How Far Can $1,000 Really Go In These American Golf Destinations?

The other day, I was reading an article that explored major cities' widely disparate apartment rental markets by showing what $1,000 per month in rent can get you in different cities.

For example, in Birmingham, Alabama, you can usually score a nice, roomy two-bedroom place. In Manhattan, New York City, you'd be lucky to be splitting a shoebox with three other people for $1,000 per month.

In the golf travel world, it's much the same. If you have, say, $1,000 to devote to your golf and lodgings for a trip (we're setting airfare aside, since our readers live all over the place), how far could it go in your favorite destinations?

For the sake of this exercise, we envisioned a long-weekend trip: 3 nights and at least 4 rounds of golf. A lot of these destinations have wide-ranging offerings, from high-end to budget-oriented, so we included two examples for some of them. At some of them, it was tough to fashion a reasonable 3-day/4-round trip for $1,000 or less. At others, you'd need close to a week or more to spend $1,000 on your golf and lodging.

Here's what we found out:

Pinehurst, N.C. 

Golf: Unlimited golf via the Ultimate Golf Package at Pine Needles and Mid Pines

Lodging: 3 nights in deluxe accommodations at Pine Needles or Mid Pines

Cost: from $310 per person, per night - $930 for 3 nights

Three nights and at least four rounds at Pinehurst Resort costs a minimum of about $1,200 per person, any way you slice it, and that's before the $195-per-round upcharge to play No. 2. So this Pine Needles/Mid Pines package gets our nod for an excellent Pinehurst-area experience for about $1,000. Even better: this package includes breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, as well as unlimited range balls, cart fees and overnight club storage.

Bang for your bucks: Good

Myrtle Beach, S.C. 

Golf: 4 rounds at Barefoot Resort's Dye, Love, Fazio and Norman Courses

Lodging: 3 nights at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes

Cost: $710 per person

Within the parameters of this little exploration, it just might be impossible to have a $1,000 long-weekend golf trip to Myrtle Beach. The Marina Inn is as upscale as area lodgings get, and Barefoot Resort's courses top many people's lists of Grand Strand favorite layouts. And that $710-per-person rate is for April and May - peak season for the area.

Bang for your bucks: Excellent


Pebble Beach, Calif.

Golf: 4 rounds: Quail Lodge Golf Club ($175), Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Club ($175), Laguna Seca Golf Ranch ($70), Pacific Grove Golf Links ($52)

Lodging: Sea Breeze Inn & Cottages (~$150/night)

Cost: $922 per person

Two-night/Two-round packages that include rounds at Pebble Beach start above $2,000, which blows away the $1,000 budget for this exercise. That said, this ad hoc combination of standard but well-regarded accommodations and golf would make for a pleasant, under-budget experience. Quail Lodge's golf course was renovated just last year by Todd Eckenrode and has garnered rave reviews, and Carmel Valley's Pete Dye design is lovely as well. Furthermore, you can get your oceanside golf fix at Pacific Grove for a fraction of Pebble Beach's green fee. Just don't expect the best without a bigger outlay.

Bang for your bucks: Not the best

Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz. 

Golf: 4 rounds between Talking Stick Golf Club's Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw-designed North and South Courses

Lodging: 3 nights at Talking Stick Resort on the Par Fore The Course package

Cost: $862

The three-night standard golf package at Talking Stick includes only three rounds, so we added a round to get to the $862 figure. Keep in mind that rates on this package are only available into early September, so they will rise closer to peak times. That said, you should be able to stay close to the $1,000 budget mark a little later into the fall.

Bang for your bucks: Good

Palm Springs, Calif. 

Golf: Unlimited golf at PGA WEST's resort courses (plus $50 upcharge to play the TPC Stadium Course one of the rounds)

Lodging: 3 nights' accommodations at La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Cost: $1,007

The unlimited nature of this package means you'd have the ability to play not just four but all five courses associated with the resort, including the vaunted TPC Stadium Course. We priced this particular package out for a mid-November stay.

Bang for your bucks: Very good

Bandon, Ore.

Golf: 4 rounds: Bandon Dunes, Bandon Trails, Old Macdonald, Pacific Dunes ($135 per round)

Lodging: 3 nights in a Lily Pond room ($125 per night if based on double occupancy)

Cost: $915

Believe it or not, you can do Bandon Dunes for less than $1,000 - you just have to do it in shoulder season; our cost was based on March rates. The resort deserves a lot of credit for building in a lot of elasticity to their rate structure, because it entices people to take a chance on potentially iffy winter weather, only to be rewarded quite often with brisk but beautiful Pacific Northwest days. Another cost-cutting measure would be to play the oft-overloked Bandon Crossings just up the road from the resort proper.

