THREE GREAT PLACES TO ENJOY GOLFING ON A PERFECT FALL DAY
Ask any golfer; a round of golf on a pristine fall day is the cat’s meow.
True, those fall mornings can get a little chilly. But when the sun starts burning through the fog and the colours are prime, nothing beats a fall fling on a fantastic course.
It’s like a powder day in the Purcells. Catching the perfect wave at Waikiki. Ripping through the rapids on the Colorado River. Or something like that.
Obviously, not all golf destinations are created equal when it comes to experiencing the best of fall. Something different, something up-and-coming, something out-of-this-world is what we’re after. And, given golf is not exactly bursting at the seams with new world-class offerings, finding an exciting, uncharted destination that fits the fall bill isn’t easy. You may need to dig a little deeper, travel a little further.
Here are three great fall destinations that are fast becoming revered by golfers everywhere.
The Ozarks are, without a doubt, a premier place to play amid the kaleidoscopic colours of fall. Come late October, when every colour of the rainbow paints the rolling hillsides, this region is a golfer’s dream.
Thanks to new courses by Tiger Woods, Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw and Gary Player, Big Cedar Lodge (located just 15 minutes south of Branson) has quickly become one of North America’s most talked-about “new” golf destinations.
Although Tiger’s new course, Payne’s Alley, is not quite ready for the ribbon cutting (it’s slated to open in late 2019), the hot-offthe-press Ozarks National by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (arguably the best golf course architects working today) is all the reason you need to head there now. The course, routed through a rolling mixed forest, is getting rave reviews.
Existing courses by Tom Fazio, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus will definitely keep you fully engaged for an unforgettable week of fall golf. Your luxurious little cabin on the shores of Table Rock Lake is the icing on the cake. www.bigcedar.com.
CAPE BRETON, N.S.
The jury is in. The votes have been tallied. The score is settled. Canada’s best golf course is, hands down, Cabot Cliffs.
Routed high above the wave-smashed coastline near Inverness, Cabot Cliffs is a dramatic seaside course that rivals anything in the world. It’s stunning. It’s bucket-list worthy. And a trip here, even though it will take a bit of work to get to (the best way is to fly into Sydney and loop around the legendary Cabot Trail), will exceed all of your expectations.
Unquestionably, a three-day stay at Cabot Links — the original Rod Whitman-designed Links Course is nearly as good as Cabot Cliffs — is the way to go. When you consider the first-rate lodging, the food, the ambience — and those gorgeous fall colours! — you’ve got a golf vacation that is second-to-none in Canada.
To round out the trip, a couple of nights at the Keltic Lodge in Ingonish, home to Stanley Thompson’s masterpiece Cape Breton Highlands Links, is the exclamation mark. www.cabotlinks.com.
SAND VALLEY, WIS.
Dubbed the “Bandon Dunes of the American Midwest,” Sand Valley is the new kid on the block when it comes to pure, old-world golf. Like Bandon, the golf is raw and rugged, played among towering sand dunes, and is walking only.
There are two incredible courses at Sand Valley — one by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and one by transplanted Scotsman David McLay Kidd — and both are lay-of-the-land beauties that won’t disappoint.
Not surprisingly, Sand Valley, conceived by Mike Keiser (the man behind Bandon Dunes), follows the same time-tested “themes” of his other properties.
The lodging is first-rate, the food is phenomenal, and the caddies are awesome.
It’s old-school golf with plenty of tasteful twists along the way. And, if you go in fall, you can enjoy moderate temperatures, prime tee times and brilliant fall foliage. www.sandvalley.com.
Obviously, there are dozens of delightful destinations to chase your ball around in fall. Muskoka. Vermont. Quebec. Maine. The list goes on and on. And, to be honest, on the right day and with the right people, marvellous memories can be made anywhere.
That’s the beauty of fall golf. Even your local muni with that one brilliant maple tree can do in a pinch.
You’re not likely to forget a trip to play the stunning par-4 12th on the Tom Fazio-designed Buffalo Ridge Springs course at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Mo.