For as much as we have enjoyed the concept of a workation or the idea of sneaking away to a local resort for a safe, distanced staycation, a lot of the buzz around travel for the rest of 2021 involves wellness. Resorts all over the world are welcoming guests back with unique and creative packages and experiences that focus primarily on improving ourselves both physically and mentally. That’s great news for any of us who packed on a few (dozen) extra pounds or lost some (or a lot) of sleep stressing over a variety of things.
And while there will be plenty of boot camps and water sports to enjoy, one thing that we’re especially eager to catch up on is golf. It’s been far too long since we packed our clubs up or rented a set and played a round or two at one of our favorite resorts, so it’s time to change that.
These are five resorts and golf courses that are at the top of our list to play this year.
Great Waters—Reynolds Lake Oconee
Okay, if we’re being honest, Reynolds Lake Oconee could be its own list because of its five awesome golf courses (six if you count The Creek Club, but that one is members only). But given the chance to play just one of them, I’m always going to start with the Golden Bear’s master work (my apologies to Rees Jones, Bob Cupp, and Tom Fazio). Great Waters was not only conceived by Jack Nicklaus to be one of the most breathtaking courses in the South, making it a must-play for golfers of any level, but it also recently underwent an 18-month redesign, so it’s back and better than ever.
Couple that with a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee and this enters the dream getaway conversation. In addition to the beautiful courses, this property offers a variety of activities that range from exciting to relaxing, as the afternoon can be spent with a world-class spa pampering and the evening can wind down with a bourbon tasting and fireside gathering.
As with almost any Ritz property, kids are also treated like legends here, and there’s even a “Study Buddy” program to keep young ones entertained and educated throughout their summer break.
TPC Danzante Bay—Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa
If someone on the west coast asked us to recommend a great place for a quick golf retreat, this might be the top pick. But the west coasters don’t get to have all the fun this time. Not when Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa offers all-inclusive bliss for everyone in beautiful Loreto, Mexico. If you want great beaches, seemingly limitless water sports and adventure, and the chance to explore the amazing surroundings, including Bahía de Loreto National Park, this is the place to do it.
Of course, if you’re visiting this destination, you might as well bring your clubs and enjoy the Unlimited Golf Package, because this Rees Jones course is mind-blowing. Even if your handicap is higher than your age, the views alone will give your scramble buddies back at your home course Instagram envy for months.
Quivira Golf Club—Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf and Spa Resort
They say the couple that golfs together stays together forever. Okay, no one actually says that, but any adults looking for a weekend with no kids, no worries, and a ton of golf will be in tropical heaven at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf and Spa Resort, where they’ll find private beach bliss. Stylish and romantic venues, like the Constellation and Aire Terraces, also make this Mexican resort a fantastic choice for a destination wedding, but it’s an all-around excellent spot for romance and fun.
And then there’s the golf course—wow. Another spectacular Golden Bear design, it is already regarded by many experts to be one of the best in the world, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Between the dunes and the cliffs, not to mention the incredible views of the ocean, each hole is surrounded by natural beauty. But the way it begins near the beach and keeps moving players upward, it’s as if Quivira Golf Club was conceived to be a tour of this region’s most amazing attributes.
Harbour Town Golf Links—Sea Pines Resort
If you watched Webb Simpson shoot a tournament record -22 at the RBC Heritage in 2020, you might be under the impression that this is an easy course. But the likely reason that guys like Simpson and defending champion Stewart Cink (-19) do so well at Harbour Town Golf Links is because the pros have a blast when they play it. For example, in a 2012 Golf Digest survey of PGA players, it was second only to Augusta National, with one pro calling it “the best course we play.” Obviously, a lot can change in that time, but it only gets better here, as new grass for the greens and fairways has kept it beautiful and exciting for golfers of all ages.
Hilton Head is already a very popular destination for families, but Sea Pines Resort is a club’s length in front of the pack when it comes to golf getaways. The Villa Golf Package, for example, puts an emphasis on privacy for a long weekend vacation, giving adults and kids a place to do the things they love most—hit the beach, enjoy water sports, charter a fishing boat—or hit the links as a group, because someone has to make sure dad is honest with the scorecard.
Hawk’s Landing Golf Club—Orlando World Center Marriott
There’s a lot of golf to be played in Florida, and that’s clearly an understatement. From Miami to the Panhandle, golfers of all experience levels will find a wide variety of courses to choose from, offering everything from value to professional-level challenges. What we love about the Orlando World Center Marriott is that, in addition to golf, it offers a ton of amenities and activities—including a truly awesome waterslide—that make it perfect for quick family trips. Oh, and there might be some theme parks nearby.
Golfers will find the Robert Cupp, Jr. design to be challenging but fun—the kind of course that feels like a leisurely stroll and won’t get your blood boiling when you’ve lost your 13th ball of the round. And for adult golfers traveling with children who are interested in learning to play, the on-site Orlando Golf Academy is a phenomenal way to help them start.