Views of the Old Course’s 17th hole may be the Old Course Hotel’s selling point, but since Herb Kohler acquired the place in 2004, his team has impressed by improving on many of the finer details. Take the showers. After a soggy day on the links, there’s no better to way unwind than under the multi-head, high-pressure showerheads that come standard in the hotel’s 144 rooms. While a stay here doesn’t guarantee a tee time on the Old Course, the golf concierge makes the application process a snap and, as a worthy alternative, guests have privileges at the Duke’s, a Peter Thomson design that was substantially upgraded by Pete Dye protégé Tim Liddy in 2005, just a complimentary 10-minute shuttle drive away. Dining options, both formal and casual, are superb and for a wrap-up of the day’s rounds, there’s both the stellar Road Hole Bar, with its panoramas of the ancient links and the historic Jigger Inn, the perfect spot to indulge in one last pint or wee dram. The hotel’s location is ideal, too, a five-minute walk from town, but secluded enough to make you feel you’re at a country estate.
Inside the Top 5: Casa de Campo’s family attractions are so voluminous, it’s easy to forget that the resort is also a magnet for sun-seeking groups of golf pals. The attractions start with Teeth of the Dog, Pete Dye’s early masterpiece and extends to two other Dye tracks: the low-profile Links and the remarkable Dye Fore, a bluff-top adventure that sports camera-worthy vistas for much of its journey. At any other property, Dye Fore would be the showstopper. At Casa de Campo, it’s merely another superb option for you and your friends.