Bang for your bucks: Surprisingly good

Bend, Ore.

Golf: Unlimited golf at Sunriver Resort, including one round at Crosswater Club per day

Lodging: 3 nights in a Lodge Village 2 Queen Suite (double occupancy)

Cost: $710

Sunriver's Crosswater Club ranks 10th in the golf-rich Beaver State, per Golfweek. The resort's other courses - Meadows, Woodlands and the sporty Caldera Links - are solid as well. The Unlimited Golf package is contingent on at least two people, so if you bring at least one buddy, you can get pretty darn good value for a hypothetical $1,000 budget.

Bang for your bucks: Excellent

Miami, Fla. 

Golf: 4 rounds at Trump National Doral: Red Tiger, Golden Palm, Silver Fox, Blue Monster ($195 upcharge)

Lodging: 3 nights in a Premier Room on the Championship Golf Package (double occupancy)

Cost: $1,110

We chose early-November (i.e. early peak season) rates for this exercise, which ended up being pretty reasonable, especially since forgoing the upcharge to play the Blue Monster brings the cost under $1,000. This package provides for complimentary day-of-arrival and replay rounds, as well as practice facility access and daily golf clinics hosted by the Jim McLean Golf School, so you could potentially get even more than 72 holes in on your trip.

Bang for your bucks: Surprisingly good

West Palm Beach, Fla. 

Golf: 4 rounds at PGA National - Palmer, Fazio, Squire and Estates Courses

Lodging: 3 nights in a two-bed Resort Room with a balcony or terrace at PGA National

Cost: $837 (based on double occupancy in early November)

Note that the listed courses do not include the PGA Tour's Honda Classic host Champion Course. You can play it for an upcharge of between $75 and $100, usually, which still brings you in under budget.

Bang for your bucks: Good

Orlando, Fla.

Golf: Unlimited golf at Reunion Resort's Palmer, Nicklaus and Watson Courses

Lodging: 3 nights in a 3-bedroom Deluxe Villa

Cost: $981

Reunion is a great place to hunker down for a few days in the Orlando area and play golf, and their Unlimited Golf package nudges toward the $1,000 mark (before taxes). It includes breakfast and lunch daily, though, as well as a $20 pro shop credit per player and the option to participate in a one-hour golf clinic each day.

So, given $1,000 to spend on your golf and lodging on your next golf trip, which of these options would you choose? Got any other nominations for great trips in that price range? Let us know in the comments below!

Bang for your bucks: Very good

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.
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RTJ Trail is by far the best deals in the US... Great golf, good hotels, etc....

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The Outer Banks of NC is a summer destination, so the pricing in Oct/Nov is very cheap and the weather is lovely. Golf options are a half dozen. Check it out and hope you miss a hurricane.

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Of all the places I have been Ocean City was the best deal and the food off the strip was fantastic. Golf course were an unbelievable deal.

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It's truly amazing what you can get for a $1000 per person golf trip---assuming, of course, that you don't have to eat when you travel.

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Overall some great ideas/options in this article.

Mr. Kelly nailed it above... RTJ Trail is an amazing value. Renting a house & amazing golf for under $1,000.
Pinehurt - best value to golf/beauty is The Dormie Club (Coore/Crenshaw) and fits the under $1,000 packaging.
Phoenix - Nobody in the know goes to Phoenix to play Talking Stick. Check out Wee-Po-Ka for the great two courses, 36 hole specials, replay rates, and lodging packages. My humble opinion....

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Lets not forget Boyne Resorts in Michigan...5 nights, unlimited golf with cart on 8 courses, breakfast and dinner daily, plus a $75.00 gift certificate to use for lunch or any other purchase around the resort. All this for $940.00 including taxes.

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The best bang for your buck is Craguns in Brainerd, MN. $600 for 3 nights, breakfast and dinner daily, and golf on the top 4 courses in the state!

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An article on affordable golf trips without mentioning the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama? Grievous oversight!

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I am very surprised that Ocenan City, MD was not among that candidates. High end courses for under $100 (like Myrtle) and a wide choice of accommodations make this the best bargain in the Northest sector!

As I write this from Kiawah Island, I am reminded that the golf here is grossly overpriced. $160 to play Cougar Point which is surpassed in quality and venue by many of the Myrtle b each or OC courses.

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If you want affordable winter golf, Orlando is the place to go. Tremendous options.

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How Far Can $1,000 Really Go In These American Golf Destinations?
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