Chasing Autumn Fairways: The Best Spots for Golf in the Fall
By Bradley Turner, Keiser University College of Golf Director of Online Golf Instruction – MBA, PGA
Football season is in full swing, with many Americans spending their weekends enjoying college and NFL football games. This is great for avid golfers who want to get on a golf trip before the snow flies and golf courses close for the winter. Playing golf in the fall has many benefits, including less demand to play. This means tee times are generally available and at a lower cost. The golf courses are usually in great condition after an entire growing season. Finally, the fall foliage can turn any golf course into a spectacular canvas of colors. The reds, yellows, and oranges of the leaves can enhance the aesthetics of the course, making it a visually stunning experience. The following list of places to play golf in the fall is segmented by the best time to play based on the peak color of the leaves. Hopefully, you can manage to get one more golf trip in before the clubs are stored away for the winter.
Early to Mid-October
Michigan – Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club
The golf-crazed state of Michigan offers golfers public access to some of the finest golf experiences in the country. At the top of the list in Michigan for public golf courses is Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club. The golf course sits atop the bluffs above the Lake Michigan shoreline and provides golfers with a gorgeous venue to spend four hours with family and friends. The South Course at Arcadia Bluffs is no slouch, as it is rated the number five course in the state. The perfect time to experience golf in northern Michigan is early October, when the beauty of Michigan’s fall colors is at its peak.
Wisconsin – Sand Valley Golf Resort
Wisconsin has become a travel destination for golf connoisseurs, with major championship venues like Erin Hills (US Open), Sentry World (US Senior Open), and Whistling Straits (PGA and Ryder Cup) available for the public to play. Nestled in the central Wisconsin hills, it might be the best place to play golf in the entire state. Sand Valley Golf Resort has four remarkable courses for you to play. The Sand Valley and Mammoth Dunes courses are both ranked in the top three courses in the state. The latest addition is The Lido Course, which might be the best of the four. This course is a remake of the famous Lido Golf Club in Long Island that was originally designed by C.B. Macdonald in 1915. The original course is no longer in existence as it was turned into a Naval base during World War II. Thanks to the ownership at Sand Valley, you can now play this famous Long Island golf course in central Wisconsin.
West Virginia – The Greenbrier Resort
If you are looking for a first-class experience that goes beyond great golf, look no further than the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. Established in 1778 as a summer getaway, the mineral water from the White Sulphur Springs has attracted people from across the world to this exquisite resort. The famed White Course, designed by C.B. Macdonald in 1913, has hosted the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup, and many PGA Tour events. The golf is great, the hospitality is unmatched, and the food for resort guests is a culinary treat. The mountain venue makes for a picturesque golf experience this fall – one you will surely remember for a lifetime.
Mid to Late October
Indiana – French Lick Resort
The French Lick Resort was the place to be in the 1920s, with the special mineral springs attracting the rich and famous to the small town. Today, the best two public golf courses in Indiana are in the small town of French Lick, home to NBA great Larry Bird. The original Donald Ross-designed course is a wonderful challenge with the typical Ross green contours to test your short-game skills. The Pete Dye course has hosted the Senior PGA Championship and has spectacular vistas of the surrounding area. If you think of Indiana and imagine corn and soybean fields, French Lick Resort is not your typical Indiana farm town. The topography of both golf courses will challenge golfers with plenty of elevation changes and side hill lies. There is nothing flat in this part of Indiana.
California – Silverado Resort
Napa Valley in October is the place to be for wine enthusiasts to enjoy the many wine festivals celebrating the fall harvest. But Napa is also a perfect location to enjoy some great golf at the Silverado Resort. The PGA Tour visits the Silverado Resort every September and hosts the Fortinet Championship. While the fall colors in Napa Valley might be a bit different than in many parts of the country, there are plenty of individuals who enjoy the reds and whites that are poured into their evening wine glasses.
Colorado – The Broadmoor Resort
Located in Colorado Springs, the Broadmoor Resort has hosted USGA major championships like the US Women’s Open, the US Senior Open, and the men’s US Amateur. Two golf courses are available for resort play, including the Donald Ross original course built in 1918 and the Robert Trent Jones layout constructed in 1967. The Broadmoor Resort, located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, provides guests with the traditional resort services of a top-rated facility. A short trip to the mountains will expose you to the brilliant fall colors that make the Rocky Mountains a spectacular visit for everyone.
Early to Mid- November
North Carolina – Pinehurst Resort
The new American home of golf, but not new at all, in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Pinehurst is the site of the USGA Golf House and the World Golf Hall of Fame. The USGA has selected Pinehurst #2 as an anchor site of the US Open in 2024, 2035, 2041, and 2047. A perfect time to visit Pinehurst is in November when the temperatures are cool, the foliage is at its utmost color, and golf can be played. There are so many great golf courses to play in Pinehurst; this is a bucket list golf trip for every serious golfer.
Alabama – Farmlinks Golf Course
A short drive from Birmingham is the top-ranked public golf course in the state, Farmlinks Golf Course. With dramatic elevation changes and spectacular course conditions, this course is a must if you are traveling down Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. This is pure golf, no houses, no hotels, just pure golf. November golf in Alabama is about as good as it gets.
Georgia – McLemore Club
A new and visually stunning experience awaits you at the McLemore Club in the Georgia mountains. The Highlands course is rated in the top four public golf courses in Georgia, with the new Outpost course set to open in the spring of 2024. At 2300 feet above sea level, the ball will travel an additional 5% farther, making your tee shots the best you will hit all year. The views are incredible from the mountain-top golf course, with the fall colors mixed with the greens of the pine trees, a perfect canvas for the fall golfer.
Spring golf is always filled with anticipation until the golf courses finally open for play. Unfortunately, this excitement is muted when golfers find the course in spring condition, with barren trees, soft and muddy fairways, and green conditions less than ideal. The rust on your golf game is at its utmost those first few weeks. Contrast that with fall golf, where you will find the courses in their best condition, your game is polished from a summer of play, and the colors of the fall make every golf course beautiful. Check your calendar and get a group together to enjoy some great golf this fall. A spring golf trip is always a good idea, but a fall golf trip is even better.
Want more tips? If you want to take your game to the next level, contact our team at Keiser University’s College of Golf & Sport Management today. With our dedication and experience, together, we can elevate your game to new heights. Give us a call today at 888-355-4465.