Only Game In Town: The Most Remote Golf Courses You Can Play

An interesting trend has arisen in the construction of new golf resorts in recent years.

Seclusion. Privacy. The sense of being surrounded by wilderness.

That’s the feeling that Mike Keiser capitalized on when he built the first course at Bandon Dunes. Keiser took the middle of nowhere and he put it on the map for all passionate golfers.

Some years later, he did it again, with Cabot

But he was neither the first nor the last to take the risk of building golf where there previously was none for many miles around.

If you like to wander to the most isolated places to play golf, you’ve got to check out some of these super-remote golf courses and resorts:

The World

Lofoten Links – Gimsøysand, Norway

Lofoten Links – Gimsøysand, Norway

There’s scenic golf, and then there’s Lofoten. (Jacob Sjoman)

Located 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Lofoten is one of the hardest-to-get-to golf courses on the planet. But the Jeremy Turner design manages to draw visitors from all over the world because of its utterly spectacular setting, with half a dozen holes perched on cliffs overlooking the Norwegian Sea. The course’s extreme northerly location enables summer golfers to play at all hours, and at other times, the Northern Lights dance across the sky.

Cape Breton Highlands Links Golf Course – Ingonish, Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s northern Cape Breton Island has become famous in the golf world lately because of two courses built on the aforementioned Mike Keiser’s if-you-build-it-they-will-come philosophy: Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs. But the new presence of these layouts doesn’t make the classic Stanley Thompson layout much less remote, as it’s located a little over two hours northeast of Cabot and more than an hour from the nearest golf course of note.

Whalsay Golf Club – Skaw, Scotland, United Kingdom

(Whalsay Golf Club)

If you think Aberdeen and Dornoch are far north in Scotland, then Skaw, on the Shetland Islands, is on another level altogether. The rugged, beautiful Shetlands lie some 600 miles north of London and nearly 300 miles north of St. Andrews. Bottom line: it’s not a part of the world you get to by accident, but rather by plane, ferry or both. But if your wanderlust takes your to Whalsay, the northernmost golf course in the British Isles, you’ll be rewarded with some amazing scenery – the North Sea surrounds the course on three sides – and the opportunity to play unlimited golf for a week for a mere £70.

Laucala Island – Fiji

Private Island Resort in Fiji

(Laucala Island Resort)

On the other side of the coin – and the world – is Laucala, which, in addition to being one of the most remote golf courses in the world is also part of one of the highest-end resorts in the world. Its parent Laucala Resort is part of the Leading Hotels of the World network, with nights at the tropical paradise reportedly costing thousands of dollars a night. The course is an environmentally sensitive David McLay Kidd design which, according to a Luxury Travel Magazine piece from 2015, can be rented out, along with the rest of the island, for $150,000 per night.

The United States

The Rock Golf Course at Drummond Island Resort – Drummond Island, Mich.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a gorgeous, sparsely populated place, marked with tiny towns rather than big cities. At its extreme eastern end lies Drummond Island, surrounded by Lake Huron, with the town of Drummond Island’s population just topping 1,000. There’s no bridge to the island from the mainland UP, but there is car ferry service from nearby De Tour Village. There is also a small airport, so small that the paths on the island’s rudimentary nine-hole course cross the runway twice.

Drummond Island is quiet, but it is home to a small, rustic resort whose long list of activities includes golf: The Rock Golf Course, designed by Harry Bowers, a disciple of Robert Trent Jones. With the resort recently under new ownership, extra attention and work is being put into the golf course with an eye on raising its profile. The out-of-the-way setting certainly has our attention.

Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course at Lajitas Golf Resort – Lajitas, Texas.

There are all types of wilderness in the United States, and some of the most spectacular wilderness scenery is found in deep southwestern Texas at Big Bend National Park. Just west of the park, cozy with the Mexican border is the town of Lajitas, home to Lajitas Golf Resort and Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course, a Lanny Wadkins design that opened in 2012 and ranks among the top accessible courses in the vast Lone Star State. The course’s pro shop operates out of the historic Lajitas Trading Post, which dates back to the 19th century. That there are no other golf courses around for dozens of miles is not a bother; Black Jack’s Crossing is engaging enough to enjoy multiple times consecutively.

Isle Dauphine Golf Club – Dauphin Island, Ala.

