Location: Tahoe City, California, is 47 miles south of Reno, Nevada, and 116 miles east of Sacramento, California.
What it offers: The golf season on the California/Nevada border usually runs from early May to mid-October for the 44 courses spread out around Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada. Crisp mountain air and long-distance views, many including the area’s famous namesake body of water, elevate this foursome of 18-hole tracks to the must-play level.
You may have seen Edgewood Tahoe on TV thanks to its hosting of an annual celebrity golf tournament each summer since 1990. On the South Shore in Stateline, Nevada, just northeast of South Lake Tahoe, the course impresses even more in person. Three holes — 9, 17 and 18 — take you right along the lake’s edge and provide perhaps the most mesmerizing (and distracting) settings on any of the area’s golf courses. (Note: Edgewood Tahoe is temporarily closed due to nearby fires; check edgewoodtahoe.com/golf for its opening status.)
You’ll find many more quality golf options on the less-populated North Shore. Superb course conditions are the calling card on the Championship Course at Incline Village on the Nevada side of the North Shore. The downhill tee shot on the par-4 7th hole, with Lake Tahoe visible in the distance, is the standout on a layout with eight dogleg holes.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Old Greenwood, part of the Tahoe Mountain Club in Truckee, California, has hosted the PGA Tour’s Barracuda Championship the past three years (it returns July 20-23, 2023). Four lakes come into play on the layout, most notably on the dogleg left, par-5 6th hole. Coyote Moon Golf Course, also in Truckee, features plenty of elevation changes. Just avoid the granite outcroppings and soaring pines that frame fairways to fully enjoy the serene and secluded setting.
Fancy a nine-hole layout? On the North Shore, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and their fellow Rat Packers used to frequent Old Brockway in Kings Beach and Tahoe City Golf Course back in the 1950s. Stay clear of the tall pines lining the fairways at both.
Insider tip: The area’s jaw-dropping scenery is breathtaking, but so is the altitude (6,300 feet above sea level). If you give yourself a day to acclimate and drink plenty of water, you should get approximately 10 percent more distance on your drives and approach shots.
What you’ll pay at Edgewood Tahoe: $175 and up in low season
You’ll pay the least at: Tahoe City Golf Course, where it’s $50 for nine holes ($45 for 65 and older) and $90 for 18 holes ($80 for 65 and older).
Where to stay (splurge): In Truckee, on the North Shore, the 153-guestroom Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe wows with a 17,000-square-foot spa, fine dining at Manzanita restaurant, and exclusive access to the Ritz-Carlton Lake Club, which features myriad water activities. Starting at $352.
Where to stay (save): Just south of Tahoe City, also on the North Shore, the family-owned Granlibakken Tahoe got its start in the late 1940s as one of the area’s first ski resorts. Its 148 accommodations feature a modern-rustic vibe and range from standard rooms to three-bedroom townhomes, all set among a 74-acre valley of trees above the lake. Starting at $159.
Location: 101 miles south of Burlington, Vermont; 158 miles west of Boston
What it offers: Fall is the most colorful time to visit the Green Mountain State, especially for leaf peepers interested in the changing foliage, but spring and summer aren’t too shabby for golfers, either. No matter your timing, the scenery on and around courses, especially in the greater Manchester area in the southern portion of Vermont, is unforgettable.
You’ll find the quintessential Vermont golf experience at the Golf Club at Equinox in Manchester, a Walter Travis course redesigned by Rees Jones. The layout (which underwent a bunker renovation project in 2021) is challenging but fair with subtle breaks on the greens. Forget the scorecard and soak up the views — look back down the 13th fairway where a white church steeple peeks through the treetops and Mount Equinox rises skyward in the distance.
At Rutland Country Club, 35 miles north of Manchester in Rutland, keep your tee shots and/or approaches below the hole on the greens; many slope from back to front, most sharply on the par-3 5th hole. Thirteen miles east of Rutland, at Green Mountain National in Killington, elevated tees provide distracting views of the surrounding countryside while tall trees will quickly digest offline shots. Most of the front nine, and a swimming area known as Colton Pond, are visible from the 16th tee. In 2021, both of these courses were included in Golf magazine’s list of the Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S.
New ownership is enhancing on- and off-course amenities at Fox Run Golf Club near Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, 33 miles northeast of Manchester. A highlight of the former Okemo Valley Golf Club remains the par-3 8th hole, which drops 75 feet from tee to green.
Woodstock Country Club, set in the narrow Kedron Valley 58 miles northeast of Manchester, measures slightly more than 6,000 yards, but watch out for a creek that comes into play on many holes.
Insider tip: The peak foliage season runs from mid-September through mid-October. Bring extra golf balls: When those colorful leaves fall to the ground, they can easily camouflage shots that miss fairways.
What you’ll pay at the Golf Club at Equinox: $89 and up in low season.
You’ll pay the least at: Fox Run Golf Club, which starts at $59 in low season.
Where to stay (splurge): The Equinox Resort in Manchester dates back to Revolutionary War times. It blends modern amenities with historic touches at the 195-room main resort, the nine-suite Orvis Inn, and the 13-room 1811 House. Starting at $399 on weekends.
Where to stay (save): Enjoy an upscale rustic vibe at the 18-room Snowed Inn in Killington, a bed and breakfast 5 miles south of Green Mountain National Golf Course, which starts at $207.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Location: 64 miles southeast of Philadelphia; 127 miles south of New York City; 146 miles northeast of Baltimore
What it offers: You can try your luck at the casinos overlooking the ocean in Atlantic City, but bringing your golf clubs to this part of the Jersey Shore is a safer bet. Salty sea air, breezes off the water and even a vineyard make a fivesome of stellar courses, none too far from the famous boardwalk, a very good hand to play.
