Dominic Pizzulli of Florida enjoys the game of golf and often picks up a game whenever he’s traveling. In the following article, Dominic Pizzulli discusses the inseparable bond between the game and the awe-inspiring natural beauty that surrounds it.
A game of golf has always been too enticing to turn down.
Around 50 years after it was first formally played in the early 15th century, golf was already seen as a serious distraction. In 1457, it was banned by James II of Scotland, reportedly because he thought young men were playing golf too much instead of devoting time to archery practice.
Golf’s allure has only increased since the sport can be played around the world on courses with breathtaking scenery: plunging cliffs, ocean waves, rugged sand dunes, canyons, lighthouses, and even vineyards.
A round of 18 on these courses is truly unforgettable.
Dominic Pizzulli Highlights Bay Harbor Golf Club
The mind doesn’t immediately go to Michigan when thinking about beautiful golf courses, but Bay Harbor Golf Club features not just one but three distinctive and gorgeous courses on the Lake Michigan coast.
Overlooking Little Traverse Bay, Bay Harbor’s trio of nine-hole courses offer legendary lakefront views, perfectly landscaped greens, and striking gorges. Each course is unique, with golfers regularly noting Bar Harbor’s Scottish feel and praising the Preserve Course which takes them through a wooded reserve.
How does a little bit of Northern Lights with golf sound? The Lofoten Links Golf Club in Norway is situated on an island on the Arctic Circle, making it one of the very few courses where golf can be played in broad daylight 24 hours a day through the summer.
Dominic Pizzulli notes that what makes it truly special is that it’s a great place to spot the Northern Lights hovering over the Norwegian Sea.
Cypress Point and Pebble Beach Golf Links
Arguably the two most beautiful golf courses in California (and there are many of them), a game at Cypress Point or Pebble Beach Golf Links means hours soaking in the scenery of jagged cliffs, strong Pacific Ocean waves, and gently rolling sand dunes near the ridiculously picturesque town of Carmel.
Dominic Pizzulli mentions that Cypress Point, which celebrates its 100th birthday in 2028, incorporates the Del Monte Forest and features an iconic No. 16 hole that requires a 231-yard tee over the Pacific. The public Pebble Beach Golf Links is consistently rated the top course in the country, public or private, with each of its holes considered masterpieces.
Royal County Down
Golf may have its official start in Scotland, but Northern Island is home to the consistently top-ranked Royal County Down Golf Club, with its championship courses ranked No. 1 on Golf Monthly’s 2023-2024 list of the best courses in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Dominic Pizzulli says that the setting is nothing less than spectacular, with the Mountains of Mourne as a backdrop as golfers take in thrilling views and bunkering that fits seamlessly with the natural beauty of the region. It’s even somewhat otherworldly.
Oitavos Dunes Golf Course
Dominic Pizzulli of Florida wonders maybe this is why Portugal has exploded in popularity with tourists recently? Carved out on land featuring pine forests and sand dunes, Oitavos in Cascais, about 50 kilometers west of Lisbon, includes evocative Silver Coast scenery with the rugged Sintra Mountains serving as the backdrop.
Oitavos was designed by legendary American golf course designer Arthur Hills, who created hundreds of well-regarded courses around the world.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
Dominic Pizzulli also notes that Shinnecock is notable for being America’s first clubhouse and the first club that admitted women members. It’s also one of National Geographic’s top golf courses.
What makes this challenging Long Island course a dream is its south shore terrain and trees shaken by Atlantic winds. A true classic.
Golf is the unofficial sport of Arizona, home to a large number of retirees and a longstanding hotspot for golf vacation travel. Desert Highlands in Scottsdale boasts stunning and stark mountain, desert, and valley views, and was the first desert course designed by Jack Nicklaus.
It effortlessly blends in with the unique fauna of the American Southwest. For an even rockier landscape experience, try out the dramatic Dinosaur Mountain course in Gold Canyon, Arizona.
Kelly Plantation Golf Club
Florida is home to over 1,250 golf courses, thanks to its nearly year-round sunshine. Many of them have spectacular views, but Kelly Plantation in Destin is widely considered the most visually impressive.
Dominic Pizzulli says that what was once a turpentine plantation along the Choctawhatchee Bay is now a spot with 7,000 yards of exquisitely smooth greens. The best view is perhaps hole No. 4, surrounded by magnolias and offering an unmatched panoramic bay view.