This aerial was taken while Isle Dauphine was closed, but it’s open again under new ownership. It’s easy to see the potential inherent to the site. (Google Maps)

The northern Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi is a popular winter hangout for thousands of golfers. Dauphin Island is centrally located relative to the region, but is a little tough to get to, about 40 miles south of Mobile across a long causeway. Ferry access is also available from Fort Morgan at the western end of the Gulf Shores area.

Isle Dauphine Golf Club was built in the 1960s, and was at one point a top-100 course. It fell by the wayside over the ensuing decades, ultimately closing down in 2012. But it is open again under new ownership, who have been marketing the course more aggressively in order to attract visitors to the beachside layout on a spit of land that calls itself the “Sunset Capital of the World.” If you want inexpensive golf and awesome water views, Isle Dauphine is right up your alley.

Madeline Island Golf Club – La Pointe, Wisc.

Madeline Island lies among the Apostle Islands just off part of Wisconsin’s slim Lake Superior shoreline. Like Drummond Island, Madeline is accessible by car ferry or plane. The golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and opened in 1967. In addition to its sylvan setting, it is noteworthy for the way Jones routed it, using of seven double greens and a number of shared tee areas in order to place an 18-hole course onto a smaller than usual piece of land.

The course is nominally private, but it does take outside play through a direct call to its pro shop or via advance tee-time bookings on its website,

Just down the street is the quaint Inn on Madeline Island, which serves as a wonderful jumping-off point for a vacation in this secluded, scenic northerly corner of the Midwest.

Sea Ranch Golf Links – Gualala, Calif.

The California coast sports hundreds of miles of wonderful scenery, with the more northern windswept cliffs regarded as some of America’s most beautiful places. This is the area where Sea Ranch Golf Links lies, at the extreme northwestern corner of Sonoma County, more than an hour from the next nearest course. The master-planned Sea Ranch community is famous for some environmental battles between the original ten-mile site’s developers and the state of California, which ultimately led to the creation of the California Coastal Commission.

For its part, the golf course lies close to the sea, but mostly stays away from the clifftops, with only a few holes offering water views. Nevertheless, the cool breezes give the Robert Muir Graves-designed course, built in stages (nine holes opened in 1974 and the other nine opened in 1995) something of a linksy feel. Building architecture buffs are drawn to the area by the interesting look of the homes and other structures that dot the property.

The Prairie Club – Valentine, Neb.

(Prairie Club)

Likely the most famous name on this list, the Prairie Club was built under the aforementioned that the quality of golf and the intrigue of journey will inspire visitors to visit. And things have gone well since the 2010 opening of the facility, which functions partially as a members’ club and partially as a resort, with two 18-hole courses and the charming, 10-hole Gil Hanse-designed short “Horse Course.” The newest golf amenity is a rollicking putting course called “Old Wagon.”

As with the private Sand Hills and Dismal River clubs that have put Nebraska on the map as a special golf destination, beyond the excellent courses themselves, the Prairie Club charms its members and guests with seemingly endless rolling natural beauty and an ocean of long grass swaying in the wind. It’s an all-golf, all-the-time retreat in the middle of nowhere.

Source: Golf Vacation Insider


Golf prides itself as a “gentleman’s game.” En the masse, golfers take this mantra to heart, adhering not only to the rules, but towards standard etiquette on the golf course and to their fellow hackers. Unfortunately, due to bad habits or general ignorance, there remains a multitude of breaches of etiquette. We’re all guilty of some fallacy; it’s simply a matter of understanding proper procedures. Here are the 14 manners of golf etiquette that are commonly violated. Click through and see if you know them all

Showing up less than 15 minutes before your tee time

Putting with too many balls on the practice green

Failing to pick up the flagstick

Cart-path only? Carry more than one club to your shot

Talking to someone’s ball

Standing behind someone as they putt

Walking in a player’s “through line”

Placing bag on a tee box

Walking across the green with your bag

Lack of divot pattern on the driving range

If you’re terribly behind on a match play hole, pick up

Checking your phone too much

It’s one thing to check a score or send a text between holes. But continually attached to your phone goes against the spirit of being with friends or one with nature. Even if not causing an audible disruption, you’re telling your group that you find them tedious and boring.


