The List: Five great fall getaways

Don't put away your clubs just because summer's gone.
No. 11 at Sugarloaf drops more than 120 feet to a green on the opposite side of the Carrabassett River.

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.

  1. Coastal Northern California
    Pasatiempo Golf Club ends with a scenic par 3 over a barranca.

    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.

  2. Pinehurst, North Carolina
    Mid Pines is another must-play Donald Ross design near Pinehurst.

    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.

  3. New England
    The mountains and forests of Stowe are particularly delightful in fall foliage season

    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.

  4. Northern Michigan

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    Round 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.

  5. Alabama
    FarmLinks GC: #5

    Notice I didn't write the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Sure, the trail is the dominant force in the state, but there are other great public courses to see.

    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.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Coming from the north and driving thru West Virginia mountains in the fall thru Mt.Airy and on down to Hilton Head is the most beautiful drive one can experience anticipating the arrival of all South Carolina has to offer. Sure there are some that may be a better drive but boy this drive is hard to beat. Mother nature has done a beautiful job to help you relax and enjoy the ride.

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The List: Five great fall getaways