Want to beat the heat? Escape to these 10 cool summer golf destinations in North America

This time of year Northern golfers finally get the last laugh on their Southern counterparts.

Getting scorched in Scottsdale? Feeling sticky in Myrtle Beach? How's life in Hotlanta? Is the steamy Sunshine State treating you well?

Summertime is when the Northern half of the country shines. The climate is usually oh so comfortable in June, July and August that these months are the reason Northerners put up with their winter weather. Life is grand.

If you're looking for an escape from the swelter, here are 10 'cool' golf destinations to love in summer.

Northern Michigan

Average monthly high temperature in Petoskey: June, 70; July, 75; August, 74

The lowdown: Michigan's mitten is where it's at in summertime, specifically the pinky and ring finger. They hug Lake Michigan, featuring beach towns like Traverse City, Petoskey and Harbor Springs that are stocked with golf resorts, tourist traps, breweries and more. There are really too many strong golf resorts to list -- Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa, Shanty Creek Resorts, Boyne USA Resorts, Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club and The Homestead. Gaylord sits farther inland, but the glacier-cut hills carved up dramatic settings at Treetops Resort and the Otsego Club & Resort, which is making a comeback under new owners. Forest Dunes Golf Club, already home to a fantastic Tom Weiskopf course, opened Tom Doak's reversible course in 2016. Golfers visiting northern Michigan can tee off comfortably at 7 a.m. and walk off past 10 p.m. with daylight still lingering.

Pacific Northwest

Average monthly high temperature in Seattle/Bandon: June, 69/65; July, 72/67; August, 73/68

The lowdown: The convergence of the air off the Pacific Ocean colliding with the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges keeps Seattle's climate mild. The glaring spotlight of the controversial 2015 U.S. Open should keep Chambers Bay near Tacoma top of mind for years to come. I've yet to find a better municipal course in the country than the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club on the nearby Kitsap Peninsula. Salish Cliffs Golf Club in Shelton isn't far away, either. Earlier in 2017, I got my first taste of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, but I've yet to head inland to golf in Bend, specifically to play Tetherow Golf Club, Pronghorn Golf Club and Crosswater. Bend will be much warmer than Bandon, though, averaging 81 degrees in August compared to 68 degrees for Bandon.

Canadian Rockies, Alberta

Average monthly high temperature in Banff: June, 69; July, 75; August, 75

The lowdown: The weather can be unpredictable in the awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies. During my visit in July 2009, it snowed heavily during the journey on the Icefields Parkway between the Fairmont Banff Springs and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. By the next day, I was enjoying the refreshing mountain air, sightings of elk and bear and wilderness golf as good as it gets. The scenery from the Silvertip Golf Resort and Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club is just as good. Whistler, located a couple hours north of Vancouver, and Mont-Tremblant, an hour north of Montreal, are two other great Canadian mountain golf getaways I adore.

Colorado

Average monthly high temperature in Vail: June, 70; July, 76; August, 74

The lowdown: Sensing a theme? Heading to the mountains is a sure-fire recipe to find summer bliss. Not many people know that the two excellent courses at Red Sky Golf Club inspired my wife and me to give our daughter the middle name Skye. That trip, we spent three days at both Beaver Creek Resort in Avon and the Keystone Resort 45 miles closer to Denver. Each has the perfect mix of restaurants, spas and golf.

Brainerd, Minnesota

Average monthly high temperature in Brainerd: June, 76; July, 80; August, 79

The lowdown: I discovered Brainerd long before most golfers did. My aunt and uncle, who live in the Twin Cities (where I was born), have owned a cabin for years just down the road from the Grand View Lodge Golf Resort and Spa on Gull Lake. Another aunt and uncle, and four cousins, grew up in Brainerd. The Classic at Madden's and Deacon's Lodge Golf Course by Arnold Palmer stand up to any of the Midwest's best golf experiences. There are plenty of four-star courses nearby at Breezy Point Resort, Cragun's Resort and Grand View Lodge to fill out a week's worth of rounds. The summer temperatures are just cool enough for golf and still hot enough to enjoy boating, swimming and fishing on the many lakes in the region.

Muskoka Lakes region, Canada

Average monthly high temperature: June, 75; July, 77; August, 77

The lowdown: Muskoka is Toronto's version of Brainerd, except its wooded backdrops are more rugged. The exposed granite of the Canadian Shield ups the difficulty factor for golf. The Highlands Course at Deerhurst Resort was the first destination course in "cottage country" two hours north of Toronto and continues to be a must play. Taboo and the Muskoka Bay Club were designed to be even more beautiful. The one drawback is the narrow, winding roads around the lakes, which make it tough getting from course to course.

Maine

Average monthly high in Bar Harbor: June, 74; July, 79; August, 78

The lowdown: Maine only offers a couple months of peak golf season. Boy is it glorious. There's no splashy four-course golf resort to hang your hat, so be ready to drive and explore the rugged mountainous interior of the state and its coast. I bumped into Rudy Giuliani at the Samoset Resort at the height of his popularity after Sept. 11. The crowd was so large that I didn't get the chance to ask if he's ever played the resort's scenic course. Sugarloaf Golf Club, ranked no. 1 in the state 29 times by Golf Digest, ate me up the only time I played it, so I'm ready for a rematch. It's located in ski country in the Carrabassett Valley. The highly regarded Belgrade Lakes Golf Club and Sunday River Golf Club have always been on my bucket list. I'll get there someday.

