Golf Bucket List: 20 Courses To Visit Before You Kick the Bucket
"It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course," Hank Aaron.
There are many things people want to put on their "bucket list" in order to remind themselves of what they want to do before they "kick the bucket."
As for my bucket list, it's all about golf. Where to go, where to stay and how long can I stay?
The following slideshow contains 20 beautiful courses and resorts that would make any bucket lister jealous.
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Pacific Dunes opened in 2001.
Designed by Tom Doak, Pacific Dunes doesn't look built, but rather like it was discovered.
With 60-foot sand dunes and natural bunker lines, the landscape looks like it has been there for centuries.
Pacific Dunes is not a particularly long course, but the rugged terrain demands you take your approach cautiously.
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Pebble Beach is a beautiful but difficult course. From the rugged coastline to the sloping greens, Pebble Beach remains one of the most difficult courses to play.
Built in 1919, Pebble Beach has entertained celebrities as well as the world's best golf pros.
Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the cliffside fairways are something to behold.
As they say in their ads, "Every golfer deserves to play Pebble at least once in his or her lifetime."
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Spyglass Hill was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and opened on March 11, 1966.
The planning, design and construction took six years, but the finished product was worth the wait.
Originally called Pebble Beach Pines Golf Club, the course was renamed, Spyglass Hill by Samuel Morse, the founder of Pebble Beach Company. The new name was based on the novel, Treasure Island.
Spyglass Hill has been ranked as high as fifth on the list of America's 100 Greatest Public Courses, by Golf Digest.
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Located in La Jolla, California, Torrey Pines Golf Course is home to two of the most picturesque golf courses in the world.
Torrey Pines is the home of the PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open, which takes place every January or February.
The South Course was originally designed by William Bell and redesigned by Rees Jones in 2001.
Torrey Pines is named after the Torrey Pine, a rare tree that grows in the wild only along the local stretch of coastline in San Diego County.
Kiahwah Island Golf Resort
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Kiawah Island Golf Resort opened in 1974.
The course was designed so players would have a view of the fantastic shoreline.
Located in Kiawah Island, South Carolina (near Charleston), the resort is home to five courses, most notably the Ocean Course.
Designed by Pete and Alice Dye, Ocean Course opened in 1991.
Due to its large slopes, numerous bunkers and challenging Bermuda grass, Kiawah Island was named the toughest course in America in 2010 by Golf Digest.
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Whistling Straits is a luxury resort located in Kohler, Wisconsin. The course is owned by a subsidiary of the Kohler Company.
The two courses at Whistling Straits were designed by Pete and Alice Dye.
The Straits Course is the flagship course at Whistling Straits. The Straits Course replicates the ancient seaside links courses of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The course features vast rolling greens, deep bunkers, grass-topped dunes and winds that sweep in off the nearby lake.
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Blackwolf Run is another course located in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Opening in 1988, Blackwolf Run was named the year's "Best New Public Course" by Golf Digest magazine.
The River Course is an 18-hole layout along a glacial river basin.
Designed by Pete Dye, the course hosted the 1998 U.S. Women's Open.
Pinehurst Country Club
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D. Ross (1903-35), Par 72—7,051 yards
Established in 1894 in the Sand Hills region of North Carolina, Pinehurst has eight outstanding courses and more holes than any other resort.
Course No. 1 is the most scenic and picturesque in terms of design.
However, all the courses have tree-lined fairways and numerous bunkers. Payne Stewart won the 1999 U.S. Open here with a dramatic 15-foot putt at the 18th hole.
Sadly, it was his last major tournament; he died in an airplane crash that fall.
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Chambers Bay is a Scottish links-style course located in University Place, Washington on Puget Sound.
The course is owned by Pierce County and opened for play in 2007.
The course was originally a sand and gravel quarry, which explains the unique course layout.
Chambers Bay hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur and is scheduled to host the U.S. Open in 2015.
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The Harbour Town Golf Links is a course that hosts the Verizon Heritage golf tournament on the PGA Tour.
