Could this finally be the year to celebrate travel again?
A lot of us thought that in 2021 as well, and we know how that turned out. Progress was made to open up some international travel for vaccinated travelers toward the end of last year, but if things keep trending positively for the pandemic to become an endemic this year, everybody could - and should - be on the road for a great golf vacation sometime in the next nine months. That's a good thing, because there are some exciting developments happening in the world of golf travel. Haven't we waited long enough?
In what's become an annual tradition, we're ready to reveal our picks for the 10 best golf destinations to visit in 2022. We've determined the list based on new or renovated courses and big events bringing buzz to the destination. Considering that many international borders are now open, it could be the year to splurge on a dream adventure. We've included packages that might interest you where they apply. Let's go play.
St. Andrews and East Lothian, Scotland
It's always a good time to visit East Lothian and St. Andrews, which are separated by the Firth of Forth in Scotland. This summer will be especially epic. There will be five pro tournaments held between the two regions, which are less than 90 minutes apart: the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, July 7-10; followed by the 150th Open to be held on the Old Course at St. Andrews, July 14-17; the Hero Open of the DP World Tour at Fairmont St. Andrews, July 28-31; the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield, Aug. 4-7; and the Alfred Dunhill Links on the Old Course, Carnoustie's Championship Links and Kingsbarns Golf Links, Sept. 29-Oct. 2. If you haven't secured tee times yet, good luck. The bucket-list links are likely sold out already, but don't fret, there are plenty of lesser-known clubs that are equally enjoyable ... Crail Golfing Society, Dunbar, Longniddry, Craigielaw and more.
It's hard to pinpoint where you should go in Wisconsin because there are so many great things happening across the state's golf scene. Whistling Straits is fresh off hosting the resounding American victory at the 2021 Ryder Cup and boasts a new short course, The Baths of Blackwolf Run. SentryWorld is reopening its course in Stevens Point after two-year renovation and pandemic closure to prepare for the 2023 U.S. Senior Open. The debut of a new boutique inn gives golfers somewhere to stay. Sand Valley's new (but private) Lido course in Nekoosa could offer some preview play by this summer. Not to be outdone, Erin Hills will host the U.S. Mid-Amateur in September, keeping its ties to the USGA strong. Near Lake Geneva, the Abbey Springs Golf Club in Fontana is reopening after a bunker and greens renovation. Two courses nearby - Grand Geneva Resort & Spa's Highlands (no. 49) and Geneva National Resort and Club's Gary Player Course (no. 26) - made the Golfers' Choice 2022: Top 50, as did The Club at Lac La Belle (no. 6) and Glacier Wood (no. 22) in Iola. In Madison, golf fans always look forward to the American Family Insurance Championship, a PGA Tour Champions event at University Ridge in Verona in June hosted by local legend Steve Stricker. Also, the nearby 13-hole Pioneer Pointe opened in 2021 and the nine-hole, city-park Glenway Municipal Golf Course is being renovated thanks to the support of Michael Keiser Jr. (son of Bandon Dunes and Sand Valley developer Mike Keiser). There are so many positive golf vibes emanating from the Badger State.
Greater Zion, UtahCopper Rock will blow golfers away in Hurricane, UtahThe long-range views of Copper Rock are beautiful. This vantage point looks back at the 14th hole from the 15th tee. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfPassAt 305 yards, Copper Rock's drivable par 4 third hole is full of pitfalls, notably the berms covered with fescue. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorBeware the bunkering on the par-5 fifth hole at Copper Rock. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorA pond lurks up the left side on the sixth hole at Copper Rock. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorNos. 9 and 18 - par 4s separated by a pond - share a double green at Copper Rock. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorThe par-5 12th at Copper Rock plays uphill with a stream feature running along the left side of the fairway before crossing near the tee. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorThe par-4 13th hole at Copper Rock rips downhill with a great backdrop. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorA gaping front bunker guards the 13th green at Copper Rock. It's the longest par 4 on property at 487 yards. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorThe par-4 14th is one of the tougher holes at Copper Rock. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorA lone bunk protects the hour-glass-shaped 16th green at Copper Rock. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorCopper Rock's 17th hole is a drop-shot par 3 of 146 yards. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
A new 19-hole course at the new Black Desert Resort, a David McLay Kidd renovation and a new tournament - the Epson Tour's Copper Rock Championship April 21-23 - highlight the already many reasons to visit Greater Zion. I have taken separate golf and family trips to the region in the past three years, and come away impressed every time. Between the hiking at the Zion National Park and an incredible golf experience at Sand Hollow Resort in Hurricane, it's time that southwest Utah got more recognition. The modern designs of Copper Rock, which opened in 2020, and Black Desert by Tom Weiskopf in Ivins, fit in nicely with Sand Hollow's stunning 27-hole course and The Ledges in St. George. Kidd's overhaul of the private Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club (which is accessible with a stay at the Inn at Entrada) could be completed by April.
