Top 10 Golf Trip Drives for 2021

Road trip. Two ordinary words that conjure up visions of adventure by the mile and new discoveries at every turn. Is there a golfer anywhere who wouldn’t like to be loading up his or her clubs and hitting the road right now with a significant other or a bunch of friends? I know I would.

It got me to thinking… If I could head out on a golf road trip today, right this minute, where would I go? And just as importantly—what would I want to drive?

Here are 10 recommendations for North American golf road trips—with vehicle suggestions to match based on the number of golf pals you’ll be traveling with.

1. Northern California—From Monterey to Wine Country

PLAY: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Spanish Bay, Old Del Monte. Then head north to Half Moon Bay and tackle the Ocean and/or Old Courses there. Continue north to wine country and take on the Tom Weiskopf design at Langtry Farms and the two courses at Silverado, with a nice bottle of 2015 Mt. George Merlot at the 19th hole.

DRIVE: Tesla Model X. Your foursome will have plenty of room to stretch out. And if there’s anywhere you should drive an electric vehicle, it’s California.


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2. Florida’s Historic Golf Trail—With the Top Down

PLAY: Trace Florida’s rich golf history, starting at The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club’s Ocean Course. Then visit the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine. Work your way south to Lake Wales GC, the Donald Ross-designed (Brian Silva-restored) Biltmore Golf Club in Coral Gables, and Miami Beach Golf Club. If you’re game, go all the way to Key West Golf Club, the southernmost course in the U.S.

DRIVE: Jeep Wrangler. The open-air Wrangler will accommodate a twosome nicely and is perfect for a beach trek or two along the way.

3. Northern Michigan—Woods and Waves Tour

PLAY: Either of the two standout tracks at Tullymore Golf Resort, and all 36 at spectacular Arcadia Bluffs, then make your way to Bay Harbor Golf Club and play all 27 there. Next, make tracks for Treetops in Gaylord, where you’ll have your choice of five courses, including one of the best par-3 courses in America. End at Boyne Highlands, where four more excellent courses await, including the Donald Ross Memorial Course with 18 Ross replica holes.

DRIVE: Cadillac Escalade ESV. The larger-than-life (and Arlington, Mich.-built) Escalade ESV will be right at home on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Golf Trip 2021
Arcadia Bluffs (Photo by Nile Young)

4. Mile-High Swing Through the Colorado Rockies

PLAY: Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton, where huge slabs of red rock flank the fairways. Fossil Trace Golf Club in Golden, with its own triceratops footprints. Golf Club at Redlands Mesa in Grand Junction—with the Colorado National Monument as a backdrop. Near Vail, play Red Sky Golf Club, Keystone Ranch, and Eagle Ranch. End your trip at the iconic Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, whose East Course has played host to many USGA national championships.

DRIVE: Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. This all-wheel-drive estate wagon has lots of cargo space and 473 horsepower—more than enough to handle the steep inclines of the Rockies.

5. Bayous & Bourbon Street—The Louisiana Audubon Golf Trail

PLAY: The Pelican State’s Audubon Golf Trail, named for naturalist John James Audubon, includes three Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Certified courses. You’ll want to play: Audubon Park Golf Club, a par-62 gem just minutes from downtown; Carter Plantation, the first course from Louisiana native David Toms; Bluffs Golf Resort, where water comes into play on half the holes; Tamahka Trails, named after the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe’s word for alligator; and TPC Louisiana, host for years of the PGA Tour’s Zurich classic.

DRIVE: Dodge Ram 1500 Limited. This is the Deep South. Only a pickup truck will do. The four-door version of the 1500 is as cushy as they come.


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6. Vancouver Island Golf Trail

PLAY: You could drive from one end of British Columbia’s achingly scenic Vancouver Island to the other in a day—and pass a lot of sparkling bays and pine trees along the way. But take a week, travel from south to north, and play: Olympic View just outside Victoria; the Jack Nicklaus-designed Mountain and Valley Courses at Bear Mountain Resort; Arbutus Ridge in the Cowichan wine region; Fairwinds and Morningstar north of Nanaimo; Crown Isle in Courtenay; and Storey Creek in Campbell River, where eagles (of the wingèd kind) are as common as pars.

DRIVE: Toyota Land Cruiser. Not only can you easily fit four large people and their golf/travel gear into the 4WD, built-for-adventure Land Cruiser, you can add a couple kayaks up top—and you should. You won’t find a better place for getting up close and personal with orcas.

7. Escape from New York

PLAY: Visit the three superb courses at Turning Stone Casino in Verona; Deveraux Emmet’s 1909 Golden Age classic at Leatherstocking Golf Club in Cooperstown; Donald Ross’s 1928 course at The Sagamore near Lake George; Saratoga National in Saratoga Springs; and Ravenwood in the Finger Lakes Region—where you can also sample the products of some of New York State’s finest wineries.

DRIVE: Mercedes E63 AMG Wagon. Lightning fast with tons of space, this super car with a liftgate lets you travel in comfort and style and is as well-suited for the twisty roads of the Adirondacks as it is for the canyons of Manhattan.

8. Myrtle Beach in a Muscle Car

PLAY: The Grand Strand has more good courses than you can shake a dipstick at, but the ones I’d put at the top of my list are: Dunes Golf & Beach Club—the course that put Myrtle Beach on the map; Mike Strantz’s two gems, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue; Tidewater Golf Club; Dustin Johnson’s home track at TPC Myrtle Beach; Pawley’s Plantation; and the Dye Course at Barefoot Landing.

DRIVE: Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye. You don’t need to be a speed freak to enjoy driving a muscle car. But it doesn’t hurt. This Challenger’s 6.2-liter Hemi V8 and 199 mph top speed will get you to your tee times fast (but mind the speed limit, folks).

9. New Scotland: Nova Scotia

PLAY: Start at Canadian architect Graham Cooke’s standout at Glen Arbour near Halifax. Play scenic Digby Pines Golf Resort & Spa on the Bay of Fundy, then work your way north and east to Fox Harb’r near Pugwash and its fun, links-like back nine. From there, it’s up to Cape Breton, where the ever-beautiful Cabot Trail will take you to World Top 100 Cabot Links, Cabot Cliffs, and Stanley Thompson’s stellar Highland Links, which like the Cabot twins offers breathtaking ocean views from many holes.

DRIVE: Audi RS7. This wide-bodied sports sedan can accommodate four people, and with 600 horses under the hood and an adjustable air suspension system, it’s the next best thing to a limo.


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10. Santa Fe Golf Trail

PLAY: There’s a lot of variety to the courses in this desert-mountainy part of New Mexico. Start in Albuquerque at the Sandia Golf Club and the North Course at the University of New Mexico. From there, head north to Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, whose shifting fairways are overlooked by mountains and guarded by arroyos. Next, play Twin Warriors in the high desert of Santa Ana Pueblo, which weaves around 20 historic cultural sites. Finish at Paako Ridge on the east side of the Sandia Mountains, where the 100-yard-long green of the par-three 4th hole may be the most three-putted green in America.

DRIVE: Ford Bronco Sport. Yes, the Bronco is coming back for 2021, and this very capable rock-crawler can take you from course to course without any need for paved roads.


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