Top 5 Courses For A Girl’s Weekend
Picture yourself on the perfect golf course: a weekend getaway comprised of master shots that land your ball on the fairway set in a beautiful location. Superb golf destinations complete with five-star resort amenities, spas, restaurants, and luxe accommodations make for the perfect escape for a girls golf weekend.
Sea Island, Georgia
Not only does Sea Island have three of the nation’s top golf courses, it also boasts four of the top 20 golf instructors in the U.S., including PGA/LPGA-certified instructor Gale Peterson, who offers more than 30 years of golf-education experience working with beginners to tour players. Want to perfect your pitch shot? Peterson’s your gal — a warm and encouraging personality to help bring ladies up to par. Whichever course at Sea Island players choose to spend the day on, Peterson makes perfecting the game fun and engaging and says, “Similar to wine tastings, Sea Island gives you golf tastings — there’s something here for everyone.”
Three courses appeal to beginners to the intermediate, with different tee boxes for different skill levels. The par-72 Plantation Course means shots onto the green aren’t high, lofted shots; it’s a great course for new players. The par-70 Seaside Course offers only one forced carry to get over the water on the signature hole 13 on the back nine; a fairway with bunkers down the right side with a marsh on the left side makes for a memorable and picturesque experience. The par-72 Retreat Course, designed by Davis Love III and brother Mark Love, has wider fairways with larger greens that equal putting more often.
Off the green, Sea Island Resort offers high-end golf equipment, so players don’t have to bring their own; luxury accommodations; and the Cloister Spa and Fitness Center, with 65,000 square feet of pure luxury. Don’t miss the popular post-golf spot, the Oak Room, for happy hour or the Georgian Room for fine dining. Or sit seaside overlooking the dunes at the Atlantic.
Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii
The location that kicks off the PGA TOUR each year with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions is Kapalua Golf in Maui, Hawaii. The Bay Course sends golfers through towering palms and flowering hibiscus along Maui’s picturesque coast and has spectacular views of Oneloa Bay, especially at the fourth and fifth tees. (Warning: The fifth hole carry can be tricky.) The par-72 Bay Course is a standard regulation course, with the front nine featuring the Bay Express, a 1,400-yard layout perfect for beginners.
More experienced ladies can tee off at the challenging Plantation Course. A par-75 for ladies, this course up in the mountains, complete with panoramic views at every hole, highlights neighboring Hawaiian isles. An added plus to Plantation: There’s not one water hazard on the entire course, and there’s plenty of room to play the ball on the ground. No forced carry here!
Head over to Merriman’s Restaurant at the Kapalua Resort, a great space with a fire pit for wine and appetizers while overlooking the sea and picture-perfect sunsets. The Pineapple Grill, which is actually in the clubhouse at the Bay Course, is a more casual option and always offers award-winning food.
The Boulders Resort features the Golden Door Spa near Phoenix, Arizona, and has two 18-hole championship golf courses considered to be among the most challenging in the Southwest. Sitting adjacent to ancient boulders in the Painted Desert, the par-72 North Course and the par-71 South Course are known for their rugged beauty and breathtaking desert panoramas. Designed by Jay Morrish, they boast a few of the industry’s highest accolades, including Golf Magazine’s Platinum Medal award, Golf Digest’s Top 25 U.S. Resorts, and Links’ Top Five Best of the West.
LPGA member Jean Ashley Crawford hosts the “Fore Ladies” golf program, designed just for women, which kicks off with margaritas and chips before moving players onto the course. The course’s signature hole — the No. 5 hole on the South Course — is carved from the desert and flanked by a dramatic rock outcropping that shelters the green. The par-5 hole is challenging, as the fairway narrows towards the green. There is no margin for error — any slice, hook, or overshot will land in the desert rough.
Stop at Bogeys, both sports bar and restaurant, for casual fare for breakfast and lunch on site. Just a few miles away, hit the Zagat-rated Cafe Bink for their famed pulled-to-order mozzarella appetizer. Or have a girls’ afternoon tea at the English Rose Tea Room.
Half Moon Bay, California
Just 20 miles from San Francisco International Airport are The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, and Half Moon Bay Golf Links, both set along dramatic cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The golf resort boasts 36 holes of championship golf offering a variety of play on two award-winning courses. Play Arnold Palmer’s par-72, parkland-style Old Course or the Arthur Hills-designed, Scottish-styled, par-72 Ocean Course, with its famous par-4 18th hole along the sea with tee-to-green views. The first hole on the Ocean Course, a par-4 at 405 yards, gives players immediate choices on how to corner bunkers. The Ocean Course’s 17th signature hole is a shorter par-3 that hangs on the bluff of the Pacific; depending on conditions, players may actually have to aim the ball out over the ocean and allow the wind to snap it back to the green. The final 18th hole is a par-5 with 532 yards — it offers a wide fairway to wrap up a most perfect golf day.
Hang at Mullins Bar & Grill or grab seats around the Ritz’s patio fire pits and cheer on golfers winding up the Old Course’s 18th hole. Visit the city of San Francisco, just 40 minutes away, for shopping, restaurants, museums, and tourist attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Warf. Head back for a posh afternoon tea at the Ritz Half Moon Bay.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Customized women’s golf programs can be found at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The popular Golf Women’s Weekend in March includes instruction and wine tasting, with the whole weekend revolving around women and golf. Golfing Girls Boot Camp gives three hours in the morning of instruction, then LPGA/PGA-certified golf instructor Abby Welch takes guests out for an afternoon on the course. For ladies who want to spa one day, golf one day, kayak one day, etc., the Take It to the Course option offers 45 minutes on the driving range for improved technique, then 45 minutes on the course to hone what’s been learned.
The par-72 Osprey Point Course was rated by Golf Digest as one of their Top 50 Courses for Women. Fairways are wide open. There are a couple of challenges to keep things interesting, such as the No. 11 hole’s driving challenge, which means players have to hit balls over the water 80 yards. The No. 12 hole is a par-5 — chances are that a good drive will give players a chance at making a birdie. Lakes, trees, and wildlife abound at the scenic 18th hole, the signature hole.
Head to the Ocean Course and the Rider Cup Bar for fresh-squeezed juices while overlooking the ocean just 20 yards away. Take endless beach walks, hit the Sanctuary Spa for a post-golf treatment, and rent a bike for sunset rides around the island.