Even with a $500 green fee, Shadow Creek in North Las Vegas isn't the most expensive stay-and-play course in the country.  (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor ) Golfers have to stay at the Four Seasons to play the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club on Hawai'i Island.  (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor) To make the Seaside Course more affordable, you can stay at the inn at Sea Island Resort instead of the two five-star hotels, The Cloister and The Lodge. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor ) Great Waters is the most prestigious of the courses at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, east of Atlanta. (Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee)

Stay and play: America's most expensive green fees at resort and private courses that require an overnight stay



Editor's note: Jason Scott Deegan is detailing the priciest rounds of golf in the United States. In this edition, he breaks down the most expensive courses that require an overnight stay at a hotel or resort. For his installment on the most expensive standalone golf courses, click here.


Determining America's most expensive resort courses and private clubs open to resort guests isn't as simple as it seems.

All 42 of the resort and private courses listed in this story have rack rates that cost $200 or more, but how many golfers are foolish enough to pay them? Most customers are going to be staying on a golf package that should, theoretically, cut the "peak rates" used in this story down considerably.

For the sake of fairness, I had to follow the theme of my first story on America's most expensive public-accessible golf courses, which included 120 courses across the country that cost more than $200 to play.

Just to reiterate: When I began researching expensive green fees, it wasn't necessarily to call those courses out for being "overpriced" or for "gouging" customers or being "most expensive." It was to find out what "bucket list" golf costs these days.

The best courses are expensive. There's no sense in arguing that point. And they get even more so when you add a stay at a posh resort into the equation. The total costs to stay and play (without a golf package) at these resorts could only be estimated due to fluctuating room rates and green fees.

You can use this list two ways: As a guide to seek out and play the most exclusive public-accessible courses in the country, or avoid them altogether, because they're simply too costly for your budget. You decide.

Manele Golf Course

Peak rate: $1,000-plus (green fee plus a stay at the Four Seasons Lanai).

Comment: Rooms at the recently reopened Four Seasons Lanai, which allow access to play Manele Golf Course, never dip below $1,000 a night, all part of island owner Larry Ellison's plan to create a playground for the 1 percent. EDITOR'S NOTE: The resort updated its tee-time-access policy in 2017, allowing non-resort guests to play the course for $425.

Kukui'ula Golf Course

Peak rate: $1,000-plus ($232 green fee plus a stay at the Lodge at Kukui'ula).

Comment: Kauai's first new development in more than a decade recently introduced the lodge, a collection of island-style cottages, bungalows and villas that allow access to the private Tom Weiskopf-designed course.

Hualalai Golf Course

Peak rate: $900-plus ($285 green fee plus a stay at the Four Seasons Hualalai). Comment: The Nicklaus course at Hualalai hosts the Mitsubishi Electronic Championship for winners on the PGA TOUR Champions circuit. The Four Seasons Hualalai is generally considered the biggest jewel in the Four Season crown. Could that change with the rebirth of the Four Seasons Lanai?

Snake River Sporting Club

Peak rate: $700-plus ($190 green fee plus $500-and-up per night in a rustic cabin).

Comment: Snake River Sporting Club -- one of Jackson Hole, Wyoming's premier private clubs and residential communities for sporting and outdoor enthusiasts -- just announced the opening of overnight accommodations for 2016, allowing access to its Weiskopf design, ranked the top course in Wyoming by Golf Digest for 2015-16.

Shadow Creek

Peak rate: $700-plus ($500 plus a stay at one of 10 MGM Resorts International properties in Las Vegas).

Comment: From the limo ride to the Tom Fazio-designed course to the final drink at the bar, Shadow Creek delivers greatness.

Great Waters and Oconee Courses at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

Peak rate: $700-plus ($245 for either course plus a stay at the resort).

Comment: The Landing is the only daily-fee course at the resort that doesn't require a stay over, and both the National Course and Plantation Course cost less than $200 for peak rates. Great Waters hosted the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf from 1995 to 1997.

CordeValle

Peak rate $700-plus ($295 green fee plus a stay at the Rosewood CordeValle).

Comment: Hosting the 2016 U.S. Women's Open will keep CordeValle, the former PGA Tour venue in northern California, in the spotlight.

The Grand Golf Club

Peak rate: $700-plus ($270 green fee plus $495-and-up per night at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar).

Comment: The rebranded Fairmont -- now named The Grand Golf Club -- is one of southern California's most luxurious retreats.

Seaside, Plantation and Retreat Courses at Sea Island Resort

Peak rate: $600-plus ($325 green fee at Seaside and $235 green fee at Plantation and $230 at Retreat plus a stay at the resort).

Comment: Both the five-star Cloister and The Lodge overlook the seashore of coastal Georgia. If you want to save some cash, the fairly new Inn at Sea Island still allows access to the Seaside Course, Plantation Course and Retreat Course.

I hit little slices of heaven on the awesome practice range at @SeaIslandResort

A photo posted by Jason Scott Deegan (@jasondeegangolfadvisor) on

Miller and Soffer Courses at Turnberry Isle Resort

Peak rate: $600-plus ($295 green fee plus a stay at the resort).

Comment: Turnberry Isle's Soffer Course finishes at a 64-foot waterfall near the island green at no. 18. The resort is minutes from Miami's South Beach.

May River Golf Club

Peak rate: $600-plus ($305 green fee plus a stay at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff).

Comment: May River Golf Club's Palmetto Bluff is a vibrant 20,000-acre residential and recreational preserve offering 32 miles of riverfront and marsh along the May, New and Cooper Rivers in Bluffton, S.C., near Hilton Head Island.

