For a new Gold series, we asked our well-traveled Gold Insiders to make the case for a hidden gem that they have discovered on their journeys: an under-the-radar course or “golf experience” that deserves more pub. Responses flooded in, and we’ve been rolling them out in groups of three. Played a diamond in the rough of your own? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
SANKATY HEAD GC
Par: 72, Yardage: 6,711
Limited outside play (approx. $100); call pro shop for details
“Sankaty Head, a true links on Nantucket Island, might not qualify as a classic ‘hidden gem,’ because it’s mostly a private course. However, it does offer limited public play in the early spring. It’s certainly ‘hidden’ location-wise, as it requires a ferry or airplane ride to access Nantucket. In the spring you don’t have to deal with the tall fescue grass, but the course is still a challenge, especially when the wind is up, as it almost always is. The ocean views are wonderful and the course plays firm and fast. The golf staff treats you like a member too. Although the $100-plus green fee may seem steep, Sankaty Head should be a bucket-list course for New England golfers. So go ahead and drive to Hyannis, catch the ferry (either a 60- or 90-minute ride), catch a cab for the ride to Siasconset (hey, we said hidden!) and play this outstanding 1920s-era layout. Dress warmly, bring a few extra balls and try not to get distracted by the scenery.” — Richard Walsh, Charlestown, R.I.
MOJAVE RESORT GC
Par: 72, Yardage: 6,939
“I am part of a group of 20 people that have played this course for the past 15 years, because it is an ideal getaway. The lush layout is routed through the lowlands of the banks of the Colorado River. Wide fairways, wind-shaped sand dunes, beautiful natural landscaping, and lush greens are set against desert mountains. The extensive practice area has a grass range with target flags, putting green, and a short-game section with a sand bunker. Most important of all, the friendly staff provides the very highest standard of customer service. They all like to say, “Yes!” — Art Longoria, Los Angeles
MONKEY ISLAND, OKLA.
Par: All three nines are par 36; Yardage: 3,384 (Champions); 3,690 (Heritage); 3,521 (Legends)
“On the shores of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees lies a course that just five short years ago literally came within weeks of becoming a hay field: Shangri-La. Many years ago this course hosted Mickey Mantle’s annual charity event but by 2010 it had fallen into serious disrepair. Fortunately a local resident decided to save the course and in the subsequent 18 months invested millions into the layout and its facilities. Within a couple of years all 27 holes had been completely reworked into something quit special. For anyone traveling in the Tulsa area or even the snowbirds that come down from the upper Midwest early in the spring looking for excellent golf experience this course offers all the challenges you could want. It’s a worthy destination for golfers of any skill level. The tips will give the scratch golfer all they want while moving forward will allow shorter hitters to enjoy this tucked-away Oklahoma gem. Full disclosure: I am not a member and live about 75 miles from this facility. I do not own property in the area but found this course in 2010 by chance and enjoyed watching it evolve into what it is today.” — Charles R. Dickerson, Bella Vista, Ark.
The Gold Insiders are a group of more than 900 of our most well-traveled and discerning readers who contribute their opinions and expertise to the site. On average, they take seven golf trips per year and carry a handicap of 11.8. Want to join the Insiders? We’d love to have you on board! Click here to take our introductory survey.