Source: Golf Digest

Holiday Golf Gift Idea: Stogie Holder

The Stage V Clinger – Golf

Cigars and golf go together like peanut butter and jelly. One of the biggest challenges for the cigar smoking golfer is proper placement while hitting a shot or putting on the green. Golf course superintendents warn golfers not to lay cigars on the ground as the stogie will come into contact with hazardous pesticides and fertilizers. The Stage V Clinger solves the problem with a magnetic clip that holds your cigar while you golf.

The Stage V Clinger is a must own for the regular or occasion cigar smoker.

How To Use:
The Stage V Clinger is flexible and attaches easily to golf carts and bags and will keep lit cigars intact in a sophisticated way. The sleek design allows cigar smokers to attach the holder to any vehicle or vessel that a magnet can mount to or a Velcro strap can wrap around. The ribbed handle is easy to grip and the light pressure spring keeps cigars and cigarillos of any size in place without a pinch or tear to the cigar.

More Information:
Colors: Red, Orange, White, Blue

The cigar holder can be purchased as a single unit ($12.99) or as a pack of four ($44.99) through the Stage V Clinger website:


Source: Golf Guide

Henrik Stenson named as the 2016 European Golfer of the Year

Henrik Stenson has been named the 2016 European Tour Golfer of the Year, winning the award for a second time after an impressive year once again.

The 40-year-old produced an impressive 11 Top-10 finishes on the tour on his way to winning the Race to Dubai title for the first time since 2013. The formidable Swede finished ahead of nearest challenger and Masters champion Danny Willett in the Order of Merit, in a season which also saw Stenson gain a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and represent Europe in the Ryder Cup.

If you enjoy placing bets on the big golfing events on the European Tour, there is a great free bet calculator for working out your bets, which is particularly handy for multiples and exotics.

A re-tear of the right knee saw Henrik Stenson fail to qualify for the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship, giving the Swede more time to recover for the Ryder Cup, where he played all five matches for Darren Clarke’s side, where victory in the Friday fourballs alongside Justin Rose and a Sunday singles triumph over Jordan Spieth was not enough to stop Europe falling to a 17-11 defeat to the USA.

To bolster his position as the most revered golfer on the continent, Henrik Stenson also won the Golf Writers Trophy for the second time in 2016. This particular award is voted by members of Association of Golf Writers and is awarded to the European player that has made the year’s “most outstanding contribution to golf”. Few would argue Stenson hasn’t earned it.

Having claimed his first major at the Open at Royal Troon by winning a thrilling duel with Phil Mickelson, Stenson won this award with an overwhelming majority in the voting, despite facing stiff competition from the Masters champion Danny Willett, Olympic Gold Medallist Justin Rose and Alex Noren, who collected four European Tour titles in 2016.

Esteemed company, but Stenson is riding the crest of a wave at the moment and he is a man to watch in 2017. Staying injury free will be the most important factor in how the next few seasons play out for Stenson, a knee injury can be very tricky especially under the strain of professional golfing. Provided he stays in one piece though, the confidence and experience gained in 2016 can only propel his game forward again.




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Tiger Woods ‘getting after it’ in preparation for December return to golf

Tiger Woods is coming back in just a few weeks. Championship weekend in college football, to be exact, is when Woods will make his much-anticipated return to the golf course. Woods has fully committed to the Hero World Challenge (which he also hosts) in the Bahamas during the first week in December.

It sounds like his preparation is coming along quite well, too. Bob Harig of ESPN spoke with Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg, who told the reporter that Tiger is getting his feels back.

Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, told ESPN on Tuesday that Woods is “getting after it a bit more, continuing to work toward that goal and excited to get back out there and compete, see the guys and be in the locker room instead of being an assistant captain,” as the golfer was during the U.S. Ryder Cup victory.

Steinberg went on to say that Woods is as determined as ever but dodged a question about whether he was physically limited after three surgeries on his back since 2014. The whole piece is an interesting read.

Woods pulled out of the Safeway Open in October because he wasn’t confident in his game.

“My health is good and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be,” he said at the time. “I’m close and I won’t stop until I get there.”

Apparently he’s there, although what form of “there” remains to be seen.

I have repeatedly stated that I’m in on Woods’ final chapter and specifically laid out why I’m in on his final chapter here. I’m hopeful that we get the full version of a slightly older Tiger, not some broken down faux replacement. Woods can be really good deep into his 40s because of his brilliance and intelligence around the golf course. I just hope his body makes it possible for us to see it.



