So you’ve mastered the greens at all your local courses. Maybe it’s time, then, to take your clubs farther afield. Planning a golfing vacation is a hole-in-one when you work with an AMA Travel consultant, who can advise on everything from links-side accommodations to off-course activities to ensuring your clubs are handled with care. Check out some of our favourite North American golf getaways and start dreaming of tee time!
BANDON DUNES GOLF RESORT, OREGON
This bucket-list destination for western golfers features five courses built on a long stretch of Pacific coast bluffs and sand dunes. The original eponymous layout is a links course in true Scottish tradition; your every shot is influenced by the prevailing winds. Or try the Bandon Trails course, which ventures inland into sprawling meadows and forest. Arrive before your tee time to take advantage of The Punchbowl, a 9,300-square-metre, 18-hole putting course, or the full 20-hectare practice centre. The onsite accommodations range from single-occupancy rooms to four-bedroom cottages for larger golfing groups. A half-dozen eateries, plus massage facilities, picturesque hiking trails and even on-property fishing mean there remains much to do once you’ve put away your clubs.
COYOTE SPRINGS GOLF CLUB, NEVADA
Not far north of Las Vegas, Coyote Springs offers Sin City golfing at rates that are anything but (sinful, that is). Surrounded by dramatic desert peaks, the verdant valley course is considered one of Jack Nicklaus’s best designs and is consistently ranked among the top public courses in the United States. You’ll be challenged early by the lengthy second hole—whose devilishly placed bunkers require careful consideration—and the par-4 sixth, with its deceptively contoured fairway and green.
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FAIRMONT JASPER PARK LODGE GOLF CLUB, ALBERTA
Consistently rated one of Canada’s best golf resorts and best public courses, the club at Jasper Park Lodge is as beguilingly beautiful as its namesake national park. Nearly 100 years old, the course winds through pine forests, past glacier-fed lakes and boasts stunning mountain vistas from practically every tee (you’ll never forget the view from the second and ninth holes). Alberta residents are eligible for discounted green fees, while stay-and-play packages give you ample time not only for golf, but also for relaxing at the award-winning spa, and taking in the natural wonder that is Jasper National Park.
BIGWIN ISLAND GOLF CLUB, ONTARIO
On a 210-hectare private island in Ontario’s cottage country, this course is members-only during the high season, but welcomes public players in May, June, September and October—with sweeping fairways nestled amongst mature hardwood trees and the weathered granite of the Canadian Shield. The signature 18th hole boasts a classic view across the Lake of Bays, and winds up at the elegant clubhouse and Marine Dining Room. The building is a throwback to the island’s 1920s-through-1940s heyday, when it operated as part of a luxury resort and hosted the likes of Clark Gable, Ernest Hemingway and Duke Ellington.
SEDONA GOLF RESORT, ARIZONA
Resting within a vast canyon, the quaint village of Oak Creek, Arizona is home to three golf courses, including the stunning Sedona Golf Resort. The 6,646-yard, par-71 course’s undulating terrain is backdropped by the iconic sandstone formations of Red Rock State Park—the panoramic views from the sixth hole onward are distracting enough the add a few strokes to your round! After hitting the links, grab a bite on the patio at the Juniper Bar & Grille, before retiring to your accommodations just steps away.
THE LEDGES OF ST. GEORGE, UTAH
Like Sedona Golf Resort, The Ledges of St. George is nestled in a canyon, though this course is even more remote—a patch of green bounded by vast hectares of rugged sandstone landscape. Southern Utah’s annual average of 255 sunny days is a definite boon for duffers playing The Ledges’ impressive 7,200-yard championship course, as are the sizeable practice range, classy clubhouse and restaurant. Once you’ve packed up your clubs, drive 45 minutes north to Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, or head to nearby Zion National Park for an unforgettable hike.
ELK RIDGE RESORT, SASKATCHEWAN
At the eastern edge of Prince Albert National Park, this all-season getaway features four-star accommodations (within the classy lodge, plus separate cabins, cottages and townhouses), fine dining, a full-service spa and opportunities for myriad outdoor activities, including mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing and much more. And the golf is great, too, with three championship nine-hole courses—the Birch, Aspen and Tamarack layouts, named for the tree species comprising the area’s dense forests—that are excellent for casual club-swingers and younger learners, but which still challenge low-handicap players. The courses are especially picturesque in autumn, as the surrounding foliage turns from green to vibrant yellow and orange.
TOBIANO GOLF COURSE, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Fresh off celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, this acclaimed Kamloops, B.C. course continues to captivate golfers from across North America. Running alongside Kamloops Lake, the Thomas McBroom design affords panoramic views of the foothills of the Columbia Mountains—and challenges golfers with its links-style progression through rolling scrubland and island-like greens that appear to float above the lake. Away from the fairways, visitors can enjoy Kamloops’ local culture, and head farther into the Okanagan Valley for myriad wine-country distractions.
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OLD WORKS, MONTANA
Another Jack Nicklaus signature design, the Old Works is so named for its location on the site of Anaconda, Montana’s circa-1880s copper smelter, which processed ore from mines in nearby Butte. The course incorporates relics of the era, including remnants of the works’ flue and ovens, while players aim to avoid bunkers filled with black slag, a smelting byproduct. Another worthwhile feature: Even with the exchange rate, a round or two here is still quite affordable for Canadian golfers.
CABOT LINKS RESORT, NOVA SCOTIA
Jet-setting golfers can consider this impressive pair of courses (Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs) an Atlantic Coast complement to Oregon’s Pacific-side Bandon Dunes. The craggy Cape Breton Island layouts honour the traditions of links golf: the undulating fairways are generously proportioned but not always easy to hit, given players’ constant exposure to mercurial coastal winds. Both Links and Cliffs courses are exquisite experiences, though the latter is particularly acclaimed: Golf Digest recently placed it ninth among the world’s 100 greatest golf courses. If you’re playing as much for breathtaking views as you are birdie putts, just wait until you get a look at Cabot Cliffs’ 16th hole, an extraordinary par-3 with a sheer drop to the roiling ocean.
BONUS! REDTAIL LANDING GOLF CLUB, EDMONTON
Enjoy an extra round before or after jetting off to your golf vacation. Directly adjacent to the Edmonton International Airport, Redtail Landing is touted as a “prairie links” course; little more than native grasses and fescue line each challenging hole. If you’re pressed for time, the practice grounds include an ample driving range, putting and chipping greens, and more.
HOW TO SAVE
Driving discount: Rent a vehicle from our exclusive partners—Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental—and save. Members get exclusive discounts, plus savings on GPS rentals and 10% off prepaid fuel options.
Golf more for less: AMA Members save 25% on the Canada Golf Card, which offers discounts (including savings of up to 50% on green fees and two-for-one deals) at more than 600 courses across Alberta, Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.