10 Top-Flight Golf Course Outings With Dad That Won't Break the Bank (Slideshow)
Bethpage State Park, New York
Facebook/NY State Parks & Historic Sites
Considering the fact that the historic Bethpage State Parks’ Black Course on Long Island was the site of the U.S. Open in 2002 and 2009, and will serve as the host of The Barclays 2016 (and 2021 and 2027 too!), you should expect to pay a bit more money — and $130 (without a cart) for a weekday and $150 for a weekend is still perfectly reasonable. However, it’s the discounts that really make this an affordable outing. Unlike the few dollars that usually separate the rates of in-state and out-of-state residents, the fees are cut in half here for New Yorkers. That means only $65 to $75 (weekday and weekend, respectively) can get you on the greens of one of the best courses in the state and country — if you happen to be a resident of the Empire State.
Coronado Golf Course, California
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Live in Southern California? Head to San Diego and cross the bay to try Coronado Golf Course, a short, flat, and fun location that is rated as one of the top public courses in the country. The best part? You can enjoy all 18 holes (especially the last four, which finish beside the ocean) for only $35 during the week, or $40 on weekends and holidays. Coronado residents get an additional $2 off, but they likely already knew that — in fact, they’ve been trying to keep the place a secret since it first opened back in 1957.
Dubsdread Golf Course, Florida
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Dubsdread is the oldest public golf course in central Florida, having been originally designed in 1924 and renovated back in 2008. Florida residents can save $11 compared to out-of-staters, but even then the rates are only $50 per person for walkers or $61 for carts — and this is the Friday to Sunday rate! Weekdays only cost $38-49, and even less if you start later in the day. Dubsdread is the former site of the Orlando Golf Open, and its narrow fairways, ample bunkers, and tiny “postage stamp” greens have hosted legends like Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, and Claude Harmon.
Eagle’s Pointe Golf Club, South Carolina
To a lot of travelers, the words “Hilton Head Island” are synonymous with “golf,” but you don’t need to fork over $300 to play at a place like Harbour Town Golf Links to enjoy the area. Instead, cross the bridge to Bluffton, South Carolina, and try one of five local courses owned and operated by Brown Golf, like Eagle’s Pointe Golf Club. While it's currently only $63 for non-residents to play 18-holes with a cart included on weekend mornings (it's an extra $46 during the week), weekend guests can save even more by waiting until after 11 a.m. ($43), after 1 p.m. ($36), or after 3 p.m. ($30).
Griffith E. Harris Golf Course, Greenwich, Conn.
Designed in 1963 by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and the only non-private course in Greenwich, Connecticut, the Griffith E. Harris Golf Course is a 158.6-acre facility complete with 18 holes, a pro shop, clubhouse and restaurant, driving range, chipping green, putting green, and practice bunker. The links here should delight dads of all skill levels, as this par 71 begins with a long and open front nine (for fathers who like to smack the dimples off the ball) and a back nine that’s shorter, tighter, and windier (for fathers with more control and accuracy — i.e. not my Dad). For the full 18, The Grif charges $55 on-peak (Fridays, weekends, and holidays before noon) and $45 off-peak for guests and non-members, with a $30 twilight rate. Members can save $10-20 off each of these rates.
Tip of the golf cap to a member of The Daily Meal family for this recommendation.
Madden’s on Gull Lake, Minnesota
There’s a whole lot for Dad to like at Madden’s on Gull Lake in Minnesota, and you’ll love the reasonable greens fees. Pine Beach West is the cheapest, at only $39 with a cart and $28 without, and Pine Beach West’s 87-year history is tough to pass up (especially with a maximum fee of only $63), but your best bet is to spend a little extra to play The Classic — which always finds its way onto Golf Digest’s list of the 100 Greatest Public Courses in America, and was named the No. 1 “hidden gem” by Golf Advisor. Sure, it’ll set you back $121 on the weekend with a cart, but the impressive layout and awe-inspiring scenery are more than worth it. First-timers should explore the land on foot anyway, and if you show up at 3 p.m., the charge will only be $62.
Primm Valley Golf Club, California
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The address says California, but Primm Valley Gold Club is really a destination for Las Vegas locals and tourists, as it’s located only an hour from the Strip. Non-residents will only pay between $34 and $59 depending on the time of day for the most basic 18-hole package, but $89 will also get Dad a cart, a sleeve of Titleist ProV1s, two drink tickets, and a $20 gift certificate for golf shop. There’s an extra decision to be made here too: Which Tom Fazio-designed course do you choose: Desert or Lake? They’re both top picks by Golf Digest, so maybe just let Papa pick.
Puakea Golf Course, Hawaii
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Beautifully designed by architect Robin Nelson (who also designed Maui’s Kahili Golf Course), Puakea Golf Course on Kauai is one of the most enjoyable courses to play in the entire state of Hawaii, with the course riding up, down, and around deep ravines. Guests can enjoy scenic mountain views for most of the course, with ocean views for the remainder. It's open to all and priced at a maximum of $105 per person for 18 holes, but a weekend outing with Dad can be had for only $65 in the morning, $49 after 2 p.m., and $45 after 3 p.m.
Southern Pines Golf Club, North Carolina
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Is Dad a golf history buff? If so, he’ll absolutely jump at the chance to play on one of famed designer Donald Ross’s earliest courses, Southern Pines Golf Club. The man behind legendary links like Pinehurst No. 2 and Seminole constructed this North Carolina course in the early twentieth century, and it has since been ranked as one of GolfWeek’s top courses in the state thanks to its natural flow through the contours of the land and its appeal to golfers of every ability level. An 18-hole round in the summer (June 16 to September 12) will only cost $80 on the weekends, or $70 during the week, which is a great discount just in time for Father’s Day
Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club, Arizona
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Although playing on a historic course is undoubtedly a meaningful experience, trying out one of the best new courses in the country is also enjoyable in its own right. In 2015, the Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club opened up to rave reviews, including a mention in Golf Digest as one of the “Top 10 Best New Courses” (with one of the panelists remarking: “I could play this golf course every day and not get tired of it”), as well as earning the top slot in Colorado Avid Golfer’s list of “Arizona’s Top 10 Hidden Golf Treasures.” Summer guest fees run $55 per person (or $80 for a package that includes a TravisMathew polo and hat) , but it might be worth it to postpone your visit to Fall 2016 when the 9-hole, par 3 Li’l Wick links open, which will surround a new cabana bar and grill.