Girls Golf Getaways
It’s no secret that women are gripping and ripping on golf courses in droves these days. And there is no shortage of couples and family golf vacations filled with water parks, roller coasters and romantic spa treatments.
But what if you want to leave the hubby (and the stroller) at home and have some girls-only time on the greens, followed by a hot-stone massage and a hot night on the town? Unfortunately, search the web for “girls golf vacations” and you’ll mostly find special … “caddying” services for the guys. So here we’ve compiled some of the best destinations for ladies who love the links — as well as shopping, dining, spas and wine tastings.
Tampa: Babes in GolflandTampa boasts white beaches, a club scene made for ladies nights (“Magic Mike” was filmed here), and the original golf girl: Mildred “Babe” Zaharias was golf’s leading lady in the mid-20th century and a founding member of the LPGA. In fact, for 7 years she owned and managed her own golf course, the Babe Zaharias Golf Course, which is now managed by the Tampa Sports Authority and, at $18 a round, great for babes on a budget.
Innisbrook Golf Resort’s renowned Copperhead and Island courses are as challenging as they are lovely, lush with cypresses, small lakes and native birds. Enjoy them with the “Innisbrook Your Way Golf & Spa Package,” including a luxury room, massage and pro-shop gift certificate. Or hone your swing at Saddlebrook Resort’s Arnold Palmer Golf Academy or the Women’s Executive Golf School’s classes at Emerald Greens.
Praising ArizonaPhoenix is a perfect girls getaway — the Biltmore district’s high-end boutiques; Old Town Scottsdale’s al fresco dining and art galleries; Camelback Mountain’s amazing hiking trails; and Native American-inspired spa treatments.
It also includes 200-plus golf courses, one of which that gives females special fanfare. The Boulders retreat sits amid eons-old rock formations, wildlife and stunning vistas. The “Fore Ladies” program takes you from putting green to pinot grigio. Savor the Golden Door Spa or tai chi and Pilates classes, followed by afternoon tea at English Rose Tea Room.
Also, the Elite Women’s Golf School offers getaways at the Scottsdale AAA Five-Diamond Fairmont resort, where school director Eva Scott will tailor classes for any level.
Lowcountry LadiesAmong countless Myrtle Beach, SC-area courses, women love Kiawah Island Resort for a reason. The Tom Fazio-designed Osprey Point course is a Golf Digest Top 50 Course for Women, with 5,000 yards of natural lakes and wide fairways. The Golfing Girls Boot Camp provides mornings of instruction followed by afternoon play with pro Abby Welch. The Golf Women’s Weekend (March) includes golf and wine tasting. After golf, enjoy the Sanctuary Spa, salt-marsh kayaking and dolphin encounters.
Myrtle Beach also hosts some top golf schools. Take classes from 1 hour to full-day play at Classic Swing Golf School at Legends. The Ritson-Sole Academy at Grande Dunes is legendary. Afterward, relax at Broadway at the Beach -- 350 acres of shopping, restaurants, and nightclubs such as the House of Blues.
Keep Austin (and its Golf) WeirdFor girls who like golf as well as funky foods, hip clubs and a music scene as big as, well, Texas, Austin has it all. And it starts with Barton Creek Resort & Spa. The Fazio Foothills course’s cedars, creeks and waterfalls are gorgeous, and at 5,185 and 5,900 yards (red/white tees), very women-friendly. Also try the golf academy, Three Springs Spa and the Texas-flavored 8212 Wine Bar & Grill. The “Gals Golf Getaway” package starts at $199 for room, champagne, spa services, wine tasting, 9 holes of golf and more.
Or stay downtown at the Driskill Hotel, built by cattleman Jesse Driskill in 1886 under the furnishing philosophy of no cow left behind. Take on Chuy’s “Big as Yo Face” burrito, 2-step through 6th Street’s bars and dance halls, or take in a comedy/magic show at Esther’s Follies. October is the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, and March is the famous Congress Bridge migration of Austin’s beloved bats. Weird? Yes. Wonderful? Absolutely.
California GirlsWith such varied Golden State pleasures — ocean, mountains, deserts, vineyards — girls may want to consider golf getaways in both No-Cal and So-Cal.
Just 40 minutes from San Francisco, along stunning Pacific cliffs, are the Half Moon Bay Golf Links and adjacent Ritz-Carlton. The Ocean Course’s famous par-4 18th hole offers end-to-end sea views. In between, catch up on gossip with Bay City landmarks, beach horseback riding, whale watching, and fennel-crusted sole at the Ritz’s oceanfront eatery Navio, followed by drinks under the stars at the patio fire pits.
In nearby Napa, the Bird Golf School offers ladies-only lessons at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club from instructors like 1963 U.S. Open champion Mary Mills. Students enjoy Meritage Resort’s vineyards and Spa Terra, set in an underground cave.
In Southern California, find Bird Golf Schools for Women in Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Palm Springs -- home also to La Quinta Resort’s Pete Dye-designed courses, nestled along the Santa Rosa Mountains. The compact Mountain Course challenges but gratifies female players. Try a “Hydrafacial” at Spa La Quinta and sample Mexican fare at Adobe. Pets are welcome, and teachers in your group save with “Relax and Recess” rates.
Ojai Resort, 90 minutes from Los Angeles shopping options features idyllic golf, Spanish Colonial design and Spa Ojai, 30,000 square feet of treatments from mediation to mud cleansing. Blend your own herbal creams at Artist’s Cottage & Apothecary, and pair brick-oven pizza with California wines at Jimmy’s Pub.
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