What separates mountain golf trips from the rest?
Altitude and elevated tee shots are of course an obvious place to start: you may very well hit the longest drives of your life.
And altitude means they're usually cool and comfortable: no humidity, no bugs.
Then there's wildlife. I've had some of my most memorable encounters in the mountains in the Canadian Rockies: Grizzlies playing through, black bears interrupting tee shots, Herds of elk on the driving range - pretty surreal stuff.
Here's another appeal of mountain golf trips: They typically have the best off-course activities. I look back on my mountain golf trips and some of the most memorable moments happened after golf.
Years ago, I celebrated my June Birthday in Whistler and capped off an epic day: 18 holes of mountain golf at Chateau Whistler followed by road biking through their forested trails (with some poutine in between). On another trip in Central Oregon, I went downhill mountain biking through the woods after golf at Pronghorn. Microbrews afterwards in downtown Bend were well-earned.
There is also the possibility early in the golf season at certain mountain destinations like Whistler, Bend or Lake Tahoe where you could theoretically ski and play golf in the same day. (Tires me thinking about it).
You don't have to break a sweat, though. Another unexpected treat in mountain golf trips was driving up to the Will Rogers Shrine following a round at the Broadmoor for some unique history and expansive views. Merely driving around Lake Tahoe reveals countless scenic lookout points. Many ski resorts are operating their lifts and gondolas in the summertime, so resort guests can enjoy epic rides. I enjoyed a fine afternoon at Sun Valley years ago doing just that. As gorgeous as the top of these mountains are in the winter, there is a case to be made for being able to enjoy the grassy tops without having to go top-speed down them. Instead you can get a glass of wine and wander around for awhile soaking in the views from all sides.
Whistler's Peak-to-Peak experience may be one of the best mountain golf activities for both golfers and tourists just passing through this former Olympic village. In the clip above from Golf Advisor Round Trip, host Matt Ginella experiences the ride, which soars into the clouds 1,500 feet above ground and gets a little white-knuckled in the process.
Many of these mountain destinations also have access to fishing and sporting clays, two other favorite pastimes for groups after golf. Do you prefer lazy time on the beach after golf on your trips over an adrenaline rush? I prefer the former sometimes too. But for some adrenaline-inducing fun, head north and way, way up for your golf vacations.
Watch the full episode of Golf Advisor Round Trip: Whistler, on February 11th, 7:30pm ET on Golf Channel.