Looking for Family-Friendly Golf Resorts?
I picked up my first golf club when I was 10 years old. A few weeks later, I notched a legitimate par on a real course and was hooked. I took lessons, went to camps, and even used scissors to trim the grass in my backyard to simulate a real putting green. As I got older, my love of golf intensified. I played for my high school team, tried out for my college team (and didn’t make it), and continued to hit the links almost every weekend. Sometimes I’d even play 36 holes in one day.
And then 6 years ago, I had my first son. Three years later, I had another son. Since their births, I have played approximately four rounds of golf. As most parents know, it’s kind of hard to sneak away from the family for 6 hours on a Saturday.
So I thought to myself: “I’ll teach my wife and kids how to play so we can go to a family-friendly golf resort and I can finally find my swing.” I started with my wife. We turned date night into trips to the driving range. We even got a babysitter a few times on the weekends and played 9 holes on an executive course near our house. Turns out, she’s actually pretty good.
Next it was time to work on the kids. I took my oldest to the range and after a few quick tips, it appears he’s a natural. (I think he takes after his dad.) So then it was the 3 year old’s turn. Everywhere we went, we sought out mini-golf courses and he loved the game.
The seed had been planted in all of them – my work was done. Now I was on a mission to find a kid-friendly golf vacation. As I began my research, I found some amazing options and learned some interesting tips along the way.
I’ve highlighted 5 family-friendly golf resorts that I’m actively pitching to my wife for our next family vacation.
The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA
Photo courtesy of Spring Creek Golf Course
Because Hershey, PA, affords families a ton of vacation activities to choose from, golf can sometimes get overlooked. After all, it’s hard to compete with chocolate and roller coasters. However, this amazing family destination is an ideal getaway for families looking to hit the links.
Specifically, Spring Creek is a 9-hole golf course that’s a short drive from the Hershey resorts and was recently ranked #2 in Golf Digest’s “Best Short Courses” in Pennsylvania. It was also the nation’s first course created for players under the age of 18, though there is no age restriction.
As I read hole descriptions and reviews, I was convinced that this is the perfect course for the whole family to enjoy together. Just looking at the pictures and videos makes me want to stick a tee behind my ear and book a trip now.
They offer junior rates and junior golf clinics. Even better, they’re promoting a family package that includes 4 rounds, 4 sets of rentals, 4 sleeves of golf and 4 snacks for only $100. That’s a pretty awesome deal! If your family considers themselves more advanced, Hershey Country Club has two unique, challenging courses for guests of the two resorts to choose from.
Treetops Resort in Treetops Village, MI
Photo courtesy of Treetops Resort
Treetops has made it their mission to accommodate every age and ability level. They offer five courses as well as a par-3 course. I read that one course in particular – Tom Fazio Premiere – features sloped sides that help keep errant shots in play. This is great for the new duffer, as well as a more seasoned player. After all, who hits the ball straight all the time?
Imagine smacking a slice off the tee that conveniently rolls back down into the fairway. Nice! They also offer tailored instructional golf programs for all skill levels at incredibly reasonable rates. You will need to bring your own clubs as rentals are not offered. On Sundays, kids play FREE at Pine Beach West course when accompanied by a parent. There are also a host of other tee time deals.
Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, SC
Photo courtesy of Wild Dunes Resorts
This resort is all about the family. In fact, their special promotion called “All in the Family” is an hour-long group lesson for the entire family. Additionally, kids under 15 play for free after 5 pm with an adult. Check out this page for all their great deals for juniors. Golf Digest says the Tom Fazio-designed courses at Wild Dunes are among the best in South Carolina.
If your kids are serious strikers, they run one of the country’s best golf schools with clinics, lessons, and one-on-one instruction. Besides golf, the resort offers spa services, nature tours, and arts and crafts camps to keep everyone busy. Hopefully this will provide you and your spouse an opportunity to maybe play 18 without the kids.
PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, FL
Photo courtesy of PGA Village
What better place to go with a family of golf lovers than the PGA Village? The entire complex features 3 championship courses and a 35-acre PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance where you can have your swing analyzed and receive focused teaching from top professionals. One specialized program called “Born to Play” stood out as I have a 3 year old that truly needs to learn the basics before we tee it up. The program is designed for kids 6 and younger and focuses on rules, etiquette, fitness, on course play, chipping, and putting. But what makes this place unique is the short course for families. The course consists of 6 holes - the longest being 60 yards - and is designed for the beginner in mind. I still remember the first short course I played with my family as a child and I can guarantee it will be fun for everyone. The course is affiliated with 4 local hotels and resorts as there is no accommodations on site. For those who appreciate golf history, PGA Village would make a great family-friendly golf vacation.
La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA
Photo Courtesy of La Costa Resort
I saved the best for last. This picturesque and meticulous golf resort would make a perfect getaway for the family. As southern California’s only Gold Medal Golf Resort, La Costa boasts two championship courses steeped in tradition. But what makes it so family friendly is its Junior Golf Program. According to their own description, the program offers a “positive, recreational environment for learning, one in which your children will thrive under the direction of our motivated and highly skilled TOUR Academy instructors.” They run camps of all shapes and sizes for kids between the ages of 7 and 17 . La Costa also offers a highly-rated kids programs called Kidtopia that was designed by an architect who specializes in hands-on museums and theme parks. Looking at the images make me wish I was 3 again. In fact, Travel Channel included La Costa in its Top Family Vacation Spots in the US. So with the golf program, Kidtopia, water slides, swanky spa and top-notch accommodations, La Costa Resort is an incredibly diverse, family friendly vacation that encourages both time apart and time together.