Golf Getaways

By Ven Griva

January 18, 2008 5 min read


From the sport's birthplace to our legendary links

By Ven Griva

Copley News Service

When it came time to put together a list of golf destinations, criteria for selection had to be developed. History had to be taken into account.

But history is not all that matters when planning a dream golf vacation. There is the beauty of the surroundings and their appeal when you are done shooting your round.

After all, man can't live on golf alone.


Legend has it that six centuries ago the game of golf was invented at St. Andrews. And it is there that every five years (years ending in 5 and 0) that The Open Tournament, or British Open, oldest of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is played.

When Old Tom Morris made "modernizing" adjustments in the late 1800s to the Old Course, no one could have imagined they'd still be challenging today's touring pros.

The course is known for its particular physical features including 112 bunkers and the double greens where the outward and inward holes are cut on the same putting surface. These greens are large, not surprisingly, and golfers can be faced with putts of almost 100 yards.

And if that is not enough to inspire you pack up your clubs for the trip to Scotland, consider the words of these two golf legends.

Said Jack Nicklaus: "I fell in love with it the first day I played it. There's just no other golf course that is even remotely close."

Tiger Woods echoed: "Without a doubt I like it the best of all the Open venues. It's my favorite course in the world."

The Old Course is generally regarded as the sport's Holy Land. In 2005, Golf Digest ranked it as the greatest course in the world. Now who would argue with that?


The PGA kicks off its season each year at the par 73, 7,411-yard Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

Home of the Mercedez-Benz Championship each January, it is a trip to golf paradise. From the views of the Pacific Ocean to the volcanic peak of Haleakala, rising 10,003 feat above sea level, the Plantation course is both beautiful and challenging.

Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, the Plantation Course unfurls across natural geographic formations and pineapple plantation fields that take your breath away.

Native trade-winds can help as well as penalize the player. Witness the PGA Tour's longest hole, the par-5 18th, which plays at 633 yards - but all downhill and downwind making it reachable with two mighty strokes.

You'll want to have your camera with you as you tour this magnificent layout.


Fuel for golfing fantasies for more than 80 years, Spy Glass Hill Golf Course at Pebble Beach in Monterrey County remains America's favorite golf resort and is perennially ranked by Golf Digest as the nation's No. 1 public course.

Each February, the 18-hole, par-72, 6,953-yard course is home to the PGA Tour's most famous celebrity Pro-Am event. It has also been home to the U.S. Open four times since 1972.

From Tom Watson's electrifying chip-in on Sunday at the 17th hole to clinch the '82 U.S. Open to the annual antics of Bill Murray at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Pebble Beach has provided thrills for golf fans for decades.

Featuring nine holes along the rugged Pacific coastline, Pebble Beach's layout also winds alongside massive mansions to form a course that many golfers have memorized before they reach the first tee.


Torrey Pines, long recognized as one of the nation's foremost municipal golf facilities, is truly a golfer's paradise. Bounded by mountains to the north and the Pacific to the west, the seaside courses are often swept by sunshine or by rain, fog and chilling winds.

Each year, Torrey Pines' two 18-hole courses are home to the PGA Buick Invitational. The 18-hole, par-72, 7,607-yard south course will host the 2008 U.S. Open. The North Course is 18 holes, 6,874 yards, with a par of 72.

Located north of San Diego in the upscale community of La Jolla, both golf courses feature holes bordering the ocean and the view on many holes is simply awesome. There are also deep canyons with thick vegetation and wildlife.

The Torrey Pines North course is shorter than Torrey Pines South course, but some say the North is more scenic. The South course is a tough test of golf and requires good length off the tee.

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