8 surprisingly budget-friendly spring golf destinations to consider
By: Josh Berhow February 2, 2023
Ready for a spring golf trip? Of course you are, and our spring travel package has you covered. Over the next week, our experts will name their top destinations, hotspots, favorite resorts and more for spring getaways, all with the goal of educating and motivating you for your next trip. So read on, gather your family, tell your friends, and book your next unforgettable golf trip now.
What’s your favorite spring golf spot for those looking for value and saving a few bucks?
Course panelist Steve Lapper: If maximum value is the goal, a visit to Orlando would be high on my list. With a plethora of reasonable airfares, food and amenities within a 10-20 minute drive, it’s hard to top. There are plenty of accessible golf options: Shingle Creek, Orange County (Panther Lake), Champions Gate and, my favorite, the charming Winter Park 9 designed by Rhebb & Johns. Within an hour of town, Mission Inn Resort or Victoria Hills are also favorites.
Josh Sens, Senior GOLF Writer, Course Panelist: Architecture snobs tend to frown on Myrtle Beach, but there’s a reason this slice of South Carolina is the OG of golf getaways in Myrtle Beach. small budget. The laws of supply and demand rule, and with over 80 courses on a stretch of about 60 miles here, prices don’t get much better. Golf packages are the way to go, bundling your tee times and accommodations (and, in some cases, meals) into one price. That is true. It’s not Long Island. You are not going to find a group of courses from the World Top 100. But there are some really good ones, like the Dunes Club, a superb design by Robert Trent Jones Sr., and the Heathland Course at the Legends, one of Tom Doak’s early works. Drive south from Grand Strand to Pawley’s Island, and you have Caledonia and True Blue, a pair of Mike Strantz courses, sitting side by side. If I booked a package, I would be tempted to stay in that area and play those two over and over again.
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club at Pawleys Island, SC Brian Oar
James Colgan, Associate Editor of GOLF: I pride myself on being a value traveler, largely because I much prefer quantity of travel (a lot of it) to quality of amenities (as long as the hotel is clean and tee times are pre-booked, I’m fine!). This mindset has taken me to Ireland, Scotland and Pinehurst over the past 12 months. For my next act, however, I’m going to blow your mind. Avoid the seaside resort. Avoid gambling fees. Pass ALL. Just find 15 of your closest friends and reserve this MANSION in rural Vermont. For a few hundred dollars per night per person (if you have a large group), enjoy a truly enjoyable slice of life – and have your own golf course, to boot. It’s too good not to enjoy it. With the exception, of course, that once this is released to the public, it won’t be available to me for many years.
Will Davenport, Course Panelist: Pinehurst, NC offers a wide variety of golf options and can be played without breaking the bank. Although I highly recommend playing Pinehurst #2 (significantly improved by its renovation 10 years ago), there are plenty of other more reasonably priced options. In my opinion, Mid Pines and Pine Needles are two of the best courses in the area and are not to be missed (and offer reasonably priced accommodations locally). The new Tobacco Road sensation is also undoubtedly worth experiencing; while polarizing, I personally thoroughly enjoyed the drama of the course. When I visit Pinehurst I almost without exception book an Airbnb at the golf villas near the #5 course. Usually very reasonably priced, the highlight is the easy walk to the Cradle for one or two (or four) whiskey loops on the sweet Gil Petit Hanse course (unlimited replays!). And it goes without saying that no trip to Pinehurst is complete without an evening at the Pinehurst Brewing Company.
The wonderful and original Tobacco Road. Martha Hudson
Ryan Barath, GOLF Equipment Editor: Orlando! It offers an inexpensive destination with plenty of golf for virtually any price range. Extra points for setting up the rental car at MCO, especially for golfers traveling with clubs, as this is one of the easiest airports to pick up a car and leave in a very short time. With so many courses in the Orlando area, tee times can be found easily, even if you don’t book weeks in advance. And if you really want to explore the high end, you can find these courses too, so you can treat yourself once or twice.
Josh Berhow, GOLF Editor: How about two? And let’s give the northern states some love (just wait for the snow to melt). First, you must visit Northern Michigan, which is still an under-the-radar golf travel destination, but loved by those who have been there. Belvedere, Forest Dunes, the list goes on. As for another option, it’s Brainerd, Minnesota, which I’ve talked about before. And do you know why ? Because it’s so good. Minnesotans or those who have ventured there will also admit it. It has everything you need for the perfect golf trip, and spring and fall rates are extremely affordable (as are twilight golf rates). You might still need a stocking cap. Heck, even the summer rates are reasonable, and you can play courses like Deacon’s Lodge, The Preserve, The Classic, and Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
Lahinch will still cost you a few euros, but spring is still a good time to visit Ireland. Getty Images
Jessica Marksbury, GOLF Editor: It may sound crazy, but think about Ireland! Flights are significantly lower in late winter and spring than peak summer and in my experience the weather has often been better than expected. I have traveled to the Dublin area several times in February and March over the past 15 years and although some days were cold it was never unbearable. If mild heat is what you are looking for, this is obviously not the best time to go. But if maximizing savings on a must-have trip is a top priority, this time of year is a good bet!
Nick Dimengo, GOLF Instruction Editor: Nothing beats Seattle in the spring, so when it’s time to grab my clubs and hit the links, Eagle’s Talon near Redmond is my top spot. About 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, Eagle’s offers exceptional quality for a public course, offering a challenging design for both beginners and veteran golfers. This requires more control from the tee than distance, as well as precision on approach shots given all the bunkers on the green. For around $55 on weekdays and $70 on weekends, it’s a reasonable price. As a bonus, Eagle’s Talon is located between a number of different parks, which provides another outdoor activity people can try when they’re not swinging the clubs. Oh, and it’s also located near Kirkland (which has a small-town vibe that overlooks Lake Washington), Bellevue (home of big tech like Microsoft for those looking for a bigger-city feel), and Woodinville (mini Napa Valley of Western Washington, with hundreds of wineries to choose from). There are plenty of other worthy courses too, so you can take an easy golf trip on a weekend in Seattle. Fred Couples would approve.
Josh Berhow Golf.com Editor-in-Chief
Josh Berhow is the editor of GOLF.com. The Minnesota native earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University at Mankato. You can reach him at [email protected].