, two beaches, boating and water sports and four clay tennis courts.