Travel may be our specialty, but fortunately our time hitting the road to visit hotels and show you what they’re really like has granted us plenty of time to also hit the links. We’ve teed up at some pretty amazing courses -- at some equally amazing resort properties -- and each round has had something special about it. But some of our very favorites have been those with spectacular views. So what if you double-bogey when all you can see is crystal-clear ocean for miles? (Well, maybe don’t answer that.) Here are ten courses with amazing views that are worth a trip.
Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
The Four Seasons' par-72 championship golf course, designed by Arnold Palmer, has panoramic ocean views from four of its holes, and the surrounding forests are rich with wildlife (including both howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys). It's a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, meaning its construction was, and its operation is, more environmentally sensitive than your typical golf course.
Mauna Kea Beach Resort, Hawaii
The Mauna Kea Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and recently updated by Rees Jones, is consistently voted one of the top courses in the nation. Set along the Kohala Coast, the 18-hole course boasts gorgeous ocean views. Guests can play a round, hit the driving range, or arrange a private lesson or group clinic.
Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
Casa De Campo's signature golf course, Teeth of the Dog, is arguably the best in the Caribbean. It, along with the two other courses on the property -- Dye Four and The Links -- was designed by World Golf Hall of Famer Pete Dye. Each course has 40 groundskeepers assigned to it, which doesn't come as a surprise, as not a blade of grass is out of place. Numerous holes offer sweeping views of the Caribbean.
Tubac Golf Resort & Spa, Tucson
Set against the backdrop of the Santa Rita Mountains, the golf course at Tubac is known not only for its gorgeous desert setting, but also its appearance in the golfer flick “Tin Cup.” Designed by Robert ‘Red’ Lawrence in 1959, this 18-hole course received an update – and an extra nine holes – in 2006, courtesy of Ken Kavanaugh. The course’s three signature holes are particularly challenging.
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, California
This luxe resort offers two 18-hole courses built into the Pacific Ocean-facing cliffs of Half Moon Bay. Both course are par 72, but the Ocean Course often proves more challenging, with ocean winds and tight fairways. The Old Course, originally designed by Francis Duane and Arnold Palmer in 1973, got a redesign by Arthur Hills in 1999.
La Reunion Golf Resort & Residences, Guatemala
About 30 minutes from the colonial city of Antigua, La Reunion is a golf lover’s paradise. Fuego Maya, the 18-hole course designed by Pete Dye, features views of both the Fuego Volcano, as well as the Pacific coastline. Visitors can request a tee time, or take lessons at the Fuego Maya Golf Academy.
Desert Princess Palm Springs Golf Resort
Often with reasonable rates, the Desert Princess largely attracts business travelers hoping to squeeze in some time on the links. The three nine-hole, championship courses are set against a gorgeous mountain backdrop, and feature lush fairways dotted by plenty of sand traps and lakes to make for challenging rounds.
Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
Eden Roc is one of the most high-tech properties in the Dominican Republic, and is located in the gated Cap Cana community, home to three Jack Nicklaus courses. All excellent courses, the crown jewel is without a doubt the Punta Espada course, named the best course in the Caribbean and Mexico in 2011 by Golfweek. With gorgeous views all around, the signature par-3 13th hole includes a tee shot over the ocean.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, Hawaii
Hawaii attracts plenty of golfers, and almost all who play it rave about the Challenge at Manele, a Jack Nicklaus-designed, 18-hole course alongside the Four Seasons on the tiny island of Lanai. The Pacific Ocean figures in as a hazard for several challenging holes, making for gorgeous views along the cliffs. During the winter, golfers are even known to spot whales right from the fairways.
The Boulders, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, Phoenix
Tee off at the right time, and you’ll get to take in stunning sunsets – with beautiful boulder formations in the background – from the two 18-hole courses at The Boulders. The par-72 North Course and the par-71 South Course offer plenty of challenges via sand traps and water hazards, and players can get some one-on-one instruction before hitting the links by taking a private lesson at the resort’s Golf Academy.
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