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written by | Posted on April 30th, 2013

The Soffer Course at Turnberry Osle Miami in Florida.

mission inn resort & club, florida

The Property: Set in the rolling hills of Central Florida, family-owned Mission Inn Resort & Club is a quiet retreat that’s still close to major attractions in Orlando. Located on 1,100 acres, the 176-room resort features accommodations ranging from deluxe rooms to 3-bedroom penthouse suites and 3-bedroom villas located in three inns on the property. What adds more charm to this Spanish Colonial resort is that its design was inspired after owner Nick Beucher—whose family runs the resort today—traversed through Mexico on horseback in 1939.

The Golf: What sets this Florida golf resort apart from others in the state is the elevation due to the rolling hills. The resort features two courses: the par 72 El Campeon historical course built in 1917, with water on 13 of the 18 holes; and the newer—and longer—Las Colinas course designed by PGA player Gary Koch in 1992. If your client is looking for a challenge, they’ll love the obstacles thrown at them on El Campeon’s signature hole, the 17th. A perk about the courses? Most of the time they are not busy, so golfers don’t have to worry about them being backed up, the resort says. And with three onsite golf academies, beginners won’t feel left out, either.

Accommodations at JW Marriot Desert Springs Resort & Spa in California

The Amenities: With three restaurants, guests can choose from buffet-style lunch and dinner at La Hacienda, which overlooks El Campeon’s 17th hole; lunch at Nicker’s overlooking the golf course and lake with all-you-can-eat crab legs, sushi and prime rib buffet on Saturdays; or El Conquistador for fine dining. Guests looking for a bit of relaxation can head over to the full-service Spa Marbella for treatments and therapies.

The Scene: Located just 35 minutes from Orlando, families can easily plan a day trip to attractions like Walt Disney World. Nature lovers will also feel at home with the wide range of outdoor activities, from wildlife and nature trails to canoeing in Juniper and Wekiva Springs. Nearby, guests can go antiquing in the lakeside town of Mount Dora or tour the Lakeridge Winery in Clermont.

The Rates: The Golfer’s Getaway package includes deluxe accommodations; buffet breakfast at La Hacienda daily; greens fees for 18 holes daily; advance tee times; shared cart for 18 holes daily; daily range balls; and club cleaning storage and bag tag. Rates start at $149 pp dbl, per night.

Mission Inn Resort & Club in Central Florida

turnberry isle miami, florida

The Property: Spread out over 300 acres, Turnberry Isle Miami is ideal for guests seeking a tropical paradise that’s still close to major cities. The Mediterranean-style resort features 408 guestrooms and suites oozing in luxury, with French doors leading to private terraces with picturesque views of the gardens, pools and golf courses. “From the vibrant, emerald-green hue of the paspalum grass, which stays bright green year-round, to our signature 18-hole island green on the Soffer Course overlooked by a 64-ft. waterfall, Turnberry Isle Miami has quickly evolved into one of the country’s premier golf destinations,” says the hotel’s managing director, Paige Koerbel.

The Golf: With two courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and reinterpreted by golf hall of famer Raymond Floyd, golfers are in for “two challenging, yet artful masterpieces,” says Koerbel of the 18-hole championship Soffer and Miller courses. “But what truly makes our courses stand out are their aesthetics,” Koerbel adds. The open fairways and giant greens built 40 years ago have been replaced with tropical landscaping and coquina shell waste areas and other special touches. “With knowledgeable forecaddies, supplemented by contoured fairways, clever doglegs, undulating greens, sculpted bunkers and strategically placed water features, both courses at Turnberry Isle Miami are challenging, yet sure to provide a wonderful experience for players at all ability levels,” he says.

The Amenities: While the two courses draw both locals and golf pros to the resort, guests can take their pick of a variety of other activities. Whether they are in the mood for a treatment at the 3-story, four-star Spa & Fitness Center—all linked by a spiral staircase with a glass dome skylight overhead—or parents want time away from the kids (bring them to the Kids’ Connection program for activities like Zumba and gymnastics), guests of all ages will find something to peak their interest.

