The Cradle is the new Gil Hanse-designed short course at the Cradle of Golf, Pinehurst Resort. (Courtesy of Pinehurst Resort) The Carolina Club is one the outstanding values the Outer Banks of North Carolina. (Courtesy of The Carolina Club) The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a Ryder Cup and PGA Championship venue. (Courtesy of Kiawah Island) At the Golden Horseshoe you can play the Gold Course.  (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor) Pete Dye's imaginative bunkering, such as this one on the par-3 seventh, is unmistakable. But Full Cry is much more playable than most Dye layouts. (Courtesy of Keswick Hall) A view from the tee on the par-4 second hole of the Dye Course at French Lick Resort. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor) The 15th green on the Wolf, which is the longest of the three courses at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. (Courtesy of Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort) Pete Dye's signature bunkering is evident on the seventh hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)

From Pinehurst to PGA West, top golf vacation packages to take this fall coast-to-coast

A strong case could made for fall as the best time to take a golf trip. You're getting relief from the summer heat, courses are usually in great shape, and the kids are back in school. It's a great time for buddy trips, of course, and it's not a bad time to book a romantic couples getaway either.

Fortunately, some prime golf properties are making some fall packages fairly attractive, from the Carolinas all the way to California and in between. Here are some ideas:

North Carolina excursions

The big news is that on Sept. 30, there's a new offering at Pinehurst called The Cradle, a 789-yard golf course designed by Gil Hanse that's sure to enhance any trip to what is arguably the "cradle of golf" in the United States.

The Cradle is a nine-hole short course located just a few steps from the clubhouse. Featuring holes ranging from 56 to 127 yards, it is the same area where, in 1898, Dr. Leroy Culver carved the first nine holes out of the sand at Pinehurst.

"As we embark on the latest era at Pinehurst, it's symbolic that our newest course sits on the same ground as the original first holes of golf at Pinehurst," said Pinehurst wwner and CEO Bob Dedman Jr. "We look forward to watching players of all ages and all abilities enjoy golf at The Cradle."

Of course, the main draw at Pinehurst is the famed No. 2 Course, which has played host to numerous U.S. Opens, including 2014 when it was the site of both men's and women's U.S. championships. It's one of nine regulation golf courses at Pinehurst, all of which you can play if you book one of the Acura Fall Golf Packages at Pinehurst (there's a $195 surcharge for playing No. 2). You can stay at one of several golf properties at Pinehurst, including the Carolina Hotel with prices around $2,000 for double occupancy for three nights and three days of golf, plus a $300 gift card to be used at the resort.

If you're looking for a really affordable golf getaway, you could also check out North Carolina’s Outer Banks of Wright Bros. fame, where you can not only enjoy some memorable golf but the quaint villages and towns with funky names like Currituck, Corolla, Coinjock, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Duck and Kitty Hawk. October golf packages start at $275 per person with three rounds of golf at courses like at The Carolina Club, Kilmarlic Golf Club and The Pointe Golf Club and two nights accommodations. Click here for more info.

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Certainly, fall is the time to visit the Carolinas, so why not Kiawah Island, site of the famous "War by the Shore" Ryder Cup and the 2021 PGA Championship. Right now, Kiawah is offering free lodging upgrades to any one of its existing stay-and-play packages at The Sanctuary or one its private villas and homes. The packages begin at $409 per person per night and include lodging and a round of golf per day at any one of Kiawah's five championship courses. A surcharge, however, applies to rounds at the Ocean Course, but if you're going to be there, you have to play it, right? You can find more details here.

Video: Ginella on his favorite shoulder season fall golf packages

Virginia: Golden Horseshoe, Keswick Hall

It doesn't get much better than the fall colors in historic Virginia. Among the most memorable golf resorts are the Golden Horseshoe in Colonial Williamsburg and nearby Keswick Hall and Golf Club with the historic backdrops of the Revolutionary War and Jefferson's Monticello nearby.

At the Golden Horseshoe, you can enjoy layouts from Robert Trent Jones Sr., and son Rees Jones with unlimited play on all three courses as well free replays and overnight accommodations, starting at $179 per night, depending on which hotel you choose. The package includes unlimited use of the recently expanded practice facilities.

Keswick Hall, which is located just outside of Charlottesville, offers the charm of a century old mountain villa and one of Pete Dye's most playable and enjoyable courses ever, Full Cry. Gourmet, spa and golf packages are available, starting around $600 per night.

French Lick, Indiana

French Lick Resort - West Baden Springs Hotel French Lick's West Baden Springs Hotel

This is where Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird grew up, but a lot of people still don't know about the legendary golf there. September and October would be great times to visit French Lick (you can fly into Louisville Kentucky a couple hours away) for golf on a couple of outstanding golf courses. Both the Donald Ross and Pete Dye courses are must plays, and there are packages that include both, starting around $560, which includes a night at one of the resort's accommodation spots, including the incredible West Baden Springs Hotel. The Ross Course goes back a century, while the Pete Dye Course, though hard, is incredibly beautiful. Both, which are ranked among the top 100 courses you can play, are always in terrific shape.

TPC Network's Golf the Gridiron

TPC's "Golf the gridiron" fall specials are back for football season. Six participating TPCs in the coast-to-coast, including TPC Sawgrass and TPC Harding Park, offer group rates with plenty of perks like drink tickets, complimentary rental clubs and free meals. You can view details here.

Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort

Fall is probably my favorite time of year to hit Las Vegas. Not only is the weather finally starting to cool down (October and November are ideal), but it's also football season. And there's nothing laying down a small wager or two in the sports books and getting a tee time one of Vegas's terrific layouts.

One in particular that's attractive is Paiute Golf Club, which has three golf courses all designed by Pete Dye and led by the 7,600-yard Wolf Course. Paiute doesn't overseed, which means there are no interruptions in the fall, and the courses are usually in the best shape they will be in all year. Located around 25 minutes north of the Strip, you can find hotel deals at casinos near Paiute to put together some good golf packages. Play in the afternoon and you can get some pretty good rates.

PGA West at La Quinta Resort & Club, California

Winter is prime season for PGA West, of course, but the fall isn't too bad either. While it's still pretty hot in the fall in the Palm Springs area, it's certainly bearable compared to summer and more than comfortable in the mornings and late afternoons. Best of all, this is one of the best spots in America for golf with six courses, including the famed Stadium Course at PGA West, as well as great dining, accommodations, spa and plenty of other activities. Unlimited golf packages start out around $300 per night at the resort's Waldorf Astoria casita rooms.

Sep 12, 2017

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Mike Bailey

Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.