Finding the best location for clients who love the links can be all about timing. Fall can be a particularly good time to find good values, as destinations from Northern Michigan to the Carolinas drop their rates. And, off-the-beaten-path locations could offer unique experiences for a better value.
Northern Michigan courses generally drop their rates after Labor Day. Charlevoix's Dunmaglas course, ranked one of the Best 50 Upscale Courses in the United States by Golf Digest, offers 18 holes with cart for $55 during the week and $75 on the weekends after Labor Day. Jones Masterpiece at Treetops Sylvan Resort, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., also offers good value after the Labor Day weekend. Traverse City offers courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Tom Doak, and Arnold Palmer, with views of Lake Michigan, sand dunes and pristine forests.
In Alabama, Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail offers 30 courses with an average Golf Digest rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, and a range of affordable "stay and play" packages. Seasonal specials are available, and there are a variety of special events throughout the year, including the "Bring Your Old Buddy" scramble, couples challenges and even craft beer tournaments.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and the surrounding area offer nearly 100 options. Among them are the extremely challenging Glen Dornoch Golf Links, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, which provides a true country club feeling, and Heritage Club, all recipients of top ratings from Golf Advisor. Late fall offers the best rates.
San Diego, California, offers year-round temperate conditions, so it's more difficult to find seasonal deals. But there are many budget-friendly courses. Spending one day at the pricier, famed courses and playing a couple of rounds at the more budget-conscious Coronado and Balboa Park could make for a perfectly balanced trip.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, has hosted six USGA major championships at the Atlantic City Country Club. Ballamor, Seaview Golf Resort & Spa, Twisted Dune and Harbor Pines offer top-rated conditions and the opportunity for nearby gaming, as well.
Photo courtesy of Ballamor Golf Club.