The Scene: While the resort offers enough activities to keep guests busy—from the Cañas Tennis Academy to the Laguna Pool with its 35-ft. waterslide and lazy river—your client is near one of the hottest cities in the U.S., after all. Outdoor activities are endless in South Florida, from kayaking and paddleboarding in Oleta River State Park to airboat rides in Everglades National Park. And for the shopaholics, the resort is across from Aventura Mall, with department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, and not too far from the super luxe shops at Bal Harbour.

The Rates: The Slice & Dice with Executive Chef John Sexton package allows guests to meet chef Sexton, who also takes guests on an escorted tour of the onsite garden, where they are served passion fruit tea in a coconut or a bloody mary. In addition, guests play nine holes with the chef and receive the “chefs of Turnberry experience” on holes 3, 6 and 9; take shots from an elevated tee on the 9th hole, followed by a fire & ice shrimp demonstration; and receive a cooking demo followed by a private lunch or dinner. Rates start at $500 pp, and the package is available for two to four people.

Mission Inn Resort & Club in Central Florida

four seasons resort scottsdale at troon north, arizona

The Property: What was once the Crescent Moon Ranch, a finishing school for debutantes run by a member of the Kellogg family, is now a 210-room resort in Scottsdale overlooking Valley of the Sun. Designed to blend into the desert’s surroundings, the resort features adobe-style design with 25 separate 2- and 3-story casita buildings.

The Golf: Named one of the top 75 golf resorts in North America in 2011 by Golf Digest, golfers know they are in for a treat at the two championships courses—The Pinnacle and The Monument—at the neighboring Troon North Golf Club. The courses have recently been renovated with new layouts by the original designer and British Open Champion Tom Weiskopf, creating the ultimate desert golf experience in the midst of Pinnacle Peak.

The Amenities: Guests can relax at a poolside cabana,surrounded by desert views, and kids can take a swim in the children’s pool, located at the end of the main pool. Highlights include chilled towels, fruit skewers and Evian spritz. While at the pool, guests can grab a bite at Saguaro Blossom or head inside to the Onyx Bar & Lounge.

The Scene: Outdoor activities excel here in Scottsdale, with horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking and hot air balloon rides over the Sonoran Desert. Guests can also take to the trails on a guided Hummer or Jeep tour, stopping to explore Native American ruins and ghost towns.

The Rates: The Golf Package for Two includes casita accommodations; two rounds of golf at Troon North Golf Club (for each night’s stay); and a welcome amenity. Weekend rates start at $528 per night.

Four Seasons Resort Scotsdale at Troon North in Arizona offers two championship courses

jw marriott desert springs resort & spa, california

The Property: Envision a four-star, four-diamond resort set on 450 acres in Palm Desert and you have this Southern California dream—JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. The resort, which recently underwent a $30 million renovation, features 884 deluxe rooms, including 51 suites, and, for the VIPs, the two Chairman’s Suites feature a living area, black baby grand piano and balcony overlooking the mountains.

The Golf: The resort’s two 18-hole championship courses, Palm and Valley, are designed by Ted Robinson, beautifullyintertwined with streams, lagoons and cascades, and feature the Santa Rosa Mountains as a backdrop. “The resort courses provide an atmosphere where all types of players and abilities can enjoy a great golf experience,” says the director of golf,
John Faulk. The Palm and Valley courses were part of the recent renovation, and the resort worked with Robinson’s son to update the courses and bring back details from the original design. Changes include moving the fairway bunkers closer to the center of the fairway, making the landing areas narrower; adding new bunkers to make the courses more challenging; creating a balanced tee box by laser-leveling and re-grassing tees andputting surfaces; and adding USGA specification TifEagle grass. “The courses stand out from those at other properties as there are many water features from cascading waterfalls toisland greens,” Faulk adds.

