Misplaced" Golf Courses and Where to Find Them

I'm sure you saw the bizarre snowstorm that hit the Accenture Match Play Championship...in Tucson, Arizona.

Boy, did that look out of place.

It got me thinking about golf courses that are also seemingly "out of place."

I don't mean inferior -- some of them are fantastic.

They are, however, very unusual given their surroundings, and you'd be quite surprised -- and often pleased -- to find such a different experience in a given location.

For example, the best desert course I played last year was in Canada.

Called Tobiano (photo below), it's a Thomas McBroom masterpiece near Kamloops in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.

Likewise, I certainly didn't expect Vail Golf Club -- amid Colorado's Rocky Mountains -- to be almost completely flat...

...or to find 100-foot elevation changes near Orlando, Fla., at Mission Inn Resort's El Campeon course (and the temporarily closed Sugarloaf Mountain Golf Club).

Speaking of Florida, two new examples are the courses at Streamsong Resort near Lakeland. If you didn't know it, you might think you're playing golf in the Nebraska sandhills (see below).

Of course, today's advancements in technology and architecture (not to mention big budgets) have allowed developers to build virtually any type of golf course any place they want.

That's how we have the ultra-lush, parkland-style Shadow Creek Golf Club rising up like an oasis from the Las Vegas desert and the soaring, Ireland-like dunes of Bayonne Golf Club...in New Jersey overlooking downtown New York City.

Have you come across any "out of place" golf courses in your travels? Any worth playing?

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.
18 Comments
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Michael

Rochelle Ranch, out in the middle of Wyoming, but fortunately near an I-80 exit. Cut through the existing terrain with views for miles, superb find in the middle of nowhere

Hollis Wineland

MT.Massive golf course,in Leadville CO> North America's highest elevation at 9950 feet. The course in completely flat. It sets down in between all the mountain tops. When you look out from the first tee all you see is the mountains all around. only a nine hole course, but great and picturesque.

Gil Fuld

Some years ago I played the Amana Colony course in Iowa. I guess it was placed on the only land that couldn't easily be farmed, because I don't remember a flat lie on the entire course.

Bob Marshall

Last summer I played Arcadia Bluffs near Arcadia, Michigan. A fabulous links-style course on the shores of Lake Michigan. Not much nearby - no hotels, restaurants, etc., but it is listed as the number 1 public course in Michigan and number 10 on the 2012 list of top public courses in the USA. The best links course I have played since Scotland. I haven't played Bandon Dunes, but I think Arcadia Bluffs would give it a run for its money!

Dave B

Tobacco Road in Sanford, NC. 180 acres of sand!

Brian Neville

I played Streamsong Blue on February 5th with friend visiting from Connecticut. Be prepared to bring a lot of money. We rode in a cart which ran $200 + $14 sales tax for a total of $214. The fore caddy was $60 including a tip for a total of $274. We are going to play the Red course year. If going to the end of the world is on your bucket list, driving to Streamsong, will allow you to check it off the list. It is in the middle of no where in Polk County.

James Wise

Wolf Creek in Mesquite, NV. Like playing golf on the set of Starship Troopers!

Marc

The rawls Couse @ Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. A Tom Doak designed course rated in the top 2 in Texas by Golf Digest. It truly is a masterpiece of design, turning flat farmland into an undulating landscape on the High Plains by moving 1.3m yards of dirt. It's a fun course to play, challenging all levels of golfers.

Tim Lehey

In the vein of "out of place" courses I suggest Mount Juliet in Ireland. It is a wonderful course. Had I travelled to one of the Carolinas I would have been very happy. There isn't a trace of Irish DNA in the whole course, in my opinion. I realize that it is designed as a parkland course, not a links course but I still felt it was too similar to courses I had played up and down the Eastern Seabord. I suggest Portmarnock for the true Irish experience.

Gary S

Another like Vail GC mentioned, is Nicklaus North in Whistler BC. Surprisingly flat among 8000 foot mountains.

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Misplaced" Golf Courses and Where to Find Them
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