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Golf Meccas (Illustration by Jori Bolton)

Golf Meccas

(Illustration by Jori Bolton)

Courses: Ultimate golf trips Add to ...

CENTRAL AMERICA

Hacienda Pinilla - Costa Rica

Hacienda Pinilla

One might not think that the lush tropical atmosphere and sprawling beaches of Central America would be a prime location for a golf vacation, but the vision of American course designer Mike Young has proven that anything is possible. By incorporating the natural contours of the land into play with the creation of the course (just one of the many ways Hacienda recognizes and respects the lush environment in which it sprawls), Young created a picturesque sporting experience not replicated anywhere else in the world. "Deer, coyotes, jaguars, howler monkeys, iguanas and crab are just some of the many wildlife experiences you can have here," says general manager Jason Bauer, and while the likelihood of having a three-toed sloth fall asleep on your ball or a monkey steal your tee is slim, the wildlife in and around the course is indeed a part of the scenic spectacle and one of the many reasons Hacienda Pinilla is an essential international golf destination. Quick Facts... Costa Rica's Pacific shore is a surfer's paradise. With countless surfing schools along the beautiful beaches you’ll have an easy time leaving the clubs behind for a morning and getting your cowabunga on. ...Costa Rica is home to the two- and three-toed sloths. Like teddy bears come to life, the lazy tree dwellers are extremely friendly and can frequently be found giving hugs to lampposts and table legs. A visit to a sanctuary is a must-do.

UNITED STATES

Pine Valley Golf Club - New Jersey

Pine Valley

The United States is a nation of a great many variables. From snow-capped mountains and dusty deserts throughout its core to the marshy swamps of the Southeast and the misty forests of the Northwest, it seems that no two golf courses across the land could be more different from one another. Yet, in what one can only assume is yet another feat of American perseverance, the United States is home to many of the best ranked golf courses in the world with the top links sprinkled fairly evenly amongst the country’s fifty states. Pine Valley in New Jersey has earned its place in our fantasies due to the timeless elegance of the private links. The only golf course designed by George Arthur Crump, it was considered to be the hardest in the world upon its opening in 1914. Tradition holds strong here with male-only membership (a list of less than one thousand whose names are a closely guarded secret) that is notoriously hard to gain access to, although members are allowed to bring guests and women are allowed to play the course on Sunday afternoons. Golf tourists can get their fill, however, by planning their trip around the final day of the Crump Cup in September, the only day on which members of the public are allowed access to wander the secluded course.

CANADA

St. George's Golf & Country Club - Toronto

St. George's

Canada’s contribution to the dream list may be a familiar name to many of our readers. St. George’s is a private, members-only club, which has frequently found itself on the top of Canadian and North American best-of lists. Located near Toronto, the long history of the club has truly been a Canadian golf success story. Designed by Stanley Thompson in 1929 as the golfing facilities for downtown Royal York hotel and rebranded as St George’s shortly after World War II when it severed ties with the hotel, the club has long been a fixture of the Canadian golf circuit, having served as a host to the Canadian Open and the LPGA Classic. "The more Top-100 courses I play around the world,” says Steven Smith, a member for over 20 years, “the more I am convinced that St. George’s stands up to the best of them.” Quick Facts... Most recently played host to the Canadian Open in 2010 when Carl Pettersson won. ...In true Canadian fashion, the club also runs a curling program during the winter months. ...The club's land was first purchases in 1909, giving the club an impressive century-long history.

 

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