Champion, Fazio, Squire, Palmer and Estates Courses at PGA National Resort & Spa

Peak rate: $600-plus ($409.66 green fee on the Champion and $250.16 on the others, plus a stay at the resort).

Comment: Perhaps only Amen Corner provides more thrills and spills for PGA Tour players than the three-hole "Bear Trap" on the Champion Course during the Honda Classic.

The Ritz-Carlton Members Club Sarasota

Peak rate: $600-plus ($245 plus $25 recommended tip for required forecaddie and a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota).

Comment: Fazio strikes again at the Ritz-Carlton Members Club Sarasota with another well manicured private club experience.

Copperhead and Island Courses at Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort

Peak rate: $500-plus ($325 for Copperhead and $225 for Island, plus $185-and-up per night at the resort).

Comment: PGA Tour pros respect the Copperhead Course as one of the best tests of golf they see all season.

Resort and Country Club Courses at Boca Raton Resort & Club

Peak Rate: $500-plus ($225 plus a stay at the hotel, a Waldorf Astoria Resort).

Comment: The 6,714-yard Country Club course is longer than the 6,253-yard par-71 Resort course, which is dedicated to Tommy Armour and Sam Snead who both served as golf professionals at the Resort from 1926 to 1955, and 1956 to 1969, respectively.

Foothills and Canyons Courses at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa

Peak rate: $500-plus ($250 green fee on the Foothills Course and Canyons Course plus an overnight stay)

Comment: There are other cheaper choices at Barton Creek -- the Coore/Crenshaw Course maxes out at $180 and the Palmer Lakeside Course at $125.

TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas Course at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas

Peak rate: $500-plus ($215 green fee plus $295-and-up per night at the Four Seasons).

Comment: Las Colinas has been the home of the AT&T Byron Nelson since 1983.

Cape Cod National Golf Club

Peak rate: $500-plus ($200 green fee plus a stay at the Wequassett Resort & Golf Club).

Comment: Wequassett -- one of Cape Cod's favorite family/beach/golf resorts -- books up fast in the summer.

Bay Hill Club & Lodge

Peak rate: $500-plus ($275 green fee, plus a forecaddie fee of $60 per foursome, plus tip, that is to be paid in cash after the completion of the round, and $117-$199 per night's stay at the Lodge).

Comment: Breakfast is your best chance to run into Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, an Orlando stalwart.

Sonoma Golf Club

Peak rate: $500-plus ($225 green fee plus a stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa).

Comment: The private Sonoma Golf Club is probably the best resort golf experience in California wine country.

Norman and Fazio Courses at Red Sky Ranch

Peak rate: $400-plus ($255 plus a stay at an eligible Vail Valley resort).

Comment: Red Sky Ranch is about 20 minutes west of the Vail village but well worth the trip for the scenery and memorable golf.

These are the images that stick with you after you get home. @VisitColorado #RedSkyGC #gaBestphoto

A photo posted by Jason Scott Deegan (@jasondeegangolfadvisor) on

The Rookery at Marco and Hammock Bay Golf & Country Club

Peak rate: $400-plus ($215 green fee plus a stay at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa).

Comment: Only resort guests and members can play The Rookery at Marco and Hammock Bay golf courses in high season from November through April.

Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort

Peak rate: $400-plus ($225 green fee plus $170-and-up per night at the resort).

Comment: Hammock Beach Resort's Ocean Course -- a Jack Nicklaus design -- is the rare Florida golf course actually on the Atlantic Ocean. Despite being slightly less expensive, its sister Conservatory Course by Tom Watson might even be better.

Jones Course at the Breakers Palm Beach

Peak rate: $400-plus ($225 green fee plus a stay at the resort).

Comment: The Breakers is one of America's most historic hotels.

Naples Grande Golf Club at Naples Grande Beach Resort

Peak rate: $400-plus ($215 green fee plus a stay at the resort).

Comment: Naples Grande Golf Club, a Rees Jones design, hosted the EMC Golf Skills Challenge from 2001-2003 and is a rare Naples treat with no homes or condos in sight.

Ocean Course at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Beach Resort

Peak rate: $400-plus ($200 during the Players Championship week, $190 during high season, plus a stay at the Inn).

Comment: The Lagoon Course is slightly cheaper at $170-$180 during high season.

Sawgrass Country Club

Peak rate: $400-plus ($285 year-round green fee plus a stay at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa).

Comment: The private Sawgrass Country Club, which hosted the Players Championships from 1977-81, offers a few limited tee times through the Marriott or to guests who rent homes/condos in the community.

The Dunes Golf & Beach Club

Peak rate: $350-plus ($225 green fee plus a stay at a local resort).

Comment: Dunes Golf & Beach Club's holes 11-13 are dubbed "Alligator Alley," maybe the most famous stretch of golf in Myrtle Beach.

Fallen Oak Golf Club

Peak rate: $350-plus ($200 plus a stay at the Beau Rivage).

Comment: Fallen Oak Golf Club is almost as exclusive and beautiful as MGM's other flagship course, Shadow Creek.

Read part 1 of this story.

Read part 2 of this story.

Mar 21, 2016



Join the conversation

Post a comment 

u00000297244's avatar
u00000297244 wrote at 2016-05-11 14:44:32+00:00:

Great article Jason - but one question - shouldn't Pebble Beach ($495 green fee + Caddie + stay @ the Lodge  for $600+) be on this list?  PB is not a private course, but it should fall under the "Resort" category.  I have played PB a few years ago, but I would now rather spend my $1000+ cash on some of your aforementioned places.

TK

JasonDeeganGA's avatar
JasonDeeganGA wrote at 2016-09-07 21:15:59+00:00:

You don't have to stay at Pebble to play it, so it is not a required "stay and play". 


Related Links


Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.