A tale of three Canadian islands

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A Trio of spectacular courses on Canada's Cape Breton Island

Average monthly high in Victoria, Vancouver Island/Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island/Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia: June, 66/63/64; July, 69/69/70; August, 69/71/69

The lowdown: Vancouver Island and Prince Edward Island couldn't be more opposite. It must be an east coast/west coast thing. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, gives Vancouver Island a vibrant harbor, cultural epicenter and big-city feel. PEI counters with a laid-back vibe like you've taken a time machine back to the 1960s. Vancouver Island's golf scene is probably stronger at the top with the two Jack Nicklaus courses at The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa and Olympic View Golf Club. PEI has The Links at Crowbush Cove along the Atlantic and the red-sand bunkers of Dundarave, but its strength lies in the depth of its offerings from Mill River Golf Course in the west to Andersons Creek Golf Club in the north. Cape Breton is Canada's hottest new golf destination, anchored by Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links, with an old-school splash of Stanley Thompson's Cape Breton Highlands Golf Course.

Monterey Peninsula, California

Average monthly high temperature: June, 65; July, 66; August, 68

The lowdown: While the rest of California worries about wildfires and oven-like temperatures, the microclimate of the Monterey Peninsula stays mild. Its highest monthly averages actually occur in September and October. While staying at Pebble Beach Resorts is a must in every golfer's lifetime, there are ways to save money on a visit. Tee times at Pacific Grove Golf Links and the Bayonet and Black Horse Courses buy views of Monterey Bay at a discount. The renovation of Poppy Hills Golf Course has rejuvenated that interesting Robert Trent Jones Jr. design. Dr. Alister MacKenzie's Pasatiempo Golf Club in nearby Santa Cruz has recovered nicely from the 2016 drought.

Wisconsin

Average monthly high in Sheboygan near Kohler/Nekoosa: June, 76/78; July, 81/83; August, 80'80

The lowdown: Kohler, a small village an hour north of Milwaukee, is the Midwest's Monterey Peninsula, just as the emerging Sand Valley Golf Resort in Nekoosa is its Bandon Dunes. The American Club, the Midwest's answer to Pebble Beach Resorts, remains the only five-star golf resort in the region, thanks to its award-winning Kohler Waters Spa, four top-100 public courses at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run, and superb dining scene. If the epic Straits Cousre at Whistling Straits, host of the 2015 PGA Championship and 2020 Ryder Cup, isn't enough to draw you in, how about a side trip to Erin Hills Golf Course? The host of the 2017 U.S. Open is less than two hours away. Golfers can easily add rounds at The Bog Golf Course by Arnold Palmer in Saukville or at the Bull at Pinehurst Farms by Jack Nicklaus in Sheboygan Falls during their stay. Sand Valley has opened three courses in less than a year's time. It's original Sand Valley course by Coore/Crenshaw introduced the world to this sandy outpost in central Wisconsin. The 2018 grand opening of Mammoth Dunes by David McLay Kidd and the addition of the Sandbox, a 17-hole par-3 course, have ramped up the hype.

• Editor's Note: All average temperatures were taken from usclimatedata.com (America) and worldweatheronline.com (Canada).

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.
11 Comments
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Commented on

There are 4-lane paved highways and 2-lane paved roads with absolutely no issues for travelling to and from the 3 Muskoka courses named above. Muskoka Bay and Taboo are very close to each other in Gravenhurst, Ontario and Deerhurst Highlands is about a 30-minute drive north in the town of Huntsville, Ontario. There are no roads around the Lake to be considered when going from one course to another.

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Obviously someone is getting paid for their recommendations. To add Whistler as a footnote to the "Canadian Rockies: Alberta" is comedic. Or to single out Bear Mountain and Olympic View on Vancouver Island funny as well. There are so many excellent courses in the Vancouver and Vancouver Island region that it does a disservice not to speak to them more thoroughly. But when you get paid to play the courses, I guess you can't help the biases creeping in.

Staff
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You're simply wrong in accusing people of being paid to mention courses. Not the case. I simply didn't have the opportunity to mention every course that deserves to be named. I agree Whistler is amazing. There's no bias here.

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Mt Tremblant is not in the Rockies

Staff
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Please read more closely. It is mentioned as "another great mountain destination".

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When an American writes the article you have to excuse a lack of knowledge of Canadian geography.

Staff
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There was no error. It is mentioned as "another great mountain destination". I'm well aware that Tremblant isn't associated with the Canadian Rockies.

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Jason, you missed another excellent option in Michigan, the vaunted Upper Peninsula that is home to three of the top 10 courses in the state. Greywalls in Marquette by Mike DeVries, TimberStone in Iron Mountain by Jerry Matthews (twice a Golf Digest 5-star course), Sweetgrass near Escanaba by Paul Albanese, who assisted at TimberStone, and the recently debuted Sage Run, part of the Sweetgrass and Island Resort & Casino complex, also by Albanese. The temperature in summer seldom goes above 80, there is little if any humidity, cooling winds persist of lakes Superior and Michigan, the cost is much lower than other destinations, access and tee times are supreme because of the northern location that has a sparse population. Another excellent course is in Brimley, Wild Bluff Golf Course, where Michelle Wie played in the Canadian Open men's pro tour at age 13 built by Mike Husby. Check out the Upper Peninsula, above the Mackinac Bridge, for some really great hidden gems.

Staff
Commented on

The UP is a great spot! Agreed! But the competition to be included in the story was fierce. There was simply no way to include all these great summer destinations.

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Western North Carolina ... nearby cure for your triple digit woes

Staff
Commented on

Great suggestion. I just don't have enough experience in the region to know where to play.

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Want to beat the heat? Escape to these 10 cool summer golf destinations in North America