The Amenities: Walking is so passe here at JW Marriott Desert Springs, where guests can whisk away to dinner via a gondola on the lower lobby level. In fact, water seems to be the theme of this desert resort with its Venetian-inspired waterways, lakes, two main pool complexes, and the spa pool, overlooking the mountains and golf courses. The resort also offers complimentary tours on its lakes and waterways, as well as private boat charters. “Guests typically stay here as the resort offers most everything anyone would want to do onsite without having to leave the property,” Faulk says. “We have clientele of all ages that enjoy the variety of amenities offered.”

The Scene: The area is also home to some of the hottest festivals like the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Country Music Festival. For hiking and biking, head out to Joshua Tree National Park and Indian Canyons in Palm Springs Valley.

The Rates: The Unlimited Golf Package for Two includes guestroom accommodations; unlimited golf for two; andbreakfast for two at Rockwood Grill. Rates start at $255 per night on the weekend.

Poolside at The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua, Maui

the ritz-carlton, kapalua, maui

The Property: Drawing inspiration from the islands, the 463-room The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua in Maui incorporates Hawaiian traditions and style in everything from treatments at The Ritz-Carlton Spa to the Pacific cuisine at its six Maui restaurants, and rooms with island-inspired decor (and ocean views). The resort even maintains the Honokahua Preservation Site, a place where Native Hawaiians can take part in ceremonial traditions.

The Golf: With two 18-hole courses set on a 23,000-acre historic pineapple plantation offering views of the ocean and nearby islands, it’s no wonder Golf Digest named the Plantation Course the No. 1 course in Hawaii. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, this course is the home of the PGA TOUR’s season opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Meanwhile, the Bay Course, designed by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane, is also a top choice, with ocean and neighboring island views on 16 of its 18 holes.

The Amenities: In Maui, your clients have the best of both land and sea activities at their fingertips. White-sand beaches beckon guests to hop on a jet ski, go scuba diving or head off on a sunset sail; helicopter tours fly over the Haleakala Crater, rainforests of Hana and West Maui Mountains; and guests can go horseback riding through the pineapple fields. At night, continue taking in the spirit of the island with a Luau or Polynesian Review.

The Scene: From the minute guests arrive at the resort and receive a traditional Kukui Nut Lei in welcome, their Hawaiian retreat has begun. Your client can take a guided hike through the rainforest, go snorkeling and see the coral reefs or head off on a whale watching adventure with the resort’s Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program, an environmental and cultural education center that takes guests on guided excursions with experts.

The Rates: The Golf in Paradise package features accommodations in a Deluxe, Deluxe Ocean View, Club Ocean View or Residential Garden View Suite; two rounds of golf on the Plantation or Bay course; and buffet breakfast for two in the Terrace restaurant. Rates start at $729 per night.

perfect pairings: wine & golf

California is dotted with top golf resorts, but a trip to wine country isn’t complete without the wine. U.S.-based golf tour company Britannia Golf creates customized California Golf & Wine tours (call for rates) taking golfers to Napa and Sonoma Valley; Monterey and Half Moon Bay; Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley; and Pebble Beach and Carmel.

On the Napa and Sonoma Valley tour, your client can experience three rounds of golf at Sonoma Golf Club, Bodega Bay Golf Club and Silverado Golf Club (North Course) with accommodations at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. When they’re off the course, they’ll take part in insider private wine tasting tours and food pairings with California vintners, as well as explore wineries and estate cellars in Napa. Dinner will also be a grand event with wine experts guiding the selections. Clients interested in the Monterey and Half Moon Bay vacation will stay in accommodations such as The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay and Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, and go on tasting tours in the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Cruz Mountains. They can choose from a variety of course options, from The Links at Spanish Bay, set on the Monterey coastline and resembling Scotland, to the Half Moon Bay Golf Links Ocean Course overlooking the Pacific. (877) 249-7354; britanniagolf.com

Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive):
Top Golf Resorts: North America (May 2012)

contact information
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North: (
866) 888-6540 fourseasons.com/scottsdale|
JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa: (760) 341-2211; desertspringsresort.com
Mission Inn Resort & Club: (800) 874-9053; missioninnresort.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua: (808) 669-6200; ritzcarlton.com
Turnberry Isle Miami: (855) 201-8027; turnberryislemiami.com

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