When the editorial staff at Golf Advisor writes about the best golf destinations and resorts for women, we tend to look at elements like sunny beaches, spas, player-friendly layouts and fine dining.
But for Women's Golf Day this year, we thought instead of our staff doing the talking, we'd listen. We asked some of the female brainpower at Golf Channel where their favorite places to tee it up are. There are plenty of well-traveled, golf-loving women right in the building.
We caught up with Golf Channel's Lauren Thompson, Cara Banks, Bailey Mosier, Alexandra O'Laughlin and Kristi Setaro where their favorite places to play are.
What we've learned is that women like using their passport as much as their golf clubs. And maybe the number one lesson? Guys, you may want to think twice before leaving your wives at home for your links golf trip...
In their own words, here's what they had to share when asked for their favorite golf spot.
We don't think you'll mind we're letting them tee off as a fivesome.
Cara Banks: Deal, England
Host, Golf Central and Morning Drive
My favorite golf destination, without doubt, is Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club on the southeast corner of England. The club’s credentials speak for themselves: hosting two Open Championships in 1909 and 1920. More recently, it hosted the Amateur Championship in 2013 and has been one of four Final Open Qualifying venues the last four straight years. It’s a championship links course with a traditional layout of nine holes out and nine back.
For me, it’s the place I learned to love the game. Each year the club hosts “Deal Week” at the end of August – it’s a week that’s open to anyone (members and visitors) and has a non-stop calendar of men's, women's, mixed and junior competitions and is one of the highlights of the year – often attracting new members with its relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The halfway hut is one of the finest in the country. It’s accessible by car (down the ancient highway) so it's the perfect place for non-players to come out and watch, with a refreshment or two. The hot dog is a must (from a proper English butcher!).
The original clubhouse was built back in 1892 and the "19th hole" is worth a visit on its own. It's another spot that often attracts the non-players with a balcony that essentially lines the 1st hole. Led by a young and forward-thinking Secretary in James Leah, the club has the best staff in the business - and a Head Professional who has been there since 1978. Long live Andrew Reynolds!
I have so many fond memories on these links, afternoons on the sun-drenched balcony (yes that does happen in the UK) and then maybe a dip in the English Channel!
Bailey Mosier: Cabot Links
Host and Editor, Golf Channel
Cabot Links transfixes you. The two courses, Links and Cliffs, exist in the otherwise sleepy seaside town of Inverness, but could easily be mistaken for Scotland. From the fairways to the accommodations, there are Instagram-worthy scenes at every turn.
Cabot Links transports you. It (almost) makes you want to put down your camera phone and simply exist. Simply be. It presents golf in its purest form, the way it was originally imagined in the 15th Century. It's no frills, no fuss, just pure golf.
Cabot Links transforms you. My husband and I went to Cabot for the first time last year and came up with the hashtag #cabothabit to accompany all of our social media posts, and that is exactly what Cabot has become - a habit. We already have a return trip with friends planned for this fall, and are sorting out details for a group couples trip in 2019.
Cabot Links is a MUST for any serious golfer.
Lauren Thompson: Toronto-Niagara Falls
Host, Morning Drive
With Women’s Golf Day on our hands, it makes me think back to my Travel Show days on Golf Channel (you know, before Matt Ginella took over the most coveted job on the network). BUT have no fear,fellow Moms, you can still make treks to great golf spots - with or without the kids in tow!
One of my favorites that I always recommend - really for anyone - is going North of the border to Canada where Toronto stole my heart. It was my birthday weekend, I had my husband fly up to meet me during our travel tapings, and we hit the ground running. Golf courses galore, great food and bucket- list caliber sites make creating an itinerary easy.
If you like a good challenge, the Legends on the Niagara is for you: two championship layouts, a par-3 executive course, a 360-degree driving range and a nifty training academy as well if you’re due for a refresher. Eagles Nest is also a lot of fun and you’ll use every club in the bag.
As far as everything else off the golf course goes, drink your coffee and prepare to power through. I’d hit up the Hockey Hall of Fame (and yes I touched the iconic Stanley Cup - because I’m a realist, and it’s a fantasy that’s far out of reach). Take in a Toronto FC game. DEFINITELY explore the caves (perfect for families and all lovers of nature). Also take a stroll through Kensington Market: a cool bohemian neighborhood filled with artists, indie shops and good bites, as well as a solid spot for a drink or two.
So when to go, and who to take? I say this one works with anyone: safe, family friendly, lots of fun to be had for couples and girls getaways as well. Late April through May, and September through October will help you skirt through the influx of fellow tourists.
Now you all have to do is book the trip! Canada’s largest city is waiting.
Kristi Setaro: St. Simons Island, Georgia
Producer, Golf Channel News
There is nothing like a visit to St. Simon’s Island at any time of year! It’s an easy drive from Orlando, has beautiful beaches, great food, and amazing golf courses. I play most of my golf at Sea island Resort. All three courses are unique in their own way. Seaside is my favorite because I love fast greens and ocean views. Retreat has been in pristine condition for quite a few years now and Plantation presents a different challenge with a lot of bunkers and forced carries. We actually spend a ton of time practicing at the practice facility and I’m looking forward to the new putting course! I enjoy going with my better half Alex, who loves it as much as I do. And when you’re off the golf course or not on a beach, a drink outside the Lodge watching the bagpiper, or some awesome BBQ at Southern Soul are our staples!
Alexandra O'Laughlin: London
Social Media Host
A year ago, I never would have thought London would be one of my top golf destinations. Yet after three days of golf and other off-course activities, I was proven wrong.
After flying into Heathrow, I picked up my rental car and drove to Wandsworth where I was staying (25 minutes south-west of central London). The following days I played Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey-the site of the 2018 British Masters. Head Pro, Simon Peaford, showed me around the clubhouse-which is very old school inside with a lovely outdoor patio overlooking the practice putting green. It feels like you are in another world despite being less than an hour from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The club has two courses - the Old Course and the New Course - with the Old consistently being rated in the top 100 in the world. It's lined with heather and demands a solid drive off the tee as some of the tee shots require a lengthy carry over the heather. It is not easy, but you have the option of altering which tees you play from to relieve some of the stress on certain holes or to challenge yourself to the fullest.
After my round, I enjoyed a "black currant and fizzy water" to drink and then checked out Simon Peaford's pro shop. It was filled with super trendy women's and men's fashion as well as a selection of leather "Walton Heath" logo'd goods (easy gifts to bring home). It was not what I was expecting from an old-school course! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I typically wear one of the six Walton Heath tour visors that I bought that day!
Wentworth, Sunningdale and Royal St. Georges are my recommended courses to fill the rest of your vacation days. They are close enough to the city so you can still enjoy a night out on the town post-round!