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Plan Your Next Summer Vacation Around These Top Coastal Golf Courses

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Summer is as much about backyards and local parks as it is getting out of dodge—whether it be glampingyachting, private jetting, or all of the above. But RealClearLife knows that you’re not just the sit-around-and-read types, so we’ve put together a list of athletic alternatives in the form of the top coastal golf resorts in the world. That way, you can up your heart-rate a bit and then make time for soaking in the rays while sitting poolside or getting a post-round massage. Take a look at our picks below.

Cabot Cliffs – Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Cabot Cliffs
The 16th Hole at Cabot Cliffs (Evan Schiller)

 

It’ll be difficult not to bogey at least one of Cabot’s 36 holes, considering the incredible panoramas you’ll see while playing a round at either of the resort’s courses. Located along the shoreline of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the Cabot Links resort features a pair of golf courses surrounded by stunning natural beauty—or quite possibly, the worst hazards known to man. It boasts the only authentic links course in the vast northern territory, and there’s now a sister course, Cabot Cliffs, which officially opened in the beginning of June and is a simply killer experience. (It was also designed by Bill Coore and two-time green jacket winner “Gentle” Ben Crenshaw, so you know what you’re in for.) For course rates, click here.

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort – Bandon, Oregon

 

Bandon Dunes
(Courtesy of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort)

 

Course designer David McLay Kidd basically injected Scotland’s weather-tossed look on the Oregon coast, shaping Bandon Dunes to fit right into its naturally stunning environment. Perched high above the Pacific Ocean, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the vistas—or the variety of indigenous vegetation, which will make for tricky (if not impossible) shots on some of its most majestic holes. For more on Bandon Dunes, click here.

 

The Ocean Course – Kiawah Island, South Carolina

 

Kiawah Golf
(Courtesy of Kiawah Island Golf Resort)

 

Having hosted each of the PGA’s major championships, Kiawah’s Ocean Course is a giant among men when it comes to the overall golf-playing experience. Designed in 1991 by Pete Dye, the course’s winds are a well-known natural hazard to players. But forget about the impediments for a moment: The course has the most seaside holes of any in the Northern Hemisphere. So when you’re six over par and knee-deep in a sand trap, you can shout expletives into the winds blowing off of the Atlantic Ocean. For more information on the Ocean Course, click here.

 

The Plantation Course – Maui, Hawaii

 

Plantation Course
(Courtesy of Kapalua Golf)

 

The best you’re going to find on Hawaii, the highly coveted Plantation Course is another gem from the Coore-Crenshaw team, set right in the West Maui Mountains, with breathtaking views around every corner. Here, the issue is elevation changes, with a number of tricky downhill tee shots. Each January, the course hosts the PGA’s Tournament of Champions, so even if you’re not having the best game, you’ll feel like a champion. Click here for more on the course.

 

The Course at the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort – Sicily, Italy

Verdura Golf Course
(Courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels)

 

The Verdura resort on the island of Sicily boasts three separate golf courses—two 18-holers and a nine-hole jaunt for novices—all with unbeatable views of the Mediterranean Sea. Designed by Kyle Phillips, whose expert touch has graced courses in Austria, Brazil, China, and England, the 18-hole courses, dubbed simply “East” and “West,” have five different tee positions on every hole. So be sure to bring your thinking cap as well as your best set of drivers. Click here for more information.

 

The Dunes Course at Costa Navarino – Pilos, Greece

Best Coastal Golf Courses
(Courtesy of Costa Navarino)

This six-year-old course was designed by Masters winner and Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer. With both sea and river views, the Dunes Course is set among olive and fruit groves—but don’t let the serene environment fool you: wide fairways and large greens make it a game where precision counts. For more information on the course, click here.

 

Pebble Beach Golf Links – Pebble Beach, California

Pebble Beach
(Joann Dost)

 

Good luck getting a tee time at Pebble Beach Golf Links. But if you’re one of the lucky few, it’ll be nothing short of the round of a lifetime. Open since 1919, the course has played host to some of the greatest moments in golf history, including Tom Watson’s dramatic 1982 U.S. Open win and Tiger Woods’ 15-stroke blowout in 2000, which tied the course record for the lowest 72-hole score. Add in the Pacific coastal views, and you’ve got yourself an double-eagle of an experience. Click here to reserve a tee time.