The U.S. South's Most Inspirational Golf Courses

A golf trip south is one of those things every golfer experiences at least once in a lifetime. Your golf game can do nothing but improve when you are surrounded by fair weather, impeccably designed courses and pitchers of sweet tea. Here’s where to start your golf travel off right: 

Kiawah Island Golf Resort [Charelston, South Carolina]

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Kiawah Island Golf Resort, S.C. | The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is routinely ranked as one of the top public golf courses in the nation. Ten holes are located right along the Atlantic Ocean and the whole area has been raised to allow golfers unparalleled views of the water. However, with the views comes a challenge. Players sometimes experience an 8-club difference between holes due to the wind coming in off the sea. 

Reynolds Plantation, Ga. | With six courses, 117 holes and the legendary architects Jack Nickluas, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Bob Cupp and Jim Engh as principle designers, Reynolds Plantation offers some of Georgia’s best and most varied golfing opportunities. Award-winning Great Waters is a favorite course played right against the shores of Lake Oconee. 

The Bluffs, La. | Just 30 minutes from Baton Rouge, you’ll find the Bluffs and golfers who are negotiating the rolling grounds of one of Louisiana’s finest public courses. Shaded from the heat by lush hardwoods, this Arnold Palmer-designed course takes you through dense forest and into hollows as deep as 50 feet.  

Sea Pines Golf Club at sunrise [Hilton Head Island, South Carolina]

Sea Pines, S.C. | At Sea Pines, you can vacation with the smell of saltwater in the air and the promise of some of South Carolina’s most exciting golf ahead of you. Each year, Sea Pines holds a PGA Tour event on its award-winning Harbour Town Golf Links. You’ll be able to follow in the footsteps of the greats as you play that course, or opt to challenge yourself with the Ocean Course where the gorgeous views may district you from your game entirely.

Fallen Oak at Beau Rivage, Miss. | Tom Fazio designed the 18-hole course at Fallen Oak which is regularly designated as one of Mississippi’s top courses. You’ll play surrounded by 100-year-old oak trees as well as pecan and magnolia groves, but don’t let all the beauty go to your head. Treacherous marches and bunkers demand that you be on the top of your game.  

Path to Clubhouse, Pinehurst Golf Resort [North Carolina]

Pinehurst, N.C. | As America’s largest golf resort, there should be a course that tickles your fancy at Pinehurst. Nine distinct courses offer visitors a huge range of golfing challenges. Bend your mind around a Jack Nicklaus signature course, or experience the resort’s historic course that golfing pioneers built in 1896. 

Omni Homestead, Va. | With the stunning Allegheny Mountains as its backdrop, the Cascade course offers one of Virginia’s most interesting and challenging golf games. Golf architect legend William S. Flynn designed this public course and the Cascades is routinely named as Virginia’s top course. You’ll need to be good on a variety of terrain to master playing here. Rolling hills and tricky bunkers offer the ultimate challenge.   

Pine Needles, N.C. | Long-leaf pine trees shade players as they make their way through the resort’s recently restored Donald Ross championship course. Using vintage aerial photography, golf architects re-built the course as it was originally designed in the 1950s. You can be sure that you are playing the game as Donald Ross intended it. 

Sea Island Golf Course [Georgia]

Sea Island, Ga. | Sea Island has been one of Georgia’s premier golf destinations for several generations and is frequently listed as one of America’s top ten golf courses. You can wind your way through marsh and forest on the Plantation Course, or discover the Seaside Course –home to the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic. Alternatively, challenge yourself on the Retreat Course, which was designed by Davis Love III and Mark Love. 

The Green Brier, W.Va. | The Green Brier is home to Oakhurst Links – the oldest course designed and built in America. At Oakhurst, you play golf the old-fashioned way with hickory clubs and tees made from sand and water. If you’d rather play a modern game of golf, The Green Brier has three public courses and one private course designed to inspire and challenge golfers of all abilities. 

17th Hole, TPC Sawgrass Golf Course [Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida]

TPC Sawgrass, Fla. | TPC Sawgrass calls itself one of the world’s most recognizable golf courses. Home to the PGA Tour headquarters and the birthplace of the Tournament Players Club Network, many highly publicized games of golf have been played on its pristine links. Despite its reputation for championship golf, you can still play at TPC Sawgrass, but expect a challenge like no other.  

FarmLinks Golf Club, Ala. | Located on scenic Pursell Farms, FarmLinks Golf Club is Alabama’s top all-access course. The carefully crafted course meanders through farm fields and forest for a scenic and enjoyable experience. You’ll be playing dramatic elevation changes as you wander over the pristine Pursell family farmland. Get ready for a course that rewards golfers with good shot making. If you need to make a last minute golfing trip, it’s usually easy to accommodate you. 

If you golf it’s time to find out Why the West Coast is Better At Golf


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Carmen Fifield

The delight of finding an unknown park, a captivating history museum or a fantastic desert means exploration is never far from Carmen Fifield’s mind. Carmen’s favorite travel memories include biking to historic sites on the island of Guernsey, huffing and puffing up the stairs to the Great Wall of China and eating the most delicious crab cake ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Carmen’s Favorite Travel Tip: Say goodbye to airplane food and tuck some fruit and your favorite sandwich into your carry-on.