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Winter golf destinations: Five must-play courses outside the Sunshine State

January 20, 2024

Florida boasts some breathtaking winter golf getaways that draw tourists or retirees alike. 

Who could blame them? The Sunshine State’s mild winters and vast expanses make it an ideal locale for winter golf getaways. A steady influx of retirees, many with ample free time and disposable income, fill tee times throughout the winter. 

Florida has among the highest household participation rates for golf in the country and is near the top in the total number of courses, both public and private. Plenty of PGA Tour professionals call the state home. In fact, PGA of America is based in Palm Beach Gardens, while the PGA Tour is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, adjacent to the famed TPC Sawgrass course. 

Diehard duffers have long used their love of golf as an excuse to travel. This winter, why not explore some of the country’s top courses beyond the confines of Florida? You can travel to your winter golf getaways in convenience, style, comfort, luxury and safety on an Elite Jets charter aircraft. 

READ MORE: Private travel: Getting there is half the fun | Elite Jets 

Our aircraft 

At Elite Jets, we offer several options for winter golf getaways: 

Both luxury jets feature high-speed Wi-Fi, personalized temperature controls, reclining leather seats with massage functions and a first-class digital entertainment system. Elite Jets passengers can also pre-select snacks and drinks, enjoy a fully stocked bar and best of all, leave the flying to us. 

READ MORE: Elite Jets leader shares aviation safety expertise at national industry event 

Winter Golf Destination No. 1: Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina 

Located about one hour south of the state capital of Raleigh, the village of Pinehurst (population 17,500) is among the country’s most well-known golf getaways. Dubbed the “Home of American Golf” by the U.S. Golf Association, Pinehurst and the surrounding area are home to more than 40 courses, both public and private. 

The centerpiece is Pinehurst Resort, a late 19th century development best known for its No. 2 course (out of nine), which has previously hosted the men’s U.S. Open, PGA Championship and multiple Ryder Cups.  

Pinehurst No. 2 will call the marquee event home five more times in the coming decades, including 2024 and 2029. The World Golf Hall of Fame, currently located in St. Augustine, will also relocate to Pinehurst later this year. 

Location: Pinehurst, North Carolina  

Nearest airports: Moore County Airport (KSOP), Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) 

Winter Golf Destination No. 2: Beth Page State Park, Long Island, New York 

Located in suburban Long Island outside New York City, this state park features five 18-hole courses, including the famed Black Course, host of the U.S. Open in 2002 and 2009, PGA Tour events in 2012 and 2016, and the PGA Championship in 2019. The Ryder Cup international competition will take place here in 2024. 

With three courses designed by golf architect A.W. Tillinghast, the state park links are open to the public, though reservations can be challenging to obtain. A word to the wise: winter weather can vary widely here, so check the forecast closely before booking your trip. 

Location: Farmingdale, New York 

Nearest airports: New York John F. Kennedy (JFK), Republic Airport (FRG)  

Winter Golf Destination No. 3: Pebble Beach Golf Links, northern California 

Ranked America's top public course by Golf Digest, Pebble Beach sits on the scenic Monterrey Peninsula, about two hours south of San Francisco. Here’s how the magazine describes Pebble Beach: 

“Not just the greatest meeting of land and sea in American golf, but the most extensive one, too, with nine holes perched immediately above the crashing Pacific surf — the fourth through 10th plus the 17th and 18th. Pebble’s sixth through eighth are golf’s real Amen Corner, with a few Hail Mary’s thrown in over an ocean cove on the eighth from atop a 75-foot-high bluff.” 

Like both Pinehurst and Beth Page, Pebble Beach has hosted numerous pro championships, providing scratch golfers and weekend warriors alike an opportunity to compare their swings, ball strikes and other techniques with the game’s best. 

Beyond the links await the region’s world-famous wineries, Silicon Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Coast Highway and other attractions. 

Location: Pebble Beach, California 

Nearest airport: Monterrey Regional Airport (MRY) 

READ MORE: Private jets a growing alternative to commercial air travel in the not so friendly skies 

Winter Golf Destination No. 4: Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina 

This coastal resort is about 30 miles southwest of Charleston along a 10-mile strip of sand and seashore. 

Its five golf courses include The Ocean Course, designed for the 1991 Ryder Cup and a top public course in Golf Digest’s estimation – though not one for beginners: 

“Every hole is edged by sawgrass, every green has tricky slopes, every bunker merges into bordering sand dunes. Strung along nearly three miles of ocean coast, (the architect) took his wife’s advice and perched fairways and greens so golfers can actually view the Atlantic surf. That also exposes shots and putts to ever-present and sometimes fierce coastal winds.” 

Beyond golf, the five-star resort includes a hotel, hundreds of private villas and homes, more than a dozen restaurants and nearly two dozen tennis courts. 

Location: Kiawah Island, South Carolina 

Nearest airport: Charleston International Airport 

Winter Golf Destination No. 5: The Masters, Augusta, Georgia 

As a private club, Augusta National limits golf on its hallowed courses to members and their guests. That changes each April, when the public can stroll (if not drive or putt) the greens and fairways while watching the world’s best pursue a shot at the famed green jacket reserved for winners. 

Tickets are available by lottery, or on the secondary market. Augusta is also the site of President Woodrow Wilson’s boyhood home and the birthplace of soul singer James Brown (the Godfather of Soul) who is honored with a statue in downtown Augusta. The city is perched along the Savannah River, with several boat tours offering scenic views.  

Location: Augusta, Georgia 

Nearest airport: Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) 

Need assistance planning your upcoming winter golf destinations ? Please give our team a call at 239-900-9000 or email us at Charter@EliteJets.com.  

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