Monday, December 18, 2006

We are pleased to call to the podium this glittering array of 25 Gold Medalists for 2004-05. Veteran travelers likely will agree with most of our choices, which are based on an extensive GOLF MAGAZINE reader survey. We have included readers' comments at the end of each entry so you can compare notes with other golfers. Whether you've visited before or are planning your first trip, you can't do better than these resorts. For golfers, they're golden.

The American Club
Kohler, Wisconsin

You Said It: Excellent shape with excellent staff.... Heaven on Earth.... Treated like royalty.... A better option for East Coast residents than Bandon Dunes.

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
Bandon, Oregon

You Said It: Not a lot of nightlife, but who needs it?... A must for any serious lover of the game.... A minimalist resort -- just great golf.

The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa
Carefree, Arizona

You Said It: Visually beautiful.... Outstanding service and golf.... Value in midsummer is excellent.

The Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, Colorado

You Said It: The whole place is stunning.... Spectacular vistas, superb service, outstanding golf.... You never have to leave.

The Coeur d'Alene Resort
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

You Said It: World-class service.... One of the most beautiful views one could imagine.... Will return soon

Four Seasons Resort Aviara
Carlsbad, California

Alice in Wonderland,

You Said It: Golf holes had character.... Manicured beyond belief.... Staff members went out of their way to give us a private, guided tour of the gardens.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Ka'upulehu-Kona, Hawaii

You Said It: There is no other hotel in the world that treats you like No. 1.... The golf course is beautiful.... Very rewarding.... The service is off the charts.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Scottsdale, Arizona

You Said It: This is golfer's paradise.... attentive staff had an excellent memory for names.... Service was extremely high and not obtrusive.

Grand Cypress Golf Resort
Orlando, Florida

[TRAVEL_TOOLS "right"] Near Disney but a world away, this 1,500-acre resort features 45 holes by Jack Nicklaus: the North, South and East nines plus the New Course, the Bear's tribute to the Old Course at St. Andrews, complete with hellish bunkers, seven double greens and a serpentine burn. The Grand Cypress Academy of Golf is one of only 12 teaching facilities to make GOLF MAGAZINE's biennial Top 25 Golf Schools every year since the list's inception in 1999. Lodging includes the vast Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort and the Villas of Grand Cypress. If you have the cash, spring for a villa. You won't regret a second -- or penny -- of it.

You Said It: The villas were perfect for a group.... Excellent family facility.... Much more than golf and Mickey!

The Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

You Said It: Southern charm.... Nice mountain course layout.... Well-groomed grounds.... Excellent stay.

The Homestead
Hot Springs, Virginia

You Said It: Everything you need is right there.... The three courses each present different challenges.... Secluded... picturesque... immaculate.

Kapalua Resort
Maui, Hawaii

[GOLF_COURSE_SEARCH "right"] It's the resort every PGA Tour player most wants to visit -- and not just because it hosts the winners-only Mercedes Championships every year. It's hard to go wrong at either the Kapalua Bay Hotel, graced by the most romantic beach in Hawaii, or the Ritz-Carlton, where fresh, chilled pineapple enjoyed poolside is absolute decadence. Despite notorious Maui trade winds that can hurtle hats into space, Kapaula's three courses are all fun and different. Arnold Palmer designed the Village Course, which plays so up and down and side to side that Dramamine might be in order. Palmer collaborated with Francis Duane on the Bay Course, an easygoing, enjoyable track. But the big dog is the Plantation Course, Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore's 7,263-yard, par-73 behemoth. Mere mortals should not take heart in Ernie Els's record 31-under par at the 2003 Mercedes.

You Said It: The views are breathtaking.... Talk about elevation changes.... Instructors and staff are most helpful.... Most enjoyable, from golf to accommodations.

Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club
Kauai, Hawaii

You Said It: Wonderful resort.... Great course and service.... Lush fairways and greens.... Would love to return.

The Lodge at Koele
Lanai, Hawaii

You Said It: Vermont setting in Hawaii.... Loved the Orchid House.... The Lodge is an ideal honeymoon spot.... The 17th hole is truly unforgettable.

The Lodge at Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach, California

You Said It: Hard to find anything wrong.... One of the most wonderful places on Earth.... It's scary; once you do it, it becomes addictive.... Dream of a lifetime and did not disappoint.

Manele Bay Hotel
Lanai, Hawaii

You Said It: The seaside Manele resort is perfectly complemented by the mountainous Koele lodge.... Both resorts are exceptional, yet each is unique.... Just gorgeous.

Mauna Lani Resort
Kohala Coast, Hawaii


("awesome"). The Francis H. I'i Brown golf courses, North and South, were both designed by Robin Nelson and named after the resort's founder. The North Course plays through groves of Kiawe trees, while the South Course is etched into the lava. The two oceanfront par 3s on the South are the ones you'll tell your buddies about when you get home. A new Fire & Ice spa offers a natural lava sauna and[STYLE " " "spotlighttitle"]massages in private, thatched hales. Also not to be missed are the ancient fishponds and the fish-feeding tour at the shark pond. The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows fronts a palm-dotted, white-sand beach. The Fairmont resort chain recently acquired the adjacent Orchid hotel. Either way, you can't go wrong.

You Said It: The very best in golf resorts.... The courses, lodging and dining are fabulous.... My favorite anywhere.

Pinehurst Resort
Pinehurst, North Carolina

piece d'resistance .

You Said It: Wow.... Walking No. 2 with a caddie was the highlight.... If you want laid back, here it is.... Grade A.... It's freakin' Pinehurst!

Princeville Resort
Kauai, Hawaii

(n.) 1. A distant and secluded hideaway, usually of great beauty and peacefulness. 2. Princeville.

You Said It: It has everything -- ocean, mountains, waterfalls.... The most opulent resort I've experienced.... The lounge at sunset might be the most beautiful place in the world.

Sea Island Resort
Sea Island, Georgia

You Said It: Outstanding dining.... Outstanding quality of service.... Combination of excellent golf and beach.

Sunriver Resort
Sunriver, Oregon


You Said It: Great golf package.... Fun resort with lots of outdoor activities for every age.... Helpful, courteous staff.

Wailea Resort
Maui, Hawaii

[TRAVEL_TOOLS "left"] The Wailea Resort offers a perfect balance between doing everything and doing nothing. The Wailea Golf Club comprises three courses. The Blue is the original, built by Arthur Jack Snyder and known as the "Grand Lady of Wailea." Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed both the Emerald course and the Gold course, home of the Wendy's Champions Skins Game (a.k.a. the Senior Skins). The Gold is a stern test of shotmaking; leave the spraying to the whales in the background. The golf club is not part of a hotel property; it's an amenity to several outstanding Wailea resorts, all within a five-minute drive, notably the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui. The Grand Wailea Resort boasts the otherworldly Spa Grande, renowned for its hydrotherapy water circuit. And every weary traveler should enjoy a deep shiatsu barefoot massage at least once.

You Said It: The most beautiful courses on the island.... Picturesque layout with great views.... I felt like a member of the course from the time I arrived at the bag drop.

Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, Florida

You Said It: Good challenge but not excessively hard.... The 'cast members' seem to anticipate everything.... If you cannot find something to do here you should never leave home.

The Westin La Cantera Resort
San Antonio, Texas

la cantera

You Said It: Loved it.... Great services while on the course.... The pool made the trip enjoyable for everyone.... Best resort in Texas to take your wife to.

Williamsburg Inn
Williamsburg, Virginia

You Said It: The Gold Course deserves all the praise it gets.... Immaculate azalea-lined fairways.... Five-star service at the inn.... Lots to see and do.

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