Golf has a reputation for being a serious sport, with a lot of rules that need following and etiquette that just cannot be breached, but what about families that love to golf together? It may seem like your kids will never be able to comply with the long list of regulations that some golf courses enforce, but there is no need to worry, as we have put together a list of kid-friendly courses across North America that will make your next family vacation one to remember:
Pinehurst Golf Resort: North Carolina
Pinehurst is busy preparing to host the US Open in 2024 and with the facility upgrades that are taking place, this course is a better place than ever for kids to play golf. The hospitable surroundings of North Carolina do not end at Pinehurst gates, in fact, they have special tee-times reserved for families and juniors and kids under 12 stay, play, and eat for free. This makes Pinehurst one of your best choices when it comes to planning a family vacation in the Southeast.
Litchfield Beach Resort: Pawleys Island, South Carolina
Staying in the Carolinas for a moment, there is a great resort on South Carolina’s iconic Pawleys Island that your kids are guaranteed to love. With the golden sands of Myrtle Beach just a short chip away, this resort combines golf, swimming, and other island activities to offer something exciting for each member of the family. Junior golfers get special treatment at Litchfield, with the resort’s three courses featuring junior tees and even a kids’ golf camp that runs through the summer months.
The longer holes at Litchfield may be challenging for kids, but with the right equipment they will be able to card a decent score, while having loads of fun. If you need some tips on equipment, check this review of the best Fairway woods for 2017 — there is definitely something there that will give junior more distance off the tee.
Disney World Resort: Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Kids love Disney World, and as it turns out, Disney World loves golfers. You may have images of long lines and rollercoasters in your head when you think of this iconic Florida resort, but did you know that there are five excellent golf courses waiting for you there? The Palm, Osprey Ridge, Magnolia, Oak Trail, and Lake Buena Vista courses each offer something different when it comes to layout, bunkering, amazing water features, and full enjoyment and kids are always welcome to accompany their parents or other guardians for eighteen holes of family fun.
Treetops Resort: Gaylord, Michigan
The Treetops resort was designed by a trio of golfing greats: Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones Sr, and Rick Smith. This immaculate course in northern Michigan is dedicated to teaching people of all ages about the game of golf and fostering a love of the game in young people. If your kids show an interest in golf and you are looking for a place where their talent can really be nurtured, Treetops is the place for you. The resident pros offer top-class training specifically designed for kids, and you may even learn something yourself by attending a few lessons while you are there.
Pebble Beach Resorts: Pebble Beach, California
A famous course, like Pebble Beach, with its iconic ocean backdrop and a proud history of hosting the world’s top players, may not seem like the type of course where your kids would be welcome to play, but they are. While Pebble Beach maintains an elegant atmosphere, and has a few more rules of etiquette than some of the other courses on our list, they provide special lessons and tee times for juniors. This course is ideal for older children and teens who are old enough to follow a few rules. Playing at Pebble Beach will give them a great introduction to the rules of golf and prepare them for a lifetime of enjoyable rounds — no matter what golf club they end up joining.
Westin La Cantera Hill: San Antonio, Texas
As one of the premier golf destinations in the Texas Hills, La Cantera Hill offers two championship golf courses, expert pro-tuition, and one of the finest hotel experiences in San Antonio. As exclusive as this resort may be, it goes to great lengths to accommodate junior golfers, in fact, if your kids join you at a tee-off later than 3PM, they play for free. A leisurely game of golf in the afternoon is the perfect prelude to a happy evening and if your kids are still learning the game, nine holes will have you back in your room in time to get ready for dinner.
Wintergreen Resort: Wintergreen, Virginia
Nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, Wintergreen is one of the gems of southern states golfing. The beautiful natural setting creates a peaceful environment for family bonding, golf, and a host of other outdoor activities. Your kids will enjoy the junior tees and golf school, and when you are not on the course you can go horseback riding together or explore the nature trails as a family. For many visitors, that is quality time at its best.
Callaway Gardens: Pine Mountain, Georgia
Combining golf with everything we love about the great outdoors, Callaway Gardens is another great golf destination in the South. When you are not taking your kids around the scenic course surrounded by pine forest, you can head off for a family hiking or camping adventure and take part in a host of outdoor activities that are perfect for bonding. This resort regularly features on top destination lists and offers a range of accommodation options including a lodge and family villas.
Crystal Springs Resort: Sussex County, New Jersey
This famous resort offers a fun experience for kids and parents alike, with water slides, football golf, and a variety of outdoor activities and theme parks within short driving distance. If your kids enjoy high-energy fun off the golf course, Crystal Springs is an excellent choice. The resort’s two golf courses are challenging, but not too difficult for kids to negotiate — with some help from their parents of course. Family-size golf carts that fit four passengers are available for hire at both courses, turning a round of golf into a real family activity.
The American Club: Kohler, Wisconsin
If you are passing through Wisconsin and want to experience a taste of classic American five-star resort living, The American Club will take you and your kids back in time. Golf, archery, horse riding, and fantastic luxury accommodations and dining are just some of the highlights of a vacation spent at this distinguished resort. The shores of Lake Michigan are nearby, offering a great opportunity for swimming and long walks on the shoreline that your family will remember for years to come.
Turtle Bay Resort: Oahu, Hawaii
There is nothing like a vacation in Hawaii to let your whole family relax, enjoy the tropical climate, and soak up the warm island sun. What is more, America’s only waterborne state also offers some fantastic golfing options and Turtle Bay Resort is one of the best places you could take your kids.
The Arnold Palmer championship course at Turtle Bay is kid-friendly and when you are not honing your driving and putting skills, and showing your family how it is done, you can enjoy some very unique activities on the island. Helicopter jungle tours, a surf school that will have kids and parents riding the waves in no time, and even a giant waterfall that is so big that nobody can get to it are just some of the adventures you can look forward to off the course.
Wigwam Golf Resort and Park: Litchfield, Arizona
Since it opened its doors in 1929, Wigwam has gained a reputation as one of America’s legendary resorts. Today’s modern layout pays tribute to almost a century of luxury and service excellence, and the resort’s three championship courses will provide you with hours of challenging and exciting golf. For kids, the par-three course offers a relaxed atmosphere and a chance to work on playing iron shots and perfecting their putting; some of the most important elements in the golf game that should be learned from a young age. This final course on our list is a true American icon and your family will remember their visit to Wigwam for years to come.
From the mountains of Virginia to the beaches of California — and everywhere in between — North America is a paradise for golfers and their families. The courses we have shared with you today were selected for their family-friendly atmosphere and policies, and the top-class golf facilities that they offer their guests. Wherever you decide to take your family on vacation, make the most of the golfing opportunities, and take the time to teach your kids the love of the game, the basics of rules and etiquette, and the great tradition of sportsmanship that makes golf such a unique and rewarding pastime. Here is to your next great vacation at one of America’s best and most hospitable golf resorts!