Is a “World Tour” still a possibility? At least one influential golf figure thinks so

ANTALYA, Turkey — It has been mentioned and debated may times over the years, but, so far at least, a “World Tour” for golf remains little more than a pipe dream. Or does it? One who thinks a global circuit may be closer than we think is Andrew “Chubby” Chandler of International Sports Management, whose clients include Masters champion Danny Willett, European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood.

“The failure of the European Tour’s proposed merger with the Asian Tour was portrayed by many as a big blow to an eventual world tour,” says Chandler, who played the European Tour for 15 years between 1974 and 1989. “But (European Tour chief executive) Keith Pelley will still be able to keep the events in Asia he needs to keep. So, for example, Malaysia will still be on the European Tour.

“Besides, all Pelley is trying to do right now is maneuver the European Tour into a position of strength so that when there is one tour worldwide, they have a voice in it. One tour is inevitable and it will happen in the next five-to-ten years.”

Still, while Chandler is a keen supporter of such an eventuality, his enthusiasm is not unconditional.

“It will be really good for the game as a whole as long as it is not just an American Tour,” he continues. “So there needs to be some foresight from the PGA Tour. I think we have more chance of seeing that from Jay Monahan than we do from Tim Finchem. The tour can have a heavy American influence because that is where all the money is – but it needs to have voices from other places. As long as that happens, it will be nothing but positive.”

OK, but how would it work in practice?

“If you end up with a $5 million event in Europe up against a $10 million event in the States – and you have a choice where to play – then fine,” says Chandler. “Money isn’t the only consideration for players, especially towards the top end of the game. The guys who didn’t come to Turkey this week were the ones getting free flights and two hotel rooms. They didn’t come because they didn’t need to come. But the lower you go on the totem pole the more important the money becomes. That’s the way of the world.”

“Take Lee (Westwood) right now. If he had a choice to make between $5 million and $10 million events, he would surely like to play in a few of those offering $10 million. But the way his life is, he would probably play a lot of the $5 million events too. Because he wants to be close to his kids most of the time. So, while some will follow the money, there will always be those who have other considerations. For example, if you have $10 million in Akron and $5 million in Crans, I have to think there will be a few who will go to Crans because it is a nicer place to be.”


A look ahead at golf’s 2017 major championships: Schedule, locations, more

There’s another 164 days to go until the first tee ball goes up in the air at the 2017 Masters, but it is never too early to look ahead to the major championships. In so many ways, the four majors have come to define golf’s entire season.

It wasn’t always like this. Other tournaments used to matter more. To be sure, the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Players Championship and a handful of WGC eventsmatter, but I believe the gap between those tournaments and the four big boys is widening.

This is mostly because the majors are easy to measure. You can quantify them without question. Other tournaments are more complicated. Is the Abu Dhabi Championship better than the Wells Fargo Invitational? Is the HSBC Champions a more desirable title than, say, The Memorial Tournament?

These questions become nearly impossible to answer with fractured fields across multiple continents. The majors are a unifying force in golf. They bring almost all of the very best players together at the very best courses for a week-long game of “who is the best in the world right now?”

Let’s take a look at the four major courses for 2017.

Masters — Augusta National (April 6-9)

Augusta, have you heard of it? The storylines are innumerable. Tiger Woods’ probable return to the Masters. Phil Mickelson trying to win one at the same age Jack Nicklaus won one (46). Rory McIlroy’s quest for the career Grand Slam. Bubba Watson going for three. Danny Willett going for two in a row. Patrick Reed still looking for that first major championship top 10.

The one that sticks out to me, however, is that Jordan Spieth has never finished worse than second here: 2nd in 2014, 1st in 2015, T2 in 2016. That is preposterous and impressive. And he can’t keep it up … right?

U.S. Open — Erin Hills (June 15-18)

Speaking of Spieth, he made it to the quarterfinals of the 2011 U.S. Amateur, which was the last USGA event played at this course. Erin Hills is in middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin and will play nearly 8,000 yards (five miles!) depending on the setup. There is a real chance the course could be the longest in U.S. Open history, which bodes well for the big bombers.

