At TravelGolf.com, we've rated the PGA Tour's top public layouts — but not by prize money or how nicely the concierges treat the touring pros.
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Rather, we're looking at how pleasurable they are for the traveling golfer.
Now, some golfers want to play the most prestigious course. Others want to enjoy a tournament venue but not have sticker shock. Still others look for a great vacation destination.
Here then is our ranking in each category of the top seven regular PGA Tour stops open to the public. You decide which venue is worth shelling out the dough for.
Stadium Course: The PLAYERS Championship
Prestige: 9 — The best field of the year comes to the Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass in Florida each spring to tee it up for the richest purse in the game. Sounds like a major to us. Oh yeah, and there's this island green everyone can't shut up about ...
Value: 6 — Rack rate is in the $375 range on the Stadium, but a two-round, two-night package starts around $650 and includes the next door Valley Course.
Golf destination: 7 — Aside from the TPC's two standouts, Jacksonville is littered with golf courses along the coastline, from World Golf Village's King & Bear and Slammer & Squire course, to the Ocean Course at Ginn Hammock Beach or Donald Ross' classic Hyde Park Golf Club. For Jacksonville golf info and tee times, call (866) 521-2331.
Total score: 22
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach AT&T National Pro-Am (and U.S. Open host)
Prestige: 10 — Pebble Beach Golf Links is a major championship host and celebrity playground. It also boasts picture perfect coastal California scenery, a slew of the world's most famous holes (like No. 7, No. 8 and No. 18) and a history dating to 1919. Perhaps only the Old Course at St. Andrews and Augusta National can compete.
Value: 2 — Every golfer knows Pebble will max out your plastic: $495 for 18 holes, plus a mandatory stay at the resort, where rooms start at $580 for the Inn at Spanish Bay, or $675 at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. (Non-resort guests can book Pebble a day ahead, though tee times are usually sparse).
Golf destination: 9 — California's Monterrey Peninsula is on most traveling golfers' bucket lists thanks to a wealth of eye candy along the famous 17-mile drive. Spyglass Hill, Spanish Bay and Poppy Hills are a few of the area's gems. Monterey also has top-shelf accommodation options. For Pebble Beach-area golf info and tee times, call (800) 359-7200.
Total score: 22
The South Course at Torrey Pines
Buick Invitational (2008 U.S. Open host)
Prestige: 8 — Interest in this San Diego muni has never been higher after last year's Tiger-Rocco U.S. Open duel. And of course, Woods seldom leaves without hardware during the yearly Buick Invitational.
Value: 6 — Fees on the Torrey Pines' South Course have shot up for visitors in recent years, now $160-$200 for non-residents.
Golf destination: 8 — San Diego's mild, maritime climate is made for golf (as long as you don't mind a little fog), so there are plenty of worthy courses to choose from. Tee it up on two more coastal resort courses designed by Tom Fazio at Pelican Hill Golf Club or the La Costa Resort golf courses. For San Diego-area golf info and tee times, call (866) 351-1688.
Total score: 22
Harbour Town Golf Links
The Verizon Heritage
Prestige: 7 — That candy-striped lighthouse on the oceanfront 18th is as iconic a sight as there is on tour, and Harbour Town Golf Links is a classic Dye/Nicklaus design with tiny greens that only back-to-back champ Boo Weekley seems able to hit.
Value: 5 — Harbour Town is pricier than the other Hilton Head golf courses, but stay-and-play packages for two golfers are available at the Sea Pines Resort for $219-$269 a night.
Golf destination: 8 — Hilton Head Island is one of America's favorite destinations, with a wealth of courses both on and surrounding the island. A few favorites include Heron Point at Sea Pines Resort and the three courses at the Palmetto Dunes Resort. Or head just off the island to two hidden gems at the Daufuskie Island Resort. For Hilton Head Island golf info and tee times, call (866) 592-2054.
Total score: 20
Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club and Lodge
Bay Hill Invitational presented by MasterCard
Prestige: 7 — Thanks much in part to Palmer's involvement, Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla. receives some of the best fields on the PGA Tour leading up to the Masters, and Woods' domination lately has beefed up the tournament's resume.
Value: 6 — Only members and guests of the Lodge can play Bay Hill. Stay-and-play packages with breakfast in the peak season are about $420 and go down to about $250 in the summer.
Golf destination: 7 — It's a worldwide family destination thanks to amusement parks, but there is as much top-notch golf in Orlando as anywhere in the United States. Walt Disney World has four exceptional courses; the new Shingle Creek Golf Club has emerged as one of the area's best plays; and the 45-hole Orange County National has one of the state's most impressive practice facilities. For Orlando golf info and tee times, call (866) 443-8566.
Total score: 20
The TPC Scottsdale
Prestige: 5 — You probably won't have a theater of 50,000 drunks heckling you on the 16th hole when you tee it up at TPC Scottsdale. But anytime you lace 'em up at a TPC venue you'll get the tour treatment — especially in luxurious Scottsdale.
Value: 5 — Value varies greatly depending on the time of year. Peak rates are $272, while $157 in the low shoulder season (May) is a pretty good mix of weather and price.
Golf destination: 9 — Desert golf is done right in the Valley of the Sun, which attracts millions of northerners each year to its scores of golf courses, many of them upscale (especially in Scottsdale). Multi-course facilities such as Troon North's Monument and Pinnacle courses, We-Ko-Pa's 36 holes and Talking Stick are among the heavyweights. For Phoenix-Scottsdale golf info and tee times, call (866) 444-0992.
Total score: 19
Prestige: 8 — A sinister name like the Blue Monster, plus a golf design Tiger Woods applauds, make the Doral Resort a tour mainstay. These days, it hosts the world's best at the yearly World Golf Championships on the PGA Tour's Florida Swing.
Value: 5 — Peak-season green fees on the Blue Monster run $325, while summer rates drop as low as $160. Stay-and-play packages at the resort range from $169-$399 based on double occupancy.
Golf destination: 5 — Doral is the main draw in swanky and sunny Miami, home to four 18-hole courses other than the Blue Monster. Around Miami, however, there isn't much exceptional golf to choose from when compared to other Sunshine State coastal destinations such as Palm Beach County, Orlando or Tampa. For Miami-area golf info and tee times, call (866) 521-2331.
Total score: 18