13 Top Golf Courses to Play in 2021 & Best Way to Travel with your Golf Clubs

Golf 2021 | 8 min read 

In 2020, many golf courses across the U.S. and around the world experienced a new wave of golfers. As golf was one of the only outdoor, physical activities given the social-distanced stamp of approval, it made sense why so many newcomers took to the game. This enthusiasm amongst beginners and seasoned vets continues strong into 2021 as more states and countries safely open. If you want to get a head start planning your next golf getaway, here are 13 best resorts and golf courses to visit in 2021:

1. The Adobe | Phoenix, AZ

The iconic Arizona Biltmore--now a Waldorf Astoria Resort--has welcomed guests since 1929 and is home to one of the best golf vacations for couples and groups in the United States. This historic hotel boasts luxury accommodations and access to two PGA golf courses. The Adobe Golf Course features sprawling greens and beautiful mountain views, and these grand old fairways are the perfect place for golfers to take their cart bags, ride the course, and take in the majesty of the landscape. The nearby Links Golf Course features well-bunkered greens for golfers that want to put their skills to the test. With unlimited same-day replay available to resort guests, you can truly play to your heart’s content.

After an exhilarating day on the links, you and your party can partake in unique events such as cigar rolling or happy hour with a historian who will share fascinating stories about the Biltmore and surrounding landmarks. You can pamper yourselves with a relaxing spa day and then indulge in an expertly prepared dinner with wine pairing at Wright’s Restaurant. With so many attractions and great golf at your fingertips, it’s no wonder that many guests choose to take advantage of the Arizona Biltmore’s extended stay package. You can even bring your favorite four-legged friend along for the adventure, because the Arizona Biltmore is proudly pet-friendly.

Image Courtesy of: Arizona Biltmore

2. Pebble Beach | Pebble Beach, CA 

As one of the most revered golf courses in the United States, Pebbled Beach Golf Links has more than a hundred years of golf history. Known for hosting numerous PGA tournaments including the U.S. Open and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Pebble Beach Golf Links offers breathtaking ocean views and plenty of seabreeze. With so much rich history and the mark of approval from so many pros, this golf destination is one that should be at the top of your bucket list. 

When you’re not on the green, you can continue the fun with the laundry-list of activities to do in the area. Rent and ride beach cruisers to visit nearby tide pools, take a stroll along the beach, or hike down to sea Big Sur! This golf is definitely a must for beach-goers. Just keep in mind--  Pebble Beach is located in Northern California so the weather fluctuates quite a bit throughout the entire year. If you’re looking for a bit of relaxation, try one of the trending health and wellness treatments offered by their 5-star spa

Image Courtesy of:  Pebble Beach Resorts

3. The Ocean | Palm Coast, FL

Soak up some sun with a warm-weather retreat at Hammock Beach Resort in beautiful Palm Coast, Florida. This seaside resort features two courses and was voted the “2018 Best Golf Resort in Florida” by Golf Digest. The award-winning Ocean Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, features six holes that overlook the Atlantic Ocean, while the Conservatory Course – designed by Tom Watson – is lined with streams, waterfalls, and stonework.

Hammock Beach Resort offers several golf packages that provide couples with luxury accommodations, champagne, a spa gift basket, and $100 spa credit. You and your better half can enjoy a romantic golf weekend complete with opulent views, challenging golf games, couples massages, and plenty of opportunities to create lasting memories. 

Image Courtesy of: The Club At Hammock Beach

4. The Plantation Course | Maui, HI 

The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii, offers top-tier golf as well as an array of other activities, which makes this one of the best golf vacations, even if everyone doesn’t golf. There’s something for everyone to enjoy at this magnificent Hawaiian paradise from beachfront horseback riding, to helicopter rides. Book a golf package and enjoy early access to preferred tee times, or select a honeymoon package and spend a day relaxing in a VIP luxury poolside cabana. 

Put your golf skills to the test on the newly refined Plantation Course, which hosts the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. This course was designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Core, and features the second-longest hole on the PGA Tour. The Bay Course – designed by Arnold Palmer and Frances Duane – features a hole that plays over the ocean. Interested in honing your skills on your luxury retreat? Maui is home to the Kapalua Golf Academy, which is equipped with 23 acres of practice area and is rated one of the “Top 25 Golf Schools” by GOLF Magazine

Image Courtesy of: The Ritz-Carlton

5. The Mountain View | Palm Desert, CA

Palm Desert has long been a vacation destination for people looking to escape the winter chill, and Desert Willow Golf Resort delivers classic Southern California weather and two spectacular golf courses with cascading mountain views. You can break out your favorite warm-weather golfing accessories and set your own pace while you take in the desert air, or get personalized PGA-certified instruction at the top-tier Palm Desert Golf Academy.

