The floodgates are open.
Every golf course open for business in America is finally ready for play. Golf weather has arrived in the Midwest and upper East Coast. That means leagues have started, and it's time to plan those summer trips.
With competition in full swing, golf resorts around the country are rolling out attractive summer packages to coax you to visit. I've found more than a few worth considering:
Northern Michigan's great escape
Boyne USA Resort's Great Escape All Inclusive Golf Vacation package is one of America's best deals for the golf fanatic. It includes five nights' stay starting Sunday nights at either Boyne Highlands Resort or Boyne Mountain Resort, breakfast and dinner daily, unlimited golf on the Monument and Alpine at Boyne Mountain and The Heather, The Hills, The Moor and The Donald Ross Memorial at Boyne Highlands and Crooked Tree Golf Club, preferred pricing at Bay Harbor Golf Club, a $25 gaming voucher at Odawa Casino in Petoskey and a welcome gift and reception for $922. For more information, visit www.boyne.com.
Guys getaway with Omni Golf
The Omni chain of hotels features a strong collection of 11 golf resorts across the country where you can book the "Guys Golf Getaway" package. Good with four or more golfers, it includes access to all resort amenities, along with unlimited golf (including arrival/departure days) and an in-room welcome amenity, an Omni "Brewski Bucket" full of beer and chef's selection of appetizers. Every member of the group also gets a $50 golf retail credit, daily breakfast, unlimited use of the resort's practice facilities and club storage. Prices vary depending on the resort, starting at $275 per person based on a three-night stay. For more information, visit www.omnihotels.com/destinations/golf.
Canada's inspiring Prince Edward Island
Golfers interested in PEI, as the locals call it, can build their own golf package until October 15th. Touted as Canada’s top golf destination, the island is a virtual floating green with 28 courses to choose from, highlighted by the seaside Links at Crowbush Cove, the wooded Brudenell River Golf Course and the bold, reddish bunkering of the Dundarave Golf Course.
Prices start $329 per person for two nights and three rounds. Away from golf are countless miles of beaches, welcoming locals and some of the freshest seafood from the Atlantic Ocean. For more information, visit www.golfpei.com or call 1-866-GOLF-PEI (465-3734).
A new course in Pennsylvania
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, a luxury resort in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, debuts its new Shepherd's Rock course July 12. The course, remastered by Pete Dye and associate Tim Liddy, teams with Dye's Mystic Rock, a former PGA TOUR host, for the "Double Dose of Dye Two Night" package, starting at $595 double occupancy per night. The single night package starts at $875. Both offer one round at each course, including cart and forecaddie fees. For more information, visit www.nemacolin.com.
Celebrating the RTJ Golf Trail
The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a bunch of great packages: 1, Playing one round of golf per day for two or more days starting at $73 per day; 2, Unlimited golf with cart starting at $96 per person; 3, Summer Swing for $128 includes one round at Magnolia Grove in Mobile and one round at Lakewood Golf Club in nearby Point Clear; 4, Summer Magic includes one round at Oxmoor Valley and one round at Ross Bridge for $173; 5, Play a day at Cambrian Ridge in Greenville, Highland Oaks in Dothan or Silver Lakes in Anniston/Gadsden and receive a day at that same Trail site of equal or lesser value for free; and 6, Golfers 65 years and older enjoy 20 percent off green fees Monday-Thursday.
The best deal, though, is $25 golf days across every trail site, including Silver Lakes (May 25), Magnolia Grove (June 15), Hampton Cove (June 29), Highland Oaks (July 13), The Shoals (July 20), Cambrian Ridge (Aug. 4), Capitol Hill (Aug. 7), Ross Bridge (Aug. 14), Grand National (Aug. 24) and Oxmoor Valley (Aug. 31). Call RTJ Reservations at 800-949-4444 for more information.
Golf bliss in Virginia
Wintergreen Resort in the Rockfish Valley of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains offers stay-and-play packages this summer and fall starting at $79 per person per night where guests can choose from studio suites and villa-style condominiums to nine-bedroom homes with fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces and deck. They can also choose their course, the exclusive Devils Knob or the 27-hole Stoney Creek Golf Course. For more information, visit www.wintergreenresort.com.
Also in Virginia, the Golden Horseshoe Resort is set to reopen its Gold Course after an extensive renovation. Golfers can be among the first to play it with a $179 stay-and-play that includes rental clubs and other trimmings.
A lady legend in Tahoe
On the weekend of July 21-23, the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, is offering a chance to meet World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Annika Sorenstam for members of its Ritz-Carlton Rewards Program, which is free to join and open for all. The two-night stay includes golf at Old Greenwood Golf Course in Truckee, a clinic by Sorenstam and a private reception at the new resort's new lakeside amenity, Lake Club, which opens in June. Single occupancy is available for $1,249 and double for $1,499. For more information, contact The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe at 530-562-3028.
Summer in Scottsdale
If you want to play the great courses of Scottsdale without the sticker shock of high season, now's the time to find some great deals. For example, rooms at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess ($169 and up including a daily $50 resort credit), Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch ($149-$229, plus a $50 credit) and The Phoenician ($119-plus) are very affordable for families and golfers. Both The Boulders Resort & Spa ($50 nightly credit) and JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa ($25-$50 nightly credit) offer credits that can be spent on golf. For more information, visit www.summerinscottsdale.com.
Hot deal in the Coachella Valley
Much like Scottsdale, the snowbirds have flown home in California's Coachella Valley, but the scorching weather brings some hot deals. The Indian Wells Golf Resort is introducing Stay & Play packages that included unlimited golf on the Celebrity and Players courses and possibly Wi-Fi, breakfast, bicycle rental, tennis, access to fitness facilities and classes and more, depending upon the hotel. Prices range from $127 per night (Renaissance Indian Wells) to $138 (Indian Wells Resort Hotel) and $151 (Hyatt Regency Indian Wells) and $175 (Miramonte Indian Wells). For more information, visit www.indianwellsgolfresort.com/stayandplay.
Marriott Golf has created the 'Afternoon Delight Golf Package' at Turnberry Isle Miami in Aventura, Fla. Tee times are available the afternoon of arrival and for every night's stay, a round after noon the next day on either the Soffer or Miller courses, originally designed by renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and recently re-imagined by Raymond Floyd. In addition to golf, the package also includes complimentary range balls and an American buffet breakfast for two at CORSAIR kitchen and bar. Rates for this package start at $399 per night. For more information, click here.
The Daytona Beach Double Feature, a three-night stay and play starting at $298, delivers rounds at the Hills course at LPGA International and Halifax Plantation Golf Club. Golf groups will also enjoy daily breakfast and dinner and drinks each night during the week at the newly remodeled Homewood Suites, located across from the Daytona International Speedway. A kitchen and living room are standard in the suites, providing golf groups ample room to hang out. For more information, visit www.DaytonaBeach.com.