The LPGA stops annually at the Seaview Golf Club in Galloway, 16 miles northwest of Atlantic City, to take on the Bay Course, a shortish (6,330 yards from the tips) layout with tricky, small greens and long-distance views of the Atlantic City skyline across Reed’s Bay. Across the street behind the Seaview Hotel sits the Pines Course, a venue that hosted the 1942 PGA Championship. Many of the Donald Ross-designed bunkers on the open, links-style Bay Course are deep, unforgiving and especially in play during windy conditions. A recent project included the renovation of all greenside bunkers, enhancement of drainage and cart paths, and overall aesthetic improvements. The secluded tree-lined fairways and sharp doglegs of the Pines Course demand a higher degree of accuracy off the tee.
The name sets the scene at Twisted Dune Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, 14 miles west of Atlantic City. Here, more than 100 bunkers and tall, fescue-covered dunes present a formidable challenge. It was included in Golf magazine’s 2021 list of Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S.
Wine has been produced for more than 150 years at Renault Winery Resort in Egg Harbor City, 19 miles northwest of Atlantic City, but it wasn’t until 2007 that a golf course with very generous fairways started flowing through parts of the 10-acre vineyard (hence the layout’s name: Vineyard National at Renault). You drive through the vines after the 6th hole and tee off among (but above) the grapes on the dogleg left, par-4 No. 7. Celebrate the low round with an on-site tasting of a Renault Winery red or white wine, or even blueberry champagne.
Insider tip: At Seaview Golf Club, the plaque at the 16th tee on the Pines Course commemorates Sam Snead’s chip-in for birdie on the hole, clinching his win in the 1942 PGA Championship. That was the first of three career PGA titles and seven overall majors for Snead, a World Golf Hall of Fame member.
What you’ll pay at the Seaview Golf Club: $189 and up in high season.
You’ll pay the least at: Twisted Dune Golf Club, where it’s $49 and up in low season, and the peak summer rate is $115.
Where to stay (splurge): When you’re not out on the area’s fairways, you’ll find plenty to do at the 1,860-room Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City. Pamper yourself in its 40,000-square-foot spa (named the state’s best in 2020 and 2021 by Spas of America), catch a concert at Ovation Hall, or work on your game in one of seven hitting bays at the TopGolf Swing Suite. Weekend rates start at $329 (weekday rates can be lower).
Where to stay (save): Through the decades, many dignitaries and celebrities (many shown on a Wall of Fame just off the lobby) have stayed at the 296-room Seaview Hotel in Galloway, which underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2019. Both courses at Seaview Golf Club are short cart rides away from the golf shop inside the resort. Starting at $199.
Central Oregon (Bend)
Location: 162 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon
What it offers: Most visitors to the outdoor mecca of Bend, high in the Cascades of central Oregon, come to hike, bike, climb, fish, kayak and ski. Unbeknownst to many, in and around this high-desert town on the Deschutes River are quite possibly the country’s most underrated golf courses.
At Tetherow Golf Club in Bend, Scotsman David McLay-Kidd designed a links-style masterpiece that feels like Scottsdale-meets-Scotland sans the cacti and coastline. Undulating and quick to punish, every tee shot demands your attention; greenside, putting requires imagination and use of the sloped greens as a backboard to access pin placements. Miss your spot and the ball might roll back to your feet.
The dogleg-right 11th hole brings towering pines into play and a risk-reward option to cut the distance by aiming over the treeline. A sea of sand and vibrant yellow bitterbrush ring the par-3 17th (“the Quarry Hole”), one of the most photographed holes in golf.
Also in Bend, the stunning Pronghorn Resort, the first site to offer a Tom Fazio Championship Golf Course and Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course side by side, splays out across a 1,000-year-old juniper forest. The par-3 8th hole on the Fazio course includes a 45-foot canyon and a petrified lava tube for players to shoot over. Nicklaus’ side of the property is a stout test in its own right and the Golden Bear at his finest.
In Sunriver, 20 minutes southwest of Bend, Sunriver Resort delivers three distinct 18s and the family-friendly Caldera Links, a nine-hole par 3. Its headliner, the Bob Cupp-designed Crosswater Club, a heathland-style course at the confluence of the Deschutes and Little Deschutes rivers, tips out at more than 7,600 yards. The left-swinging par-5 12th hole, aptly named “Endless,” is a true three-shotter, and another one of the region’s most scenic holes. Crosswater will open for summer play July 1 while it completes a bunker renovation.
Architect John Fought took cues from the classic American courses of the 1920s and ’30s when he designed the Meadows Course; think timeless routing and strategic fore-bunkerings. Seven holes hug the Deschutes River. Lava outcroppings and deep bunkers mark the Woodlands Course, a forest layout.
What you’ll pay at Tetherow Golf Club: $125 and up in low season.
You’ll pay the least at: Meadows and Woodlands, starting at $85 in low season.
Where to stay (splurge): The seven Cairn Cottages at Tetherow, two-bedroom, two-bath accommodations in the heart of the resort, are perfect for groups and come with an outdoor firepit and private hot tub. Starting at $499.
Where to stay (save): Expect amenities aplenty at the Sunriver Resort, a 3,300-acre riverside retreat with more than 10 restaurants, 45 miles of biking trails and an on-site observatory. Each of the 211 rooms at the homey Lodge Village features a private deck and 65-inch TV. Starting at $159.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 8, 2022. It has been updated to reflect new information.