Palm Desert hosts the best golf trips for couples any time of year, so if you can’t get away on Valentine’s Day, you can schedule a trip when you have the time. You can tee off for a friendly competition one day and explore nearby Joshua Tree National Forest the next. For couples planning to tie the knot, Desert Willow even offers an array of elegant wedding venues to choose from.

Image Courtesy of: www.desertwillow.com

6. Kauri Cliffs  | Matauri Bay, NZ

If you’re looking to take your vacation internationally, Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand offers one of the best golf trips for couples and groups. Rest and reset away from the stresses of everyday life, at this bucket list destination. In addition to world-class golf, guests can enjoy sea kayaking, land-based fishing, horseback riding, helicopter tours, and much more.

When it comes to the game, Kauri Cliffs boasts an iconic golf course designed by David Harman that currently ranks 37th on Golf Digest’s list of Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in the World. This oceanside course was recently renovated by the acclaimed golf course architect Rees Jones. Fifteen holes feature breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean-- six of which are played alongside plunging cliffs. 

Pro Tip: Golfers are welcome to bring their own golfing gear, but you’ll need to make sure your shoes and clubs are squeaky clean (free of any grass or dirt) upon entering the country. New Zealand biosecurity officials inspect all golf bags and equipment of international visitors in an effort to maintain the overall health of their rural-based economy.

Image Courtesy of: Australian Golf Digest

7. Atlantic Dunes |  Hilton Head, SC

The Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, South Carolina, offers seemingly endless booking options, including three world-class golf courses to tee off on – Harbour Town Golf Links, Heron Point by Pete Dye, and Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III. You can plan a long weekend and play all three courses, which feature picturesque waterfront play and harbor views.

Golf getaways at Sea Pines Resort can be tailored to your desired level of play and pampering. Choose from three different styles of luxury accommodations, spa packages designed specifically for sports enthusiasts with sore muscles, and an array of restaurants. Plus, you’ll have plenty of nearby trails to explore by bicycle, foot, or horseback!

Image Courtesy of: Sea Pines Resort

8. Caledonia  | Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach is one of the best golf destinations in the United States, and an excellent choice for trips with friends or family. There are more than 75 courses spread out across Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand – and this seaside destination draws in some of the world’s top players! Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or two weeks of tee time, Myrtle Beach is one of America’s top golf destinations.

Myrtle Beach has many golf courses to choose from, making it ideal for groups that have members of varying skill sets. You’ll have the freedom to change up your difficulty level from day to day and you won’t have to go far to do it. For example, Caledonia and True Blue Golf Clubs are right next to each other and offer guest packages that allow you to access both clubs.

Image Courtesy of: MyrtleBeach.com

9. Chardonnay GC | Napa Valley, CA

Napa Valley may be synonymous with vineyards, but this beautiful landscape is also home to multiple PGA Championship golf courses--making it one of our favorite golf travel destinations. Depending on when you’re planning to visit, you can put your skills to the test on a beautifully challenging course or watch the pros in action. 

For a romantic couples getaway, you can find Couples’ Escape packages at Silverado Resort that include: a spa treatment, food credit, and exclusive access to a day on the links. Spend a long weekend reconnecting in the opulent hills of California wine country, where you can enjoy an invigorating game of golf, relax with a massage, and take in a romantic sunset while sipping your favorite fine wine.

For a girls’ or guys’ trip, break out your golf bags and tee off in cascading vineyards at Chardonnay Golf Club. For groups looking for a shorter game and more time to sip vino, Vintner’s Golf Course features a championship nine-hole resort course.

Image Courtesy of: Chardonnay Golf Club

10. Shadow Creek | Las Vegas, NV

If you’re looking for golf travel destinations that stray from the traditional, a stay at an MGM Resort Las Vegas is the place to go. As long as an A-list celebrity hasn’t reserved the course for the day, you’ll have a shot at adding a tee time at the legendary Shadow Creek to your itinerary. Ranked 26th on Golf Digest’s “Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses” for the 2019-2020 season, this is one of the best golf destinations for players looking for a unique experience.

