Contrary to popular belief, golf can be a social activity—even for the family. It provides opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, teach your children patience and humility, and learn a new sport.
If you and your family are on the market for a golf-centric family holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the top, most playable courses in the country.
This is a travel inspiration guest post from Jordan Fuller
Tips for Planning a Golf-Centric Family Vacation
Planning a family-friendly golf trip is not as simple as eyeing five-star courses and leaving the rest of your itinerary up to fate. Especially when traveling with younger children, there are more factors to consider other than the destination itself. So before you dive into shortlisting courses, here are a few actionable tips to keep in mind.
Pick the Right Time
Whether you consider yourselves early risers or prefer to sleep in, you have two options—get up before other players tee off or later in the night when clubhouses wind down. In most cases, no one wants to wake up to a 7 a.m. alarm on holiday—but it may be necessary if you’re going to take your time on the greens.
Give the clubhouse a call before you embark on your family golf tournament. In some cases, you can book a course for the day—but it may be pricey!
Check Out Other Attractions
Let’s face it—if you’re traveling with children, they’re not going to want to mull over their swings and par records the entire time. As such, consider booking a golf resort close to other attractions, such as amusement parks, beaches, and child-friendly events. This way, you can always reward your child with something just as enriching after teeing off.
Get Your Kids Excited
Children are naturally materialistic, so incentivizing their desire to try their hand at golf with a new club or pair of shoes can be effective. For children who are more enticed by off-course experiences, consider offering a “prize” for trying something new—perhaps a trip to the park or an ice cream cone after the last hole.
Kids are also competitive. If the best way to get them excited is to turn learning opportunities into something competitive, you may end up spending more hours on the course than you’d anticipate.
Adjust the Gameplay
A single round of golf can take up to four hours, which probably isn’t ideal for families on holiday. As such, trimming a game down to manageable yardage and a less complex scoring system can make things more enjoyable for everyone.
For instance, traditional scoring methods may be too confusing for young children. Instead, consider a grading system on a scale of one to three. If they are happy with their shot, grade higher. If they could do better, grade lower.
Top Family-Friendly Golf Resorts in the USA
Now that you’re prepared to give a golf-centric family vacation a shot, here are a few courses and resorts you need to include on your bucket list.
Crystal Springs Resort – New Jersey
Not only is the Crystal Springs Resort Cascades Course perfect for families—but it is also a children’s haven. After playing this nine-hole course, your children can retire at the Biosphere Pool Complex, whose indoor water slide is bound to keep them busy for hours.
If you’re traveling with older kids, an afternoon of cliff jumping after conquering the nine-hole Minerals Course is the best way to top off an adventurous holiday.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort – South Carolina
This idyllic setting is one of the most breathtaking backdrops for American family golf. The Kiawah Island Golf Resort rests along a private coast in South Carolina and is home to five championship courses, perfect for families with teenagers.
Other than its golf courses, other activities families can enjoy at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort are kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, biking, canoeing, and tennis.
Omni Homestead Resort – Virginia
The Omni Homestead Resort isn’t just picture-perfect—it’s launched the careers of historical greats like Sam Snead, making it ideal for teenagers who want to pursue professional careers. While there are no kid-friendly courses, younger children can enjoy other family-forward activities like archery, carriage rides, fly fishing, falconing, and horseback riding.
Ritz-Carlton Half-Moon Bay – California
If your family loves to put the L in luxury, the Ritz-Carlton on Half-Moon Bay in Northern California is the place to be. Here, older children can enjoy the Old Course and Ocean Course, while younger kids can enjoy other activities like biking, tide pools, and outdoor fire pits for late-night smores-making.
Nearby Greenwood State Beach is regularly touted as one of the best beaches in Northern California.
Hershey Resorts, Pennsylvania
Not only is Hershey Resorts home to Hersheypark, but it is also the setting of the Golf Fore Family Experience, a 9-hole course complete with club rentals, snacks, and ball sleeves. Older kids can also try their hands at Hershey Resort’s more challenging courses—like the FootGolf Course. Not familiar with FootGolf? Think of a unique combination of football and golf!
The American Club – Wisconsin
As the only five-star rustic resort in the midwest, the American Club is a golf haven you can’t miss. While its Straits Course and River Course may be too challenging for younger children, they’ll surely enjoy driving around its rolling hills and catching a glimpse of its breathtaking scenery.
After a morning out on either course, families can enjoy walking trails, a small beach, and indoor tennis courts.
Turtle Bay Resort – Hawaii
Everything is scenic in Hawaii, so we can confidently say that Turtle Bay’s Arnold Palmer Course on the North Shore of O’ahu is one for your photo albums. Plus, if it gets too hot, you and the kids can always take a dip in its ocean cove or opt for a more adventurous look-see of its mountain waterfalls.
If you’re not picky about heights, you can take your family on a helicopter jungle tour—we guarantee that you won’t see anything quite like it!
You can find out more about Hawaii’s favorite family island Oahu here.
The Bottom Line – Golfing Vacations with Kids
Traveling with kids and teens is challenging but not impossible. Between helping them pack their travel bags and entertaining them on a road trip, careful planning can make your golf-centric family vacation totally worthwhile!
About the Author
Jordan is a retired golfer and passionate mentor. Through Golf Influence, he hopes to equip up-and-coming golfers with everything they need to know to thrive at the sport!