Five great U.S. destinations for a fall golf trip
By Brandon Tucker, Sr. Managing Editor for Golf Advisor
Summertime may the busiest time for golf coast-to-coast, but fall is the best golf season. Let me count all the ways.
For starters, if you’re in the south, the heat begins to dissipate into a more tolerant zone with less humidity and threat of daily thundershowers.
But fall golf is truly special once you head north. It’s a season that is ideal for road trips. You can cruise gorgeous highways in upstate New York, Northern Michigan or anywhere deep forest and the changing of colors exist.
We may simply savor fall golf more in the north. We know the season is coming to an end. Soon enough, a blanket of snow will cover the fairways and the flags will be taken in for the spring. We cherish those rounds in comfortable sweaters in the waning daylight.
You may be able to find lower rates as summer destinations transition to their fall shoulder season. With kids back in school, resorts empty out. And if that’s not enough incentive, there are so many people who would rather stay in on the weekend and watch football that weekend tee times can be surprisingly easier to come by.
Fall golf is great just about anywhere, but it’s particularly savory when you’ve got some mountain or forest backdrops with changing colors and some pleasant road ways. Ready to hit the road? Here are some great golf destinations to start.
Fall Golf in Missouri’s Ozarks
Missouri’s Ozarks showcase gorgeous lake views and rolling vistas with fall foliage. Branson may be a magnet for live entertainment, but the greater region is an outdoor playground that has a huge roster of golf courses for all budgets. Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris has invested in the game in a big way at Big Cedar Lodge, which just opened the new Tiger Woods design, Payne’s Valley. But you can play other standouts like Branson Hills. | Browse Missouri golf packages
Traverse City, Northern Michigan
Traverse City anchors Northern Michigan, one of the country’s deepest and most diverse destinations home to a mix of multi-course golf resorts and unsung daily-fees, not to mention a charming lakefront downtown full of shopping, restaurants and entertainment. It’s also one of the best spots each fall for fall foliage and pleasant road trips thanks to scenic roads like M-22. Overlooking Torch Lake, Shanty Creek Resorts features four gorgeous, tree-lined and rolling layouts highlighted by Tom Weiskopf’s Cedar River. 54-hole Grand Traverse Resort and 36-hole Crystal Mountain are other top resorts near the Cherry Capital that offer great fall rates.
Pinehurst and the North Carolina Sandhills
There’s never a bad time for a trip to America’s cradle of golf. Historic Pinehurst anchors one of the country’s deepest and rewarding golf destinations for lovers of traditional and modern golf course architecture. Donald Ross’ Pinehurst No. 2, as well as Mid Pines and Pine Needles, represent three of the legend’s greatest publicly accessible efforts. There are scores of other daily-fee and semi-private courses that are very affordable, like Tot Hill Farm, 7 Lakes and Southern Hills (also a Ross design).
More: Golf Advisor on the best month to play golf in the Carolina Sandhills
Fall Golf in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, great golf in all shapes and sizes can be experienced from Western Massachusetts thru Boston and down to the coast around Plymouth and Cape Cod. Charming and historic towns can be found along rural roads. Outside Beantown, Granite Links Golf Club sports long views of the skyline and foliage. The treelined corridors of New England Country Club shine red and orange into October.
Texas Hill Country
A lot of Texans become preoccupied with football after Labor Day, but the oppressive summer heat has broken, which lends itself to open tee sheets in perfect temperatures with the smell of barbecue brisket wafting across fairways. Golfers have less worry about a cold snap ruining a day on the course compared to northern states. Two wonderful golf cities, Austin and San Antonio, border the Texas Hill Country and feature the most undulating terrain lending itself to long views. Austin-area’s Wolfdancer Golf Club features some of the best scenery in the state, while around San Antonio, La Cantera Resort’s two very different 18-hole layouts feature different architects but both present elevated tee shots and dramatic holes carved through exposed limestone.| View Texas Golf Packages