Spring break is just a few weeks away for most school districts, while summer break is just over the horizon. Across the country, vacations are being painstakingly planned by diligent moms and dads with “advanced degrees” in Google, Bing, Trip Advisor and Yelp. And these days, many parents also have a “minor” in golf.
With thousands of juniors taking up the game during and following the pandemic, the U.S is now home to more golfing families than ever before. Time off school and work will translate into more family golf getaways in 2022. If your family falls into the “have clubs and kids will travel” category, here are five family-friendly golf getaways to check out in 2022
- Fripp Island Golf and Beach Resort
First, it’s worth noting that South Carolina is home to one of the best junior golf associations in the country, the South Carolina Junior Golf Association (SCJGA). Kids who set up GHIN indexes through the SCJGA can join Youth on Course for no charge and play for $5 or less (that’s not a misprint) at hundreds of courses throughout the state.
In the state’s famed Lowcountry region, Fripp Island Golf and Beach Resort is one of the most family-friendly golf destinations in the state. Located less than an hour from historic Beaufort, “Fripp” is home to two decidedly different 18-hole layouts, Ocean Point (designed by George Cobb) and Ocean Creek (designed by Davis Love III).
While golf packages are available, mom and dad can call or email the resort inform the golf staff about the number of juniors who’ll be playing. For kids 12-15, the 18-hole walking rate is just $12 and $9 for nine holes. For younger players ages 5-11, both Fripp courses offer “Wee Links” tees after 3 p.m. for $15.
Junior golf is all about walking the golf course and experiencing the game the way it was meant to be played. Unlike many golf resorts that are hyper-focused on golf cart revenue, Fripp allows walking any time of day at Ocean Point and Ocean Creek. Both layouts are a pleasure to hoof with their relatively small footprints and greens and tee boxes in proximity.
For more information, visit www.frippislandresort.com or call (888) 741.8974.
2. Pinehurst Resort
Many parents will assume that Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C. exceeds their budget. After all, the Cradle of American Golf is considered by many to be our country’s St. Andrews, and courses like No. 2 and No. 4 host major championships such as the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur and noted amateur tournaments like the North & South.
Dig a little deeper, though, and they’ll discover that Pinehurst goes above and beyond to make family golf trips affordable for various budgets. One of the best deals on the golfing planet, kids 12 and under stay, play and eat for free when sharing a room with a parent. Kids 17 and under play for free on every course except No. 2 when playing with an adult.
What’s more, Pinehurst is home to one of the world’s best short courses, the nine-hole Cradle, and one of the largest putting courses, Thistle Dhu. Even if the kids are just starting to dip their toes into the game, there are several options.
Pinehurst Resort even provides itineraries for the entire family based on experience level. And with a myriad of activities available within walking or biking distance in and around the historic Village, there’s no need to use the car again until it’s time to leave.
For more information, visit www.pinehurst.com or call (855) 235-8507.
3. Sea Island Golf Resort
This iconic resort on Georgia’s Gold Coast boasts as much or more history than any destination in the U.S. With multiple five-star hotels, three nationally-ranked golf courses, and TOUR-caliber practice facilities, Sea Island Golf Resort is a bucket trip for golf buddies and couples trips. There are several reasons, however, for families to make the sojourn to St. Simmons Island.
Kids under 19 don’t pay greens fees to play the resort’s Seaside, Retreat and Plantation courses. Before 3 p.m., they pay for either a cart and forecaddie or a caddie (if walking). After 3 p.m., when walking unaccompanied is allowed for resorts guests, juniors effectively play for free, according to Director of Golf Brannen Veal.
Post-round, families love to gather at The Lodge’s 18-hole putting course, The Speedway. The course is open Wednesday – Monday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis. Beverage service is provided, so mom and dad can kick back with their favorite cocktail as the fun ensues.
For more information, visit www.seaisland.com, or call (877) 661-9064.
4. Rumbling Bald
Vacation rentals with all the amenities and comforts of home have become the preferred lodging option for families over the past two years. Airbnb recently reported that the company’s average length of stay and the average number of bedrooms per rental increased substantially in 2021.
In that sense, Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure in Western North Carolina fits the family golf travel bill. This 3,000-acre retreat at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains is home to a wide selection of vacation rentals ranging from studios and villas to luxury mountain homes.
Rumbling Bald is home to two 18-hole layouts, Apple Valley and Bald Mountain, both of which are family-friendly in offering multiple sets of tees and minimal forced carries over hazards and natural areas. Kids 17 and under can play 18 holes for $30 or nine holes for $20. Rumbling Bald also offers replay rates, subject to availability, for families who just can’t get enough golf.
Or, for those who prefer to stick to 18 holes a day, there are plenty of other activities and amenities to keep busy. Kids Adventure Camp is available June 6 through August 12 and features tennis, arts, crafts, games, mini-golf, yoga, dance and more. The Beach Cabana below Legends on the Lake is Rumbling Bald’s lake headquarters and offers boat, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals.
For more information, visit www.rumblingbald.com, or call (828) 694-3000.
5. Greenville, S.C.
It’s not a golf destination, per se, but Greenville is a hotbed of junior golf that sets up perfectly for a long weekend getaway. Located midway between Charlotte and Atlanta along the I-85 corridor, Greenville is an easy stopping point for those traveling in the Southeast.
Get things started at the Haas Family Golf Center, founded by former PGA TOUR player and current Champions Tour member Jay Haas, his wife Jan and his son, TOUR player Bill. With an acre of grass tees and hitting area and 40 covered and heated hitting stations, Haas Family Golf Center is the largest practice facility in the Southeast.
Once the family has the game dialed in, kick it up a notch with a little friendly competition at 3’s Greenville Golf and Grill. This innovative, 12-hole par-3 course features holes designed by several different architects and TOUR players. There’s also an 18-hole putting green and extensive short game area for members. The clubhouse serves up killer eats from its on-site smoker, and plenty of cold drinks.
With everyone primed for a regulation 18-hole loop, head north to the Tigerville area for a round at Cherokee Valley Course and Club. There are discounted rates and memberships for juniors, and owner Matthew Jennings’s inclusive approach to the game ensures there’s always a family-friendly vibe going on. Stick around and grab dinner at Cherokee Valley’s new restaurant, Core 450, which serves small plates, pizzas and chef-created entrees.
For more information, visit www.cherokeevalleyclub.com, or call (864) 689-3585.