The Ultimate Golf Road Trip: Playing courses in all 50 states

Roger Page finished his adventure with a whirlwind trip from Pebble Beach to Alaska to Maui.
Roger Page poses on Kapalua's Plantation Course. Visiting Hawaii completed his quest to playing golf in all 50 states.

The final leg of Roger Page’s quest to play golf in all 50 states was easy compared to his other adventures.

Page, 60, an avid golfer from New Hampshire, visited Pebble Beach, Alaska and Maui in one wild whirlwind of flights, rental cars, courses and resorts. In total, he played more than 130 different courses along the way.

“I haven’t met anybody who doesn’t think it’s the coolest thing ever,” Page said of his 50-state journey. “Now I have to find something new.”

Exploring America

Page’s golf addiction is making up for lost time. He didn’t start playing until his 40s. He decided to pursue playing in all 50 states around his 50th birthday but didn’t get going in earnest until 2016. When asked how he was able to pull off such a feat, he said: “I live in New Hampshire, which has a shortened golf season from May to November. I’m single. I don’t have a lot of expenses. I wanted to do something for myself.”

Page, a 6 handicap who works for a company that sells fire suits, has checked off large chunks of the country in a series of monster trips, using Top 100 lists from various golf magazines as his guides. He used his uncle’s house in Georgia as a home base in 2012 to explore the southeast, driving to courses in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. The grand finale was a pass to a practice round at The Masters. Later that year, a friend invited him on a private jet getaway that included four rounds at Pinehurst Resort and Southern Pines in North Carolina.  

In 2016, he toured the West Coast, teeing it up on 10 courses in California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada. The highlights were one round at Bandon Dunes (Pacific Dunes) and Coeur d'Alene's floating island green in Idaho. All that driving almost got him in trouble in Utah.

“I was tired as hell,” he recalled. “I pulled off the road and was sitting in front of a pond area. I had the car running and fell asleep. I wake up to a ‘tap, tap, tap’. It’s a cop. I told him what I was doing, playing all these courses. He didn’t believe me. I showed him my map, and he said ‘This is really cool. I played golf in high school’. We ended up talking for two hours. I was sure he would give me some kind of ticket, but he didn’t.”

The following year, he conquered nine states in the heartland: North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska. He enjoyed rounds on The Harvester in Iowa and The Prairie Club in Nebraska over Erin Hills, site of the 2017 U.S. Open in Wisconsin, and Bully Pulpit and Hawktree in North Dakota.

2018 seemed to be the year of the bucket list, checking off stalwarts most of us hope to see in a lifetime, let alone a single trip: Whistling Straits, Greenbrier's Old White, Dormie Club, Tobacco Road, Homestead's Cascades Course, French Lick's Pete Dye Course, Arcadia Bluffs, Turning Stone's Atunyote, Nemacolin's Mystic Rock, Sweetens Cove and others. Bang! Another 15 states down over two weeks and 3,000 miles in a car. "I never said I was sane!" Page explained in an email.

After a five-state swing in 2019 to Arizona, Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma, the pandemic derailed all plans in 2020. Luckily for him, Connecticut and Rhode Island were close enough to jump-start the dream again earlier this year.

This last trip out West felt like the coronation of all his hard work. Page treated himself for his final stop in Hawaii. He booked a GolfPass travel package that included multiple rounds at Kapalua, Kaanapali and a couple nights at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui.

“All these other trips were about staying in Motel 6,” he laughed. “To stay at the Ritz in Maui or the Inn at Spanish Bay was quite nice.”
 
In Alaska, he took advantage of the extended daylight by playing three courses in a single day. “It wasn’t somewhere I would go to play golf (again),” he admitted. “They had a rough winter. The courses were in rough shape.”


Comedian and golf lover James Davis is hitting the road, and he’s offering you the chance to ride shotgun. Join James and get to know the cast of characters he encounters as he heads to golf courses in Las Vegas and across Southern California for a travel show like you’ve never seen before. 


Roger Page hits a shot on the Creek Course at Moose Run Golf Course on the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.

Along the way, he’s done some sightseeing and touristy things – panning for gold in Alaska, visiting Old Faithful in Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore in the Dakotas, taking the ferry across Lake Michigan from Michigan to Wisconsin and flying his daughter into Las Vegas for a weekend to celebrate her new nursing degree.

Tips on his epic journey

His advice for anybody hoping to follow in his footsteps? Page believes shipping your golf clubs is so much easier than lugging them around airports. Traveling solo also keeps hassles to a minimum.

The ultimate keys, though, are planning and organization. He keeps a spreadsheet of all his confirmation numbers for tee times, hotels and rental cars on his phone, so he can pull them up in an instant. This schedule helps him remember when he has to be where.

Booking tee times often requires extra effort, too. “Even if you have to call courses outside of their normal booking window, I can’t take a risk (not getting a tee time),” he said. “Most everybody is more than helpful this way once you explain what you’re doing.”

Page might already have found his next golf journey. “I’m thinking about playing all the Donald Ross courses I can,” he said.

GolfPass has already built a Ross course guide and map linked here that might help. It looks like an equally daunting task.

Donald Ross has designed more than 400 courses in the United States and Canada.

What golf travel goal do you want to accomplish in your lifetime? Let us know in the comments below.

49 Min Read
May 3, 2021
Oh, the places you can go in pursuit of all the pleasures golf has to offer.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations 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 @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
2 Comments
Commented on

I have one state left to complete my 'play golf in all 50 states' bucket item that essentially started in 2012 when I retired from full time work.. My wife, who does not play, has accompanied me on a few trips acting as my co-pilot in the cart. In 2018, I added the Old Course in St. Andrews, as well as three other lovely courses in Scotland, as a corollary to the list to celebrate my 70th birthday.

Commented on

I too have done all 50 and it was quite a combination of weather luck and good scheduling. My choice of courses were vastly different though, but like the article, it sure helps having anchor spots and go to surrounding states.Being a teacher, this became our summer vacations of anywhere from 7 -10 days and knockout as many states as we could. It also helped to be in Oklahoma as we are 3 hrs from any coast and could be playing late afternoon upon landing.
The next adventure for us, once this virus let's up and allows us to do so, is to travel the Canadian Provinces and play in each of those.

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The Ultimate Golf Road Trip: Playing courses in all 50 states