THREE GREAT PLACES TO EN­JOY GOLF­ING ON A PER­FECT FALL DAY

Calgary Herald - - TRAVEL - AN­DREW PEN­NER An­drew Pen­ner is a free­lance writer and pho­tog­ra­pher based in Cal­gary. You can fol­low him on In­sta­gram @an­drew­pen­ner­pho­tog­ra­phy.

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.

BRAN­SON, MO.

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.

AN­DREW PEN­NER

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.

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