What doesn’t bode well for the big bombers is that like every other U.S. Open, if you miss a lot of fairways, you won’t win. Here’s the Wisconsin State Journal.

But length is only part of the challenge. It also features a number of blind shots and a terrain that will present golfers with a wide variety of shot options. While trees won’t be an obstacle — there are only six remaining on the course after 385 were removed in 2009 and 2010 — wayward shots likely will nestle in the fescue that will be 12 to 15 inches long in the rough.

Yep, sounds like a proper U.S. Open.

Open Championship — Royal Birkdale (July 20-23)

The Open Championship returns to Royal Birkdale for the first time since Padraig Harrington won his second Open back in 2008 by four over Ian Poulter. Birkdale will actually be a return to England for this tournament after a two-year hiatus in Scotland.

It has produces some grand champions over the years. Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino all won Opens at this course. It is not a long track at just over 7,000 yards, but each of the last two winners (Harrington and Mark O’Meara in 1998) have failed to shoot scores under par.

Birkdale, like almost all Open courses, is affected most by the wind. If it doesn’t blow, you can score. It is a fair course, but the wind almost always blows. Watch that video above. There are almost no clips where wind isn’t whipping at the pants of those golfers. The Open, as always, should be fascinating.

PGA Championship — Quail Hollow (Aug. 10-13)

The engraver of the Wannamaker Trophy should just get a head start and put the R-O-R on the trophy already. Rory McIlroy has won the Wells Fargo Championship at this course twice already, and he has been circling August 2017 for a long time.

This course recently got a sizable renovation for next year’s tournament,according to Charlotte Magazine.

That led to one of the most remarkable renovations of a golf course in the country, involving three new holes, overhauled fairways, reshaped greens, and the addition of areas for grandstands and spectators–all in three months. “I don’t think I’ll ever come up with any project like this again in my career,” said [superintendent Keith] Wood, a 20-year veteran in the industry.

About that McIlroy thing? Yeah, he should be the 1-1 favorite even now. Even with the renovation. Consider this from Charlotte Magazine.

Throughout the renovation process, crews took into consideration the environment around the course. At least three bald eagles live on the property, including one that was rehabilitated at the Carolina Raptor Center earlier this year. When the raptor center released the eagle at Quail Hollow in March, it announced that the eagle’s name would be Rory, after Rory McIlroy, a two-time winner of the Wells Fargo Championship, Charlotte Magazine reported.

So those are your four major championship courses for 2017. Will we get four brand-new champions like we did in 2016, or will a former winner win yet again? Golf is in a thriving, upbeat spot going into a new calendar year, and I can’t wait for these four tournaments to play out.


2016 golf gift guide: Equipment, clubs and clothes that you must have this fall

With the 2016-17 PGA Tour season about to kick into gear, it’s time for you to stock up so you can get in some cool afternoon rounds as we head towards the winter when you have to put the sticks away for another long offseason.

I have a few items you should check out over the next few months as you enjoy those last few rounds of 2016. Let’s jump right in.

New Era Ryder Cup Beanie

My favorite new addition to an ever-growing collection of headwear. I’m ready for my first U.S. Ryder Cup next week. Now we just need to lower the temperatures by about 35 degrees.



$25.99 | New Era

Titleist Vokey SM6 Wedges

I have been absolutely loving these wedges this summer. I have a 58-degree, 54-degree and 52-degree wedge and love them all. Could not recommend more highly.


$169 | Titleist

Johnnie-O Russell 1/4 Button Sweater

This sweater is incredibly versatile. I can tape video segments with it (and I do), or I can go hit balls for a couple of hours (after the weather cools down). A terrific addition to any golfer’s closet.


$145 | Johnnie-O

EvolveGolf Little Black Box

I’m a big fan of what the folks over at EvolveGolf are doing here. The concept is to take the Netflix monthly subscription model and send you tees and ball markers and other little golf accessory items you need ever four weeks. The upshot is that I don’t have to go to the store and purchase in bulk because I know a new box is coming every month.



$13/month | EvolveGolf

Enertor Performance Insoles

I use a standing desk in my office most days, so sometimes the last thing I want to do is go to the course and walk around a lot. These insoles help alleviate some of that stress on my feet and back and are incredibly comfortable to boot. Usain Bolt also uses them, which makes me feel more athletic than I actually am.