The golf course at King & Prince has an intriguing feature: a cluster of holes entirely surrounded by wetlands. (King &; Prince Beach & Golf Resort)

8 of the Best Golf Resorts You've Never Heard Of



This article originally appeared on GolfVacationInsider.com

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 golf course at King & Prince has an intriguing feature: a cluster of holes entirely surrounded by wetlands. (King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort)

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.

Oglebay Resort's Arnold Palmer-designed Klieves Course has an intriguing set of par threes, including the drop-shot 13th.

Oglebay Resort

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 may be the biggest little-known golf resort in the Northeast. Its Ballyowen course is known as one of the best resort/public courses in New Jersey. (Crystal Springs Resort)

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.

"Coastal Oregon Golf" immediately calls Bandon to mind, but Salishan is a pleasant waypoint between Portland and Bandon. (Salishan 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.

It seems strange that a resort whose golf course has a number of holes with Atlantic Ocean views could be little-known, but The Samoset is such a place. (The Samoset Resort)

Samoset Resort

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.

Despite the dominance of the Robert Trent Jones Trail over Alabama golf, we're shocked that Farmlinks at Pursell Farms flies under the radar as much as it does. (Farmlinks/Pursell Farms)

Farmlinks/Pursell Farms

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's Nick Faldo-designed course is big, bold and beautiful. (The Wilderness Club)

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's Pete Dye-redesigned course features stunning long-range water views. (Gasparilla Inn & Club)

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!

Oct 06, 2015



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Tim Gavrich's avatar
Tim Gavrich wrote at 2015-10-07 17:06:54+00:00:

Jim--<br/> Isn't Squire Creek a private club?<br/> --Tim

Jim J.-Nebr's avatar
Jim J.-Nebr wrote at 2015-10-07 16:44:34+00:00:

If you're ever in Louisiana you must play Squire Creek, Choudrant, LA....just a few miles from Ruston, LA..it has excellent lodging plus tennis courts.

Paul's avatar
Paul wrote at 2015-10-07 00:51:47+00:00:

My wife and I love the Samoset Resort and it's golf course. Fantastic place to stay in the summer to enjoy the Maine coast. Service is excellent.

Tim Gavrich's avatar
Tim Gavrich wrote at 2015-10-07 00:39:49+00:00:

Alan--<br/> That's another shot of Samoset.<br/> --Tim

P Stamates's avatar
P Stamates wrote at 2015-10-07 00:19:47+00:00:

Zanesville Ohio is the home of eagle stixs golf course a definite hidden gem.Also not to far away is longenberger golf course. A great overnight trip for two great courses

Mark Janicki's avatar
Mark Janicki wrote at 2015-10-06 23:44:34+00:00:

Going to Oakmont for the US Open next June . . . anything good to play in the Pittsburgh area?

alan's avatar
alan wrote at 2015-10-06 20:43:12+00:00:

Did you identify the location of the first picture with the breakwater and lighthouse?

Rick Faye's avatar
Rick Faye wrote at 2015-10-06 20:34:26+00:00:

How about Fairfield Glade in Tennessee. 5 championship courses and a Wyndham Resort all within a couple of miles of each other.Resort

Tim Gavrich's avatar
Tim Gavrich wrote at 2015-10-06 20:21:36+00:00:

Rob--<br/> The Jones course was being aerified when I was at Oglebay, so the Palmer course was the only one available at Speidel that day. I hope to get back there at some point to play the Jones course, as well as the Crispin Course, which looked quirky and a lot of fun.<br/> --Tim

Rob's avatar
Rob wrote at 2015-10-06 20:15:53+00:00:

You should have played the Jones course at Oglebay. My buddies have been going there for 40+ years and all like the Jones course better than the Palmer.

Billy B (IND)'s avatar
Billy B (IND) wrote at 2015-10-06 20:02:20+00:00:

Just returned from a golf trip to Pursell Farms / Farmlinks. Terrific course and value. Accommodations and food were terrific. If you are OK with 1 (very solid) course, I highly recommend.

TK's avatar
TK wrote at 2015-10-06 19:14:39+00:00:

I, too have played Farmlinks GC and now with the addition of guest cabins, it is definitely one of the best locations to play golf in Alabama. The course is always in immaculate condition with a great variety of holes, especially the Par 3 #6 (I believe - going by memory). 200 ft drop from tee to green...

One green fee includes unlimited golf, lunch and all the snacks and drinks (no alcohol) you get stomach.

Need I say more?

TK

Ron L. (NY)'s avatar
Ron L. (NY) wrote at 2015-10-06 18:04:59+00:00:

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs 27 holes, Sycuan Resort in San Diego 54 holes and Caribe Hilton in Ponce,PR. 27 holes Have been going to Ponce for 13 years. super golf package, great weather during the winter and the course is never crowded.

Scotty Y's avatar
Scotty Y wrote at 2015-10-06 17:35:43+00:00:

I have played Farmlinks and it was Awesome. Maumee Bay Golf Club, Oregon, Ohio is a somewhat hidden gem. It has cottages and lodge but only 18 great holes of golf. Hawks Head in South Haven MI has a small lodge and great Arthur Hills links course.

Mike D's avatar
Mike D wrote at 2015-10-06 17:32:50+00:00:

Pete and Shaun - those are not under the radar places but very popular. I've played a lot of courses (almost 900) and most of these I have not been to, so I would say these are definitely not well known. I hope to try a few of them out in the next year.

Doug. (IND)'s avatar
Doug. (IND) wrote at 2015-10-06 17:06:57+00:00:

Also in West Virginia is Glade Springs, home of three courses of varying difficulty. We've found it to be a good value, particularly when compared to its sister resort, Greenbrier, owned by the same people. Glade is used as a Monday Qualifier course for the Greenbrier Classic.

Shaun's avatar
Shaun wrote at 2015-10-06 16:36:02+00:00:

You forgot about Treetops in Gaylord, MI. That is a gem of a resort that is a little off the beaten path. You know, if the two of us teamed up, we could cover more ground and have a little competition to see who finds the best deal for the group of golfers looking to take vacation?

pete from NH's avatar
pete from NH wrote at 2015-10-06 16:33:21+00:00:

We have had excellent luck with Ventana Canyon in Tucson. Two good courses, nice rooms, friendly service and much cheaper than Ritz Dove Mountain which has the big name.


Tim Gavrich

Senior Writer

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor and the Managing Editor of the Golf Vacation Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.