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27 S

Golf & Spas

Cost is another factor. Even without the strong pound, golf is very affordable in many parts of the US and is even better value outside the traditional peak periods for domestic travel, when green fees drop dramatically, even at top-dollar resorts.

A GOLFER´S PARADISE Offering 90 golf courses, Florida’s Naples has the most golf holes per capita of anywhere in the USA, followed by South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach, where more than 100 courses can be played along the Grand Strand. The

two areas are

unsurprisingly very popular with golf groups and golfing couples. Promoted as Florida’s Paradise Coast, Naples and Marco Island hosted the 2013 North America Golf Tourism Convention held by global golf tourism industry body IAGTO, which it followed up

by being named industry’s ‘Oscars’.

British golfers are familiar with a number of America’s top courses from extensive TV coverage of championship events. Some are very private, like Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club where the Masters – one of golf’s four annual Majors – is held and Kentucky’s Valhalla Golf Club, a former Ryder Cup venue and host course to another Major, the 2014 US PGA Championship. Many of the most iconic courses are happy to

allow the general public onto their hallowed fairways and greens though, meaning amateurs can tread in the footsteps of their golfing heroes and try to emulate their shots. Among them are the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, with its famous island green on the 17th hole, Pebble Beach in California, laid out over cliffs on the Monterey Peninsula and a five-time host of the US Open


America Golf Destination of the Year

including the 2010 event won by Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, and the Ocean Course Kiawah Island, home to the 1991 ‘War by the Shore’ Ryder Cup and where another Northern Irish golfer, Rory McIlroy, won the 2012 US PGA Championship.

What makes golf such an appealing sport for visitors to indulge in is the fact that many of the courses form part of luxury resorts and oſt en have a spa"

in the annual IAGTO Awards, the golf

MUSCLE MASSAGE Both courses are the centrepiece of resorts with spa hotels in popular golf holiday destinations. You can also tee up at luxury golf resorts in other places such as Fort Myers and St Pete/Clearwater in Florida, Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, Scottsdale Jersey’s

in Arizona, New Atlantic City,

California’s Palm Springs, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, Hawaii, the Oregon coast and many more besides. It is not only golfers’ partners

who want to enjoy a spa treatment or two. They help ease tired muscles after a gruelling round, and many spa

resorts offer tailored golf massages, sometimes even using golf balls as part of the treatment. There are also numerous spa resorts without golf facilities that appeal to non-golfers or golfing guests who want to simply unwind without their golf clubs.

With more than 15,000 golf courses around the country it's always easy to fi nd somewhere to play. Above: Prairie Golf Club Nebraska with, below, time out for a therapeutic massage

FAMILY FRIENDLY IN SAN DIEGO'S MOUNTAINS “My personal favourite golf and spa resort is Rancho Bernardo Inn – Spa

and Golf Resort just 30 minutes north of San Diego . The tranquil sur- roundings in the San Pasqual Mountains make this a perfect setting for activity and rejuvenation. The rooms and suites are lovely and the spa and fi tness centre, state of the art. It’s great for couples and families alike. Apart from the main course, there are 27 holes of executive golf at the adjoining Oaks North course. Great for newcomers to the game; it’s family friendly and ideal for those seeking a less challenging day on the links.” Alan Wilson, Managing Director, Bon Voyage Travel


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