Have you ever come upon a golf course you'd never previously heard of, only to play it and be completely blown away with how much you enjoyed it?
Discovering "hidden gems" is one of the greatest joys of golf travel, but it's not limited just to random one-off courses (though there are plenty of them, and we love uncovering them for you).
There are whole golf resorts out there that, for some reason, don't have nearly the name recognition we feel they deserve.
We've found eight standouts; here they are. Just don't tell too many of your friends about them, okay?
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
Where it is: St Simons Island, Georgia
Why you don't know it too well (but should): Chances are you've heard of Sea Island, the large, luxe resort that immediately comes to mind on the Georgia coast. But King and Prince, with a fine Joe Lee course that boasts beautiful marsh views, should not be overlooked, especially if the considerable expense of a stay at Sea Island is intimidating. Accommodations on property, which predates World War II, come in a wide variety, from resort-view rooms to oceanfront suites and villas.
Where it is: Wheeling, West Virginia
Why you don't know it too well (but should): Far enough west for most Northeasterners to discount it, Oglebay is delightfully peaceful, scenic and family-oriented. I had the opportunity to discover its charms last year, when I was invited to a friends wedding. I thoroughly enjoyed my round at the Arnold Palmer-designed Klieves Course and the accommodations in the Wilson Lodge. There is also a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design on property, as well as the sporty, quirky Crispin Course.
Crystal Springs Resort
Where it is: Sussex County, New Jersey
Why you don't know it too well (but should): With six golf courses, Crystal Springs may be the biggest golf resort with which you're not familiar. But especially in the case of its flagship Ballyowen Course, designed by Roger Rulewich and ranked year after year as one of the best in the state, ignorance is far from bliss. Robert von Hagge, George Fazio and Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed the other layouts at the resort.
Salishan Golf Resort & Spa
Where it is: Gleneden Beach, Oregon
Why you don't know it too well (but should): Coastal Oregon resort golf is understandably dominated by one name - "Bandon" - but don't sleep on Salishan, which is home to a picturesque Peter Jacobsen design and a AAA Four-Diamond hotel. Its location about 140 miles due north of Bandon makes it a great waypoint on the way to or from Portland, especially if you're either itching to get some golf under your belt immediately or looking for one last round before flying out.
Where it is: Rockport, Maine
Why you don't know it too well (but should): Overlooking Penobscot Bay, Samoset dates all the way back to 1889, and its golf course dates to 1902. Recent renovation efforts have stretched the course to just under 6,600 yards, par 70, making it a test for everyone.
Where it is: Sylacauga, Albama
Why you don't know it too well (but should): Based on size, quality and value, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail dominates all conversation about golf in the Yellowhammer State. Farmlinks has just one golf course, designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry but it's good enough to have captured Golfweek's #1 ranking for the state the last four years. The property, Pursell Farms, is 3,500 acres in size, and is a haven for hunters and fishermen as well as golfers. Guests are given use of their own golf cart for getting around the property.
The Wilderness Club
Where it is: Eureka, Montana
Why you don't know it too well (but should): Northwest Montana is not exactly the easiest place in the world to get to, but it is one of the more beautiful and peaceful once you arrive. The Nick Faldo-designed course here is complemented by luxury "golf suites" on site, and for groups who are looking for entertainment beyond golf, there are abundant fly fishing and trap shooting opportunities on offer, among others.
Gasparilla Inn & Club
Where it is: Boca Grande, Florida
Why you don't know it too well (but should): Even native Floridians are not universally likely to be able to locate Boca Grande on a map. It's not so much remote as less famous than the bigger and better-known cities of Miami, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Jacksonville, and even resort destinations like Boca Raton, Naples and Panama City Beach. This lack of name recognition allows Gasparilla Inn & Club, a quiet and luxurious hotel and clutch of cottages, as well as a lovely Pete Dye-redesigned golf course, to fly far under-the-radar in its location between Sarasota and Fort Myers.
What under-the-radar golf resorts have you come across in your travels? Share your recommendations in the comments!