The course is located in the Sea Pines Plantation of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
The course was designed by Pete Dye with help from Jack Nicklaus.
The course opened in 1967 and has remained a top golf resort ever since.
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Part of the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon Trails was designed by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
Bandon Trails opened in 2005 and its course travels through dunes, meadows and forests, making for a difficult golf outing.
Golf carts are not permitted, so plan for a steep and winding hike.
Bethpage Black Course
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The Bethpage Black Course is the most difficult of the five courses at Bethpage State Park on Long Island.
In 2002, the Black Course became the first publicly owned and operated course to host the U.S. Open.
The course again hosted the U.S. Open in 2009.
Par 72—7,279 yards
Golf has been played on this heathery patch of land on Scotland’s East Coast since the 15th century.
In addition to the Old Course, there are four more excellent 18-hole courses, one 9-hole course and a practice center to accommodate golfers of all skill levels.
All are public, but reservations are a must. The Old Course is embedded in the stormy North Sea dunes and is challenging to even the best of golfers.
For people who aren’t even pretending to be Tiger Woods, Strathtyrum Course is ideal. The nine-hole Balgove is best for children and beginners.
Cog Hill Golf Club
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Cog Hill Golf Club is located outside of Chicago, Illinois.
The course was built by David McIntosh and opened on the 4th of July weekend in 1927.
Cog Hill is a public golf complex and hosts the PGA Tour's BMW Championship from 2009 to 2011.
The Royal Down County Golf Club
Over 100 years old and still going strong: The Royal Down County Golf Club in Newcastle, N. Ireland, United Kingdom.
The Championship and the less formidable Annesley. Located about 30 miles south of Belfast and 90 miles from Dublin, the club is stunningly set between the mountains of Mourne and the Irish Sea.
However, it is as tough a place to play as it is beautiful to see.
The fairways are lined with masses of native plants such as heather and gorse. Wild tussocks cover the bunkers and the wind off the sea can add to the tension.
Augusta Golf Resort
Designed by: Mackenzie/Jones (1932)
Each spring, the venerable club in Augusta, Georgia is the site of the Masters, maybe the most revered tournament in the United States.
Hot-pink azaleas bloom near the championship 18-hole and 9-hole courses. Three of the sport’s toughest and most famous holes are here: the 11th, 12th and 13th holes together are known as “Amen Corner.”
Winners are easy to spot, because they are given special green blazers.
Designed by: Toomey/Flynn (1931), Par 70—6,996 yards
Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York boasts a few notable firsts. It has the first clubhouse in the United States, built in 1893 from a design by Stanford White.
It was also the first club that admitted women as members.
The rolling terrain of Long Island’s south shore gives the course plenty of variety and winds off the Atlantic Ocean can make playing this private course quite challenging.
Royal Melbourne Golf Club
Designed by: Mackenzie/Russell (1926), Par 72—6,598 yards (East) and 6,589 yards (West)
Located in Melbourne, Australia, this lovely private club has two 18-hole courses, East and West.
For tournaments and special members’ events, the club forms the Composite Course of 12 holes from the West and six from the East.
This first was created in 1959 when Royal Melbourne was the site of the Canada Cup, now called the World Cup.
Cypress Point Club
Designed by: Dr. Alister Mackenzie (1929), Par 72—6,536 yards
The late great duffer Bob Hope once quipped that during a membership drive at this exclusive club, they drove away 20 members.
Cypress Point is indeed a private place, which explains why you will not see casual players chipping away on the Pacific coastline.
Located south of Pebble Beach in California’s gorgeous Big Sur country, the club has an 18-hole course of rolling fairways.
Pine Valley Golf Club
Designed by: Crump/Colt (1918), Par 70—6,765 yards
Pine Valley is somewhat mysterious in golfing circles because it is hard to find and extremely private.
Those who have found the club located in Clementon, New Jersey’s lonesome Pine Barrens say the course is one of the world’s finest.
The founders started the club in 1913, with the purchase of 184 acres of scruffy pinelands.
The later addition of 416 acres of picturesque virgin woodlands enhanced the remote beauty of the place.