Fall is officially upon us.
In the Midwest and Northeast, that means a mad dash to get as many rounds of golf in as possible before the season ends. To inspire you to keep playing until that last leaf falls, The List offers up these five destinations for a fall golf getaway.
Don't consider these selections the end-all, be-all for great fall golf trips. For example, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Minnesota (from Brainerd to the Iron Range) are definitely worth considering. Just pack up the clubs and go.
Coastal Northern California
I've lived in the Bay Area five years, and seen it all, from the second-wettest rainy season in NoCal history to the catastrophic wildfire seasons the past two falls. But for the coastal destinations that attract golfers - San Francisco, Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz and the Monterey Peninsula - the weather doesn't get any more reliable. It's my favorite time of year. You do get some color on the trees, and the summer heat has cooled to more comfortable sunny days in the 70s and even 80s. Unlike Scottsdale, Palm Springs or other warm-weather regions that are preparing for the arrival of winter snowbirds, there are no overseeding schedules to work around. The courses, like the weather, are prime.
Where are you teeing it up this fall? Let us know in the comments below.
Pinehurst, North Carolina
With the summer heat simmering down, the Sandhills are an ideal place to spend a spectacular fall day. Golf Advisor Managing Editor Brandon Tucker dove deep into data supplied by our reviews to find out when is the best time to visit.
There's so much new in Pinehurst - The Cradle, the Brewery, No. 4 by Gil Hanse - that it's worth making a return trip if you haven't been in a while. Of course, there's a strong supporting cast if you need to add a little more value to your itinerary - Talamore, Mid Pines, Pine Needles and on down the line.
None of the six states that compromise New England - Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut - are really golf destinations for the average Joe traveling golfer. Most of the best courses are private, and there's too few Top 100 caliber selections to attract a mainstream audience to fly in.
But that changes in fall when the peak color season kicks in. This is as must-play a region as Pebble Beach and Pinehurst (sorry to play spoiler). Places like Sugarloaf in Maine - home of the String of Pearls - and the mountain courses of Stowe, Vt., will blow you away. I was just in the Adirondacks of upstate New York (adjacent to Vermont) and the colors in Lake Placid last week were already exploding with reds, oranges and yellows. It was a sight to behold while playing Whiteface Club & Resort and the Lake Placid Club's old-school Mountain and Links courses.
If you're looking for more courses that showcase great color, check out the photo gallery below.Fall: Mother Nature's last hurrah before golf season fadesDesigned by Stanley Thompson, Whirlpool Golf Course sits beside the Niagara Falls parkway and opened in 1951. Courtesy of Niagara ParksGrand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort is one of the accommodation options at Crystal Springs Resort in New Jersey. Courtesy of Crystal Springs ResortIt doesn't get much more spectacular than the Omni Mount Washington Resort with New Hamphire's White Mountains in the backdrop during the fall. Courtesy of Omni Mount WashingtonThe fall colors are wonderful at Treetops Resort in Michigan's Gaylord Golf Mecca, including the Jones Masterpiece course. Courtesy of Gaylord Golf MeccaThe Devils Knob Course at Wintergreen Resort, Virginia's highest golf course, boasts unsurpassed views and spectacular terrain -- especially in fall. Courtesy of Wintergreen ResortSet within Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Highlands Links on Cape Breton features stunning mountain scenery and a classic Stanley Thompson course design. Andrew Penner/Golf AdvisorJack Nicklaus' Top of the Rock Golf Course in Hollister, Mo. sits high above Table Rock Lake. Courtesy of Branson TourismThe Full Cry golf course at Keswick Hall, a Pete Dye design near Charlottesville, Va., comes to life in the fall. Brandon Tucker/Golf AdvisorThe 72-hole Garland Lodge & Golf Resort sits in a remote part of northern Michigan that is full of fall color. Courtesy of Garland Lodge & Golf ResortFall colors help the 16th hole on the Gary Player Course at Geneva National in Wisconsin look even more scenic. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorThe elevated first tee on the Lee Trevino Course at Geneva National Golf Club in Wisconsin reveals a par 4 cut through the woods. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf AdvisorWhiteface Club & Resort is located in the spectacular Lake Placid, New York region. Courtesy of the New York Golf TrailCrumpin-Fox Golf Course in Massachusetts features a quiet, wooded setting and a Roger Rulewich-Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design. Courtesy of Crumpin-FoxVermont's Stowe Mountain Club doubles as a ski resort in the winter. Courtesy of Stowe MountainSunday River Golf Club in Maine showcases some of the best fall foliage in the Northeast. Jeff White/WorldGolfThe Classic at Madden's in Brainerd, Minnesota shows off its fall colors. Courtesy of Madden'sAsheville, North Carolina -- home to the Omni Grove Park Inn -- lights up with colorful leaves in the fall. Courtesy of Omni Grove Park InnMany courses on Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail -- pictured is the Short course at Grand National -- will feature vibrant fall colors. Courtesy of Mike KlemmerThe fall colors on the Mystic Rock golf course at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania will impress. Courtesy of Nemacolin Woodlands ResortThe changing of the leaves lights up courses in the Branson/Ozark Mountains area of southwest Missouri, like LedgeStone C.C. in Branson West, Mo. Courtesy of LedgeStone Country ClubMuskoka Bay Club features a bold Doug Carrick design that parades through a beautiful pine and rock-peppered forest a couple of hours north of Toronto. Andrew Penner/Golf AdvisorIn the Quad Cities, TPC Deere Run shows off great fall colors. Courtesy of TPC NetworkPrimland Resort, hidden in the Blue Ridge Mountains in southern Virginia, can be a great spot for viewing autumn's changing of the leaves. Courtesy of PrimlandThe Wilderness at Fortune Bay, located in remote northern Minnesota, features spectacular natural scenery, especially in fall. Courtesy of Wilderness at Fortune BayThe Lakes Golf Club is an up-and-down mountainside course near Sydney, Nova Scotia. Andrew Penner/Golf AdvisorGolfers at French Lick Resort in Indiana can take on Pete Dye, Donald Ross and Tom Bendelow amid the colorful foliage each fall. Courtesy of French Lick ResortThe Stonehaven Course at The Resort at Glade Spring in West Virginia burns bright with colors in fall. Courtesy of The Resort at Glade Spring
Northern MichiganRound Trip feature: Visit Northern Michigan's Boyne Highlands Golf Resort
If you are lucky enough to catch an Indian summer in northern Michigan, there is no better place to be in fall.
All of the resorts you've heard of - Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, Bay Harbor, Forest Dunes, Treetops, Grand Traverse, Arcadia Bluffs, etc. - will be splashed in color and likely be in good shape, too.
The lakeside towns will be less crowded with children back to school, so getting a parking spot downtown or that great table with the prime view at a restaurant won't be so difficult. Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Traverse City - there are so many places to explore.The Unlimited Golf Getaway package is perfect for the serious golfer that wants to pack in the rounds! Courses included in the package are The Moor and Donald Ross Memorial at Boyne Highlands, The Alpine and The Monument at Boyne Mountain, and Crooked Tree Golf Club.
The reason Alabama made this list is twofold: The weather and changing of the leaves can be spectacular (as long as any hurricanes don't mess things up), but most important, this is the epicenter of college football.
Even if you aren't into chanting "War Eagle!" or "Roll Tide!", any sports fan would love to soak in an SEC game day at Auburn or Alabama. It just so happens that the RTJ Trail has two great stops near both campuses: Ross Bridge in Hoover and Grand National in Opelika/Auburn.