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Tee time: Elevate your game at these must-visit golf resorts

From championship courses to panoramic views, these golfing vacation destinations are un-fore-gettable. | By Tanvi Chheda | October 19, 2022

Looking to improve your golf game? Seasoned pros and eager beginners all know that where you play can make all the difference. So why not explore some of the best? Consider:

  • Red rocks by the green: Hit the links with views of majestic red rock formations

  • Bring the kids: Find balance between theme-park fun and lavish course-side accommodations

  • Player’s choice: Choose between two championship courses – or play on both

Arizona: Sedona Golf Resort

With sandstone buttes, mesas and canyons carved out over hundreds of millions of years, Sedona’s arresting beauty speaks for itself. Take advantage of the awe-inspiring views of red rock formations from the Sedona Golf Resort, an 18-hole, Gary Panks-designed golf course that plays 6,646 yards to a par 71. Weekly golf clinics with Paula Thompson, a member of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional division, will help you up your swing and game, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced golfer.

You won’t have to travel far to relax after a long day on the green. Adjacent to the course you’ll find Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock, a modern sanctuary with suites inspired by the surrounding desert landscape. Be sure to release any remaining tension at the resort’s spa, with treatments designed to balance, nourish and soothe. To fully experience the natural beauty of Sedona, enjoy a guided hike to iconic spots such as Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock or book a sunrise hot air balloon ride before visiting some of the area’s most exclusive art galleries.

Florida: Waldorf Astoria Golf Course

The kids may have ulterior motives for agreeing to a trip to Orlando, but finding the right balance is like hitting family vacation gold. Nestled within the 482-acre Bonnet Creek resort complex and nature preserve (which includes 75 acres of forest and state-protected wetlands), Waldorf Astoria Orlando is an elegant oasis that does just that.

Younger family members will love the property’s proximity to the happiest place on earth, while golf enthusiasts will delight in the Rees Jones-designed, 18-hole championship Waldorf Astoria Golf Course. At 7,100 yards, the course features a five-tee system to accommodate players of all skill levels. A practice range and putting green allow for shorter play and for younger players to join. Book the kids a half-day golf school session while you hit the links — the Waldorf Astoria Golf Academy offers private and group lessons for all abilities and ages.

Texas: The Golf Trails at the Woodlands

With two championship golf courses to choose from, this Texas getaway is bound to impress golf enthusiasts. The Oaks is an 18-hole, par 72 course with greenside bunkers and generous fairways, as well as a final hole bordering Lake Harrison. The second course, the Panther Trail, was completely renovated by Roy Case in 2002, and is as demanding as it is scenic as it wraps around the surrounding pine forest. Along with the two courses, expect a putting green, private instruction options and a well-stocked pro shop.

Located just north of Houston, the adjoining Woodlands Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton is a great place to retreat to after you’ve played a few rounds. Explore the expansive network of walking and biking paths as you take in the beautiful surroundings. Had enough green? Switch things up by kayaking in the lake or enjoying numerous on-site water features, including a 1,005-foot lazy river and 30-foot double helix waterslide at the Forest Oasis Waterpark.

North Carolina: Rocky River Golf Club

Close to downtown Charlotte yet tucked away among rolling hills, wetlands and rocky outcroppings, Rocky River Golf Club features an 18-hole, par 72 course meticulously designed by North Carolina native and golf legend Dan Maples. Short on time? Hit the manicured putting and chipping greens, or 30 teeing stations with four target greens. To sharpen your technique, book a private or group lesson with one of the three Class ‘A’ PGA professionals or two PGA apprentices on staff. At 6,970 yards, and with spacious sand bunkers, the course offers a great variety of holes and makes for a fantastic golf destination.

On the edge of this championship course is Embassy Suites by Hilton Charlotte Concord Golf Resort & Spa. Relax after a day of golfing at the full-service Spa Botanica with hydrotherapy, deep-tissue massage and full-day experiences.

While always keeping the spirit and tradition of the game of golf in mind, these must-visit golf resorts offer an extra layer of incentive with their spell-bounding surroundings and tranquil lodgings ready and waiting for your arrival.

Tanvi Chheda is a travel writer and family travel expert based in Los Angeles. From taking her daughter to Peru at the age of 2 to visiting several U.S. National Parks with her family, she loves seeing new places through her kids' eyes and encourages other families to do the same. A former Travel + Leisure editor, Tanvi has written for The New York Times, AFAR.com, Robb Report, Virtuoso Life and Ciao Bambino, among others.