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Now, Next, Then | Vermont, California, Bahamas

Here are three top golf resorts to visit over the next few months

By: Tom Cunneff

Appeared in Fall 2012 LINKS

NOW

The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa
Founded in 1769, the historic Equinox in Manchester Village, Vermont, has been “serving the Republic before there was a Republic” and was a meeting place for fathers of the American Revolution. With all there is to do at the resort, it’s a wonder anyone can even find time to visit the city’s vaunted shopping outlets let alone plan a full-scale rebellion. First and foremost on the to-do list is to play the 1927 Walter Travis golf course, which Rees Jones restored in 1992 by substantially improving the infrastructure without altering the classic design of the layout, which lies sitting in a valley ringed by mountain ridges. The entire hotel, including the 195 rooms in five unique buildings, was refurbished in 2008 at a cost of $20 million. There are also a number of schools in which you’ll want to enroll: the British School of Falconry (the nation’s first), plus instruction in archery, fly fishing, shooting, and off-road driving. And you can do it all against the backdrop of Vermont’s legendary fall foliage, which peaks in mid-October in Manchester.

NEXT

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
The temperatures at this clifftop resort just south of San Francisco hover between 55 and 65 degrees all year long—perfect golf weather. But should you need to escape the elements, you won’t find a more inviting hotel. The ground-floor rooms even have their own fire pits with the hotel providing gourmet s’more kits for a fee. There are a couple of communal fire pits, too, which overlook the 18th hole of the Old Course, one of the most spectacular cliffside holes anywhere. The must-play, however, is the Arthur Hills-designed Ocean Course, which underwent a “links enhancement” a few years ago to allow the ground game to flourish. Tawny native grasses line the fairways and there are ocean views on just about every hole. In fact, you’re never far from a water vista at Half Moon Bay, be it at the cheery 19th hole or the main restaurant, which has an open-air kitchen and features such local, farm-to-table ingredients that the chef thanks the farmers by name in the menu each day. And the famous Sunday brunch is a must, even at $100 per person. It’s open to non-guests, however, so be sure to make a reservation when you book your room and arrive early to get a window table.

THEN

One & Only Ocean Club, Bahamas
Once the private estate of A&P heir Huntington Hartford II, this beachfront resort on Paradise
Island retains the genteel air of a grand colonial manor with similar one-on-one personal service: Each of the 105 rooms, suites, and villas, which are the very epitome of indoor-outdoor elegance, comes with a 24-hour butler who will unpack/pack your bags and bring you complimentary champagne and strawberries each afternoon. A 12th-century Augustinian cloister towers over the terraced steps of a Versailles-inspired garden, while the Caribbean’s turquoise waters lap a white-sand beach. The cerulean sea also serves as a spectacular backdrop to the Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, which played host to the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational for a decade, as well as a recent installment of Golf Channel’s Big Break. The green turf, white-sand bunkers, and blue waters form a striking setting for golf, while the wind will challenge even the best low-ball hitters. You might not be an heir to a supermarket fortune, but you’ll sure feel like one when you’re here.               

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