Now that Ireland has finally opened up its pubs, golf courses and borders with its "green light" campaign, it's time to enjoy the craic (an Irish word that translates to "fun") at two new links courses from two of the hottest designers on the planet that opened last summer. Tom Doak's St. Patrick's Links (No. 55) has already jumped into the Golf Magazine's Top 100 Courses in the World for 2021-22. Gil Hanse tidied up the routing of Narin & Portnoo, which has been mostly undiscovered by Americans. Ireland's northwest isn't as well known as the Royals of Portrush and County Down in Northern Ireland or the Lahinch-Ballybunion-Waterville trio in the southwest, but that's probably a good thing, considering those destinations will likely be very busy this year. Rosapenna's Sandy Hills Links by Pat Ruddy and the Old Tom Morris Links, Enniscrone, County Sligo, Donegal, Portsalon, Carne Golf Links and the 36 holes at Ballyliffin are just as engaging without the fanfare.Golf PackagesLetterkenny, County DonegalFROM $377 (USD)
All of Canada
Considering it reopened so late in the summer season (Aug. 9) in 2021, the Canadian border technically hasn't let unvaccinated U.S. traveling golfers cross since 2019. What a travesty. Now's the time to reward our neighbors to the north with your presence and a few Benjamins. There are so many proper golf destinations that nine different ones made our list of the World Top 100 Golf Destinations. At the top of the list has to be Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia. The Cabot property has built additional lodging and a short course since we last set foot on property. We're itching to get back, too. Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies are just as scenic as Cabot with mountains replacing the Atlantic Ocean for eye candy. British Columbia features rugged outposts made for golf in Kamloops, Vancouver Island and Whistler. Tim Hortons, here we come!
Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Lake Tahoe was slightly overrun with Bay Area tourists during the pandemic, causing locals to fret over trash and traffic, but with the world opening up its international borders to entice Silicon Valley's tech money elsewhere, hopefully the peaceful lake life returns in earnest. Lake Tahoe is so large that it is almost two golf destinations in one - the northern shore of Truckee and Incline Village compared to the casinos and Heavenly ski village of South Lake Tahoe. Both are teaming up to host back-to-back big golf events this year - the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship July 6-10 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course (no. 32 in the Golfers' Choice 2022: Top 50) in Stateline, Nev., and the PGA Tour's Barracuda Championship July 14-17 on Old Greenwood at the Tahoe Mountain Club in Truckee. While the Incline Village's Championship Course ranked 17th in the Golfers' Choice 2022: Top 50, don't miss out on its Mountain Course. The nine-holer's a hoot to play.
Costa Navarino, Greece
Greece? For golf? This year marks a milestone for the country's golf scene. Costa Navarino is blossoming into the fastest-growing golf resort in the world. In February, it debuted two new courses, bringing the resort's total to 72 holes, many with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Two new hotels are on the immediate horizon as well. The W Costa Navarino will be the resort's third Marriott-branded property when it opens this summer. The 246-room hotel, which also includes villas with private pools, will complement the existing Westin Resort Costa Navarino and The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort. A fourth option, the Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino, a beachfront luxury resort, is scheduled to open in 2023, featuring 99 guest rooms, including 48 earth-sheltered pool villas, all with outdoor terraces and sea views, along with five restaurants and bars. Opa!
For a tourist town more renowned for amusement parks than golf courses, Orlando sure fared well in the Golfers' Choice 2022: Top 50. What that means is golfers are getting their money's worth, and the courses are getting good reviews at GolfPass in return. Three local courses were honored - Juliette Falls (8), the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes (9) and the Palmer Course at Reunion Resort (21). The Ritz is basking in the growing popularity of the father-and-son PNC Championship where Tiger and Charlie Woods have stolen the show the past two years. Watching the Arnold Palmer Invitational on NBC should serve as a reminder to stay and play at Bay Hill Club & Lodge if you haven't yet. The Epson Tour's Inova Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship is also held at another interesting area course, El Campeon at Mission Inn Resort & Club north of the city in remote but beautiful Howey-In-The-Hills.
Greater Boston, Mass.
The "Boston Tee Party" visits Beantown with June's 2022 U.S. Open returning to The Country Club in Brookline, site of that infamous 1999 Ryder Cup. While regular golfers won't be able to sniff a tee time there before or after the event, they can still enjoy the nearby George Wright Golf Course, a top-tier muni in Hyde Park. Ringing the city are other good places to play like Red Tail in Devens and the 27-hole Granite Links in Quincy, two of the better daily fees in New England. At the gateway to Cape Cod, Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth features two outstanding tracks. Its Jones Course finished 20th in the Golfers' Choice 2022: Top 50. Fall is a perfect time to visit with the changing leaves, a Patriots game and the haunting attractions of Salem in full swing.
California's Coachella Valley
Professional golf has seen better days in California's Coachella Valley. Phil Mickelson was just removed as the host of the PGA Tour's American Express held at PGA West's Stadium Course in January and this is the final year of the old ANA Inspiration, an LPGA Tour major held every year at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage since 1972. The newly named Chevron Championship, which will be contested later this month, will move to the Houston area in 2023. Thankfully, traveling golfers will only be minimally impacted by these moves. There's still plenty of sunshine and resort golf courses to attract them from September through April. The Firecliff Course at Desert Willow (no. 24 in the Golfers' Choice 2022: Top 50) and the Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort (no. 27) lead a strong and deep roster of places to play.
How can Ireland be left off the list? Very American centric. Do not find this list credible.
Ireland is very clearly on the list at #4. The courses they mention at the end of the write-up are all fantastic.
Leaving out Bandon Dunes means that you haven't done your homework.
PIA to get to unless you live out west. Lose 2 travel days