Golf's Greatest Off-Course Experiences

So, today I'm going to share a few more ways to not play golf.

Wait -- that didn't come out right.

What I mean is...ways you can have very meaningful -- often moving -- golf experiences in your travels on days when you're not playing golf.

Here's my list of 14, but I'd love your help with the final four to get to 18 (because all golf lists have to have cute numbers like 9 or 18, right?)

Tour the Factory of a Major Equipment Maker (Nationwide)
I'm not sure if the other big companies do this anymore, but Ping still runs group tours of its assembly areas at its Phoenix factory on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 9 am.

Visit Bobby Jones' Gravesite (Atlanta, Ga.)
Many tour pros do this for good luck before The Masters and you can do it, too. Just head to Oakland Cemetery in downtown Atlanta and tee up or place a golf ball beside the headstone of the late, great Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones.

Visit the World Golf Hall of Fame (St. Augustine, Fla.)
C'mon, it's golf's hall of fame!

Visit the USGA Museum (Far Hills, N.J.)
If you want to learn the story of golf in America, this is the place to do it. Huge collection of exhibits, artifacts, books, and you can tour the equipment test center, too.

Visit the Home / Shop of Old Tom Morris (St. Andrews, Scotland)
6 The Links is where Old Tom lived until his final days. Next door, at 8 The Links, is his golf shop which claims to be his first, although recent reports say it may have been located at 15 The Links.

Visit the Birthplace of Donald Ross (Dornoch, Scotland)
Thanks to reader Rich K., for this one. If you're into golf course architects, you can visit the birthplace of one of the game's greatest at 5 St. Gilbert Street in Dornoch, Scotland.

Get Some High Tech Advice (Nationwide)
Go to one of those places where you can get recorded, mapped, measured, and analyzed and you'll never see your swing the same way again.

Get Some Low Tech Advice (Nationwide)
Sometimes you'll get the most out of a Zen master-like teacher who relies on technology the least, like Tour player advisor Jaime Mulligan or old-school, top-100 instructor Manuel de la Torre.

Visit Oakhurst Links (White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.)
One of America's oldest golf courses (1884) where the game is still played with hickory shafted clubs and gutta-percha type balls (period attire, too) was "rescued" in 2012 by Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice.

Walk Pine Valley (Pine Valley, N.J.)
You may not be able to play Pine Valley, but you can walk the course every year when the club hosts its annual Crump Cup amateur tournament. The public is invited to watch the final round and you can walk the fairways right alongside the players.

Attend The Masters (Augusta, Ga.)
You've seen and heard it all, but nothing compares to being there. And with practice/opening round access readily available and inexpensive (compared to weekend badges), anyone who can get to Augusta can get in to see Augusta National and The Masters.

Have Lunch at Muirfield (Gullane, Scotland)
Ok, so this one technically involves golf, but it's too good not to include. After your morning round at this world-top-10 course, you put a sport jacket, sit at the club's long, community tables (often alongside members), and dig into an all-world lunch before heading back out for an afternoon round of alternate shot.

Visit a Great Player's Museum (Nationwide)
If you want to deep dive into the life and times of one of the game's greats, consider going to a dedicated gallery like the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, Ohio or the Ben Hogan Museum in Dublin, Texas.

Read the Classics (Anywhere)
Masters like Herbert Warren Wind and Bernard Darwin often describe golf in a way that's more enjoyable than playing it (especially if your game is in a rut).

That's 14. Can you help me round out a list of 18 with things you've seen or done that are very golf-y, but didn't involve playing golf?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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Golf's Greatest Off-Course Experiences
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