While the nightlife might make Vegas one of the most iconic friends’ trip locations, it’s also one of the best golf destinations for players of all levels. With more than 50 courses in the Vegas area to choose from, you’ll have plenty of options. Angel Park Golf Club, which was designed by Arnold Palmer, offers multiple courses and a unique putting course that’s open at night. Bring your stand bag and walk the course or take a cart bag so your non-golfing buddies can enjoy tagging along as rider.

Image Courtesy of: Golf Digest

11. St. Andrews Links | St. Andrews, Scotland

St. Andrews, Scotland is widely regarded as one of the top golf destinations in the world; no matter who you’re traveling with, this is sure to be an unforgettable adventure. In addition to sweeping greens that hug the Scottish coastline, you’ll have plenty of historic architecture to explore once you’ve finished your game. 

While you certainly don’t need a special occasion to visit St. Andrews Links, you may want an excuse to extend your stay. Not only will you have seven courses to play – including the Old Course and Castle Course – but there are plenty of non-golf-related sights to see as well. Affectionately called “the home of golf,” St. Andrews Links is a great one to add to your bucket list of golf travel destinations. 

Image Courtesy of: The Times UK

12. Royal Melbourne Golf Club | Melbourne, Australia

You may already have been planning a trip to Australia, especially if you watched the Presidents Cup back in 2019 and haven’t gotten a chance due to COVID lockdowns. While the incredible selection of world-class courses is certainly a draw, you’ll have plenty to do after your game as well. This trip is great for families, friends, or couples because there is so much to do and see “down under”. Secure a morning tee time and you could spend your afternoon observing koalas and kangaroos on a wildlife tour. If you’re looking to escape the chilly winter +spring season in the United States, a trip to Australia is sure to warm you up. Melbourne enjoys summer weather while much of the US is shoveling sidewalks, which makes this one of the best golf destinations during the US winter months. You can break out your cool caddy and soak up some vitamin D while your friends back home are bundled up. While you may need an introduction from your home course, many of the world-renowned Melbourne clubs – including the Royal Melbourne Golf Club and Kingston Heath Golf Club – are open to international visitors on certain days.

Image Courtesy of: Deemples

VESSEL HQ Local Favorite: Twin Oaks | San Marcos, San Diego, CA

Not too far from the VESSEL Headquarters is Twin Oaks Golf Course. The VESSEL team highly recommends this course if you’re looking for beautiful weather, friendly staff, and an all-around great golfing experience.

Designed by architect, Ted Robinson, Twin Oaks Golf Course features challenging fairways that will put your accuracy to the test. This course provides convenient access to driving ranges, golf lessons, and youth golf lessons. No matter what kind of play the day calls for, Twin Oaks has you covered. 

Since this beautiful SoCal course is nestled amongst loads of sites and activities, there is truly something for everyone. Less than 30 minutes away, is the astounding San Diego Zoo Safari Park which spans over 1800 acres. Choose between several guided tours and safaris for an immersive teaching experience that you and your family won’t forget. Or, for romantic options for you and your honey, drive 30 minutes west to the coast of Carlsbad. Enjoy fresh seafood and specialty drinks, then take a relaxing walk down by the beach. 

Image Courtesy of: Golf Pass

We hope these golf trip ideas and destination highlights have given you some ideas for your next golf vacation. You can take your game international or enjoy world-class golf right here in the United States with your closest friends, family, or your special someone. 

Best Way to Travel with Your Golf Clubs

If you plan on traveling with your favorite golf bag and golf clubs, the smartest way to do this is with a golf travel case. This travel bag is specifically-designed to pack a golf stand bag, cart, bag, or staff bag in addition to necessary golf gear. It’s commonly used by PGA pros because of the efficiency and ease it provides while traveling with golf bags and clubs. 

This deluxe golf travel case from VESSEL features tear-resistant, high-quality 1680D ballistic nylon. It may be soft-sided, but the heavy-duty material provides the durability needed for golf trips.  In the expandable main compartment, there is plenty of room to accommodate everything you need for the golf course, plus some extras just in case. This golf travel cover is equipped with heavy-duty compression straps, G-Hooks, and side buckles to allow the bag to compress and expand. This prevents unnecessary bulk, and keeps a carry bag, golf clubs, golf shoes, and more, snugly packed throughout travel. The VESSEL Golf Travel Case is designed with skate wheels and molded base for an integrated wheel system that offers effortless mobility through airport check-in. To aid with transportation and make it easy on baggage handlers, this golf club travel case offers 3 “sets” of leather-lined grab handles that appear at the sides and at the top of the bag. Not only does this golf cover case make it easy to travel with your golf clubs, it protects your valuable golf gear investments.