Luxe Links: Top Courses Well Worth Adding to Your Scorecard

Hole 9

If you’re an avid golfer, you would no doubt prefer to spend your time conquering a great course over looking for one, so we’ve done your work for you. Here are six prime picks for your next golf outing. You’ll find that they deliver the challenges you crave and the level of luxury you demand, all while offering plenty of mesmerizing views. Just don’t let them distract you from your “A” game.

Quivira Golf Club
Quivira Los Cabos
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

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The drama of this Jack Nicklaus Signature course starts with its location at the tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. This makes it possible for all 18 holes to offer views of the Pacific, which is more than any other course in Los Cabos. As Nicklaus himself so aptly said of the course’s rare setting, “Our team worked with the canvas Mother Nature provided to create one of the most spectacular courses in the world.” If you’re a golfer who likes a variety of terrain, you’ll find that this par 72, which offers a choice of five tee placements, really delivers. It starts at sea level, scales 275-foot ocean cliffs, crosses canyons and arroyos, and winds through dunes and desert terrain before finishing up at the beach. To gear up for this challenge, you can head to the oceanfront, double-ended driving range or the short game practice area. Then, after playing a round, you can celebrate your successes (or relive your challenges) at the 19th hole in the club’s thatched-roof, beachfront clubhouse.

Quivira Golf Club is part of Quivira Los Cabos, an exclusive, 1,850-acre, master-planned community offering more than three miles of pristine beaches and panoramic ocean views. LINKS Magazine listed it among golf course communities “Best for Living Abroad” and World Property Journal named Copala at Quivira one of the top five “Great Golf Resort Communities of 2015.”

Monarch Beach Golf Links
St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point, California

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One look at Monarch Beach Golf Links’ picturesque setting (combined with the fact that it was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.), and it’s easy to see why the course has hosted nationally-televised golf events and top golfers such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Julie Inkster, Dottie Pepper, and more. What you’ll discover when you first arrive at this magnificent, 18-hole, 6,344-yard, par-70 course are sweeping ocean views and challenges that await you on the tight fairways and small, undulating greens. No wonder Golf Digest has named it one of the “Best Places to Play.” And the area’s mild climate makes it a favorite choice for golfers year round.

Naturally, you’ll also need a place to stay, and the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort provides the ultimate beach getaway — it’s California’s only Mobil Five Star and AAA Five Diamond award recipient. Set on a cliff top overlooking the Pacific, the spacious resort spans 172 acres and has recently undergone a major renovation. The newly-restyled guest rooms have been redone in a refreshing coastal palette of blues, greens, and whites, perfect for a relaxing beach retreat.

One of the hallmarks of the St. Regis guest experience is its legendary butler service that is available to guests staying in any of the resort’s 75 suites. A St. Regis Butler will unpack and pack your luggage, press garments, provide in-room French press coffee or exotic tea service, and take care of any other requests you may have, right down to shopping for a special gift to bring back to a loved one.

Butler service is also included in the resort’s “Fit Fore VIPs” golf package, which promises to provide golfers with the experience of a lifetime. It includes private limousine service; a personal club fitting at the world headquarters of Titleist, TaylorMade, or Callaway; and unlimited daily golf with the services of one of the resort’s Waterman personal forecaddies.

As you would expect from a resort of this caliber, the dining opportunities at the St. Regis Monarch Beach are as varied as they are extraordinary. This year, the resort opened four new dining venues: a lobby lounge called 33° North, the Part & Parcel Market, a grab-and-go coffee shop, the oceanfront Aveo Table + Bar (which specializes in healthy Mediterranean cuisine), and the poolside cantina, Sombra. And with the resort’s attentive 24-hour room service, a multi-course dinner can be delivered in perfectly-timed stages.

But the pièce de résistance of the dining experience at the St. Regis Monarch Beach is a trip to Chef Michael Mina’s highly-acclaimed Stonehill Tavern. This Forbes Four-Star restaurant specializes in modern American cuisine based on fresh, local ingredients. The chef offers a full menu (his signature dish is lobster pot pie) as well as a seasonal prix fixe menu. Stonehill Tavern is a winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for 2015, and offers wine lovers an extensive a choice of more than 900 bottles.

TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, Arizona

TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course Shoot-11/2014 Tom Weiskoph Architect

If you’ve ever watched the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open on TV, or, even better, attended the massive tournament in person, you already know how spectacular the Stadium Course at the TPC Scottsdale is. If not, picture a meticulously-manicured course set in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert with the stunning backdrop of the McDowell Mountains. Designed specifically for tournament play by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, the Stadium Course boasts undulating fairways and unforgiving bunkers and is available for play during the 51 weeks of the year that 500,000 fans aren’t gathering to witness “The Greatest Show on Grass.” And thanks to the TPC’s partnership with the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, luxury accommodations are available just steps away from the fairway.

Port Royal Golf Club
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

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Set in the popular Lowcountry resort area of Hilton Head Island on the Atlantic Coast, Port Royal Golf Club is home to three 18-hole courses designed by George W. Cobb, Willard C. Byrd, and Pete Dye. The par-72 Barony Course was one of the first courses on the island. The greens are generous to golfers, but the bunkers are not, so accuracy is essential. Robber’s Row has the distinction of sitting atop former Civil War grounds, and historical markers are placed throughout this par 72 course. Its greens are well protected. And the words “tough love” have been used to describe the challenge of playing the par-72 Planter’s Row course, because it has water on 10 of its 18 holes and small, undulating greens.

Copperhead Course
Innisbrook Resort
Tampa, Florida

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The newly-refurbished Copperhead Course at Tampa’s Innisbrook Resort recently hosted the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship Presented by BB&T where former Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel took the top prize. Enhancements to the course included regrassing of all fairways and roughs, the rebuilding of each green, and the reshaping of the bunkers to stay true to the masterful design of the course’s legendary architect Larry Packard. Fifteen new forward tees were also added to enhance the experience for players of all skill levels, but the length of the course for tour professionals remains at a challenging 7,340 yards. An additional tier was added to the driving range and a new practice green was also added, which may very well be necessary to prepare for an experience the golf resort describes as “the Copperhead Bites Back.”

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort
Carlsbad, California

Aviara Golf Club Photography - Brian Oar - Fairways+Greens

One of the most prestigious golf courses in San Diego, the Arnold Palmer-designed,180-acre course at Aviara is a breathtaking sight to behold. Palmer designed the course to embrace the natural beauty while surrounding the holes with gorgeous trees, flowers, and plants. He also designed it to challenge and entice. With its rolling hills and undulating greens, the course at Aviara (home to the LPGA Kia Classic), is an exhilarating challenge for golfers of any skill level. Equally exciting is the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond Park Hyatt Aviara Resort that houses the course. Set atop a ridge overlooking the Pacific — with its lovely pools, world-class restaurants (like Vivace and Argyle Steakhouse), first-rate spa and tennis facility — the resort is one of the finest we’ve seen in all of California.

 Sunriver Resort
Sunriver, Oregon

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Sunriver Resort is proud to be home to some of the nation’s most award-winning golf courses. As the largest golf resort in Central Oregon, and the only resort with four distinct courses providing 63 holes of championship golf on bent grass greens, Sunriver Resort has been the host site for numerous USGA, PGA Tour, PGA of America, AJGA, and NCAA tournaments, and will be hosting the 2017 PGA Professional National Championship. With aesthetic grace, the courses feature holes bordering the meandering Sun River, and the dramatic use of directional and fore bunkers. Offering lessons from experts, a Golf Academy for all skill levels, and free golf for kids when playing the courses with their parents, Crosswater, Meadows, Woodlands and Caldera Links each provide ample challenges for golfers of all skill levels.

About The Author

Karen Brost is a Scottsdale, Arizona-based writer who has been covering travel, lifestyle and business topics for over 15 years. A former Midwesterner, she traded her snow shovel for sun screen and never looked back. Like most writers, she has an inquisitive mind and her work has taken her on such diverse adventures as hiking to an active volcano in Hawaii, exploring the wonders of Petra in Jordan, hot air ballooning over the Rio Grande, sailing on an America's Cup yacht and donning a chef's coat to flip eggs in the kitchen of a five-diamond resort. Karen is always on the lookout for interesting story ideas and one of the things she enjoys most as a writer is interviewing people who are passionate about what they do. Among her assignments as a contributing writer for Jetset Magazine, Karen covers luxury travel destinations and develops profiles of top level executives. For editorial consideration please contact editor@jetsetmag(dot)com.

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