Golf Course Bucket Lists You Should Consider
If you’re an avid golfer, you have a bucket list of to-die-for golf courses.
These are courses calling you after hearing reading about or seeing on TV.
Here are some courses you should take aim at.
St. Andrews is the granddaddy of all bucket list courses. It is golf. It is history. Plus it is nothing like today’s modern golf courses. The Open has been there 29 times. And it became a golf course in the 15th Century. You can play it. (Our Jetsetter buddy Rick Meadows did pictured here.) The only caveat is that men need a handicap under 24 and women under 36 by showing your registered handicap card.
Royal County Down in Northern Ireland is one of the most naturally beautiful links with mountains and ocean views. Each hole gives you a different vista. It has been around since the late 19th Century. All you have to do is call and make a tee time.
Royal Dornoch in Scotland has been around since 1616 and was redesigned by Old Tom Morris and Donald Ross. Many say its views are more spectacular than Pebble Beach.
Ballybunion The Old Course in Ireland has hosted the Irish Open. It is on sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic.
Pebble Beach is one of the iconic courses in the United States. It is home to a regular PGA event while hosting the US Open five times. A number of holes run along the Pacific Ocean giving you some of the greatest views. Greens fees are expensive, but you can call up and get a tee time. You may want to try a golf tour company that might have some deals while getting you on some of the other great courses nearby.
Stadium Course TPC Sawgrass is in the Jacksonville, Florida area. It is home to the PGA’s Player’s Championship every year. It also has the famous par-3 17th hole that is an island par-3. The course is open to the public but again it can be expensive. You should try a golf package company to get you some deals along with other nearby courses.
Torrey Pines in the San Diego, California area hosts a PGA event each year. It is a true public golf course, not a resort. It has views of the Pacific Ocean from some rocky cliffs. The tough winds require a deft game.
Bethpage Black, on Long Island, New York, is another public course, not a resort, that you can get on. It has hosted a number of major tournaments and soon a Ryder Cup. Still, it is actually less expensive compared to other bucket list courses. You can call and make a tee time. But you can also enjoy the Odyssey of camping out the night before sleeping in your car to wake up and get one of the first tee times. This is obviously during the summer months due to the northern climate. https://www.golfdigest.com/story/heres-how-you-can-play-bethpage-black-and-no-its-not-difficult
Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina has hosted US Opens. It has been revamped to its early 20th Century condition that has more waste bunkers to save water. But the greens on this course remain the same. Someone called them a burial ground for elephants as the humped-back putting surfaces make 3-putting the norm. Pinehurst is an iconic resort with 10 golf courses, so you can book your stay and tee times. Just know that everyone wants to play Pinehurst No. 2. So plan ahead. Here’s how we did it. https://youtu.be/vAg8_A6dxts
Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Oregon is a rugged beautiful course overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Better be in shape for this one. It is a walking course with caddies and plenty of elevations. It is out in the middle of nowhere but the resort has other courses and some fine food and drink.
Kapalua’s Plantation Course on Maui might be the best Hawaii has to offer. Yes the views are better in person compared to TV. Because so many of us watch the PGA event in January, we have a warming yearning to be there. But this course is tough and fun with tons of elevation. Plus being on Maui isn’t tough to take either.
Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club on New Zealand is considered one of the greatest links courses in the Southern Hemisphere. It has played host to the New Zealand Open 12 times. https://www.paraparaumubeachgolfclub.co.nz/discover
Jack’s Point Golf also on New Zealand is an exclusive private course that allows outside play but you need some great connections that we can provide. https://www.jackspoint.com/#welcome
These are just a few. There are plenty more. In fact, give us yours.
So how do you get on some of them? Well, some are fairly easy.
Others are not.
For instance, you want to play Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia. Unfortunately, that is a private club. So if you find yourself swinging the sticks on Amen Corner then that means you have a good friend who is a member there.
That’s not the case for all of them.
Granted, it takes some effort, but completing your golf bucket dream is not impossible.
Here are some tips:
Contact an established tour operator. We have one for you; write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will get topnotch service with someone who will make sure every detail is done.
Plan ahead. Fulfilling a bucket list item is not done on a whim. If you are doing it on your own, call the courses directly. Start reaching out sooner; at least a year ahead.
Be flexible. Sometimes the courses are only open at certain times or they might have a backlog of tee times. Take a few days before and after the round to really let the course sink in.
Figure out who you want to go with you. Take the spouse or a prized friend who will enjoy the experience like you will. Nothing worse than dragging someone along who thinks like Mark Twain that golf is nothing more than a walk spoiled. Also make sure your companion knows how to shoot photos and video of you. Remember, this could be part of your history.
Prepare a budget. These places tend to be expensive. That’s why they’re bucket list items.
Get in shape. Many of these courses are physical challenges with high elevations, strong winds, and long fairways. The last thing you want on your bucket list adventure is to poop out and not enjoy the experience.