Every golfer I know has their bucket list when it comes to golf courses they want to play. The problem for many is the bucket list always contains a few unattainable courses that more than likely, you will never have the chance to set foot on.
So, what I want to do is focus on the positive and give you five great golf courses south of the Mason-Dixon Line that you can actually play. What we have here is a Texas resort course that is quite a test, even for a low handicapper. A Florida course with great views of the Gulf of Mexico and a picturesque bay, two Mississippi courses that stack up against any track in the South, a Hilton Head gem, and a high tech experimental golf course in Alabama, of all places.
Do I have your attention?
Read on for five of “Rick’s Picks” of golf courses in the South you an head on out to, and play.
Wolfdancer Golf Club
Come to Lost Pines, Texas just outside of Austin to play the challenging Wolfdancer Golf Club, but stay for the amenities and beauty of the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort. Wolfdancer isn’t your typical resort course that allows you to play “feel good” golf. It can be a beast, but it’s fair. The course is a mixed bag. It’s flat in places, it’s wooded and it also takes advantage of a river valley that runs right through the property. This Arthur Hills 7,205-yard gem is a course you will want to play over and over again. You can do just that, and also stay at the Hyatt Lost Pines for your next business outing, buddy trip or weekend away.
Hyatt’s Lost Pines Resort offers something for everyone or every member of the family. Not only is the staff first rate, but there are activities galore. Of course there is golf, but how about a lazy river pool, archery, shooting, and a nature preserve right on property where you get away from everything and interact with nature. An assortment of restaurants and eateries right on the property will keep you well fed.
The Links Golf Club at Sandestin
Sandestin is a 2400 acre property that is the #1 resort on Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast. It’s also a golfer’s paradise, since you can play a different course each day of your stay.
If you are a golfer of any level, you don’t want to miss playing The Links. The Links was recently named one of the “Top Five Golf Courses in Northwest Florida” and with spectacular views of of the Emerald Coast and a setting on the Choctawhatchee Bay, this course will test your shot-making. Recent improvements to Sandestin’s original course include new bridges that add to friendliness of this resort course. Five holes run along the bay, but don;t let that throw you, this Tom Jackson-designed course invites you to play links-style golf on your next trip to Sandestin. Book your trip and your tee times at http://www.sandestin.com.
Dancing Rabbit Golf Club
I know I said this is a list of the top five courses in the South you can actually play, but I lied. I lied because with Dancing Rabbit, you get two award-winning courses that each have their own unique personality.
PGA Pro and Dancing Rabbit’s Director of Golf Operations Mark Powell will make sure these two courses are in major championship form for your visit.
“It’s something you wouldn’t expect to see here in Mississippi,” adds Powell. “But we have all the bases covered here with golf, gambling, restaurants and great people.”
One of the Southeast’s premier golfing destinations for over a decade, Dancing Rabbit features two courses created by acclaimed golf course designer Tom Fazio and PGA great Jerry Pate. Dancing Rabbit’s The Azaleas course was called “The Augusta you can play,” by Golf Magazine and is always rated as one of the nation’s top 100 public golf courses.
Its sister tract, The Oaks course, is a masterpiece framed by the picturesque Choctaw landscape of ancient pines and hardwoods.
Dancing Rabbit Golf Club is part of the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, Mississippi.
Harbour Town Golf Links
You see the PGA pros playing Harbour Town every April on television, but you can play this Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus designed course that is ready to be played all year long. This par 71 won’t scare you with its length, but oh, those greens. I’m talking about small Bermuda greens that put a premium on shot-making.
There isn’t a lot of margin for error on Harbour Town, but it’s so fun, You will walk off that famous 18th hole with the iconic lighthouse in the background with a big smile on your face. It doesn’t matter what you just shot- you just played Harbour Town.
One tip if you are playing Harbour Town. Get a forecaddie for your group. They make a great round even more enjoyable with their knowledge of the course and the great stories they can tell. They are worth every penny.
There is plenty of great golf on Hilton Head Island.
Ranked top 10 in seven categories by Golf Digest including “Best Courses” and “Best Value,” Hilton Head Golf Island offers an array of exceptional golf course and accommodation options
FarmLinks Golf Club at Pursell Farms
Make your way to Sylacauga, Alabama for some of the best golf courses in the country. Located only one hour from Birmingham and ranked the No. 1 public course in Alabama, FarmLinks is a research, but open-to-the-public golf course that you can play and is the perfect place to host your next corporate getaway or buddy trip.
Let me tell you firsthand. Playing a research and demonstration golf course is a unique experience that cannot be duplicated.
“As the world’s first and only research and demonstration golf course, FarmLinks has the unique opportunity to offer feedback and insight to the industry regarding these pace-of-play suggestions,” said Pursell Farms CEO David Pursell.
FarmLinks is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season. The beautifully laid out Hurdzan-Fry designed
FarmLinks Golf Club features a surprising twist with dramatic elevation changes in a part of the country where you wouldn’t expect to see that. It also has been named the top public-access course in Alabama by Golfweek. FarmLinks has claimed numerous other awards, including making Golf Digest’s list of the
“75 Best Golf Resorts in North America.” FarmLinks is also a living and breathing agronomic laboratory, where more than 10,000 superintendents and turf specialists from around the world have visited to learn best practices to bring back to their home courses.
FarmLinks is part of Pursell Farms, a sprawling boutique family-owned resort located on 3,500 private acres in Alabama. It also offers on-property fishing and hunting, clay shooting, fresh farm-to-fork dining, flexible meeting space, wedding services and a variety of lodging choices.
There is quite a family history behind FarmLinks and those onsite will be happy to tell you about it. FarmLinks is a course you can and should play.
To learn more about Pursell Farms or FarmLinks, visit www.farmlinks.org.
There you have it. Are your ready to head South and play some golf? I am, and I’m already in the South.
Rick Limpert covers events, sports and technology in and around the Atlanta area. You can follow him on Twitter at @RickRoswell.