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The Golf Addict’s Vacation Guide (Trip 1, Winter 2015)

Having played Golf Magazine’s top 100 Public Golf Courses I can categorically recommend against similar insanity on your part. The good news is that by properly planning your future vacations you can play 9 of the top 10 (all but Bethpage Black), 21 of the top 25, and more than 50 overall by structuring 10 “dream” trips. In a perfect world you would schedule two trips per year, but I recognize the veto power of a non-golfing spouse so some of you may take 10 years. After careful consideration I have constructed the perfect schedule beginning with winter 2015.

Although Hawaii rates toward the bottom of my top 10 golf vacations list, it is the perfect starting point for several reasons. To begin with it allows your wife/husband/partner to ease into the idea of dedicating the next several years and large sums of money to feed your addiction. Second, the idea for this vacation may be passed along via an “overly generous” holiday gift in December. Imagine the sheer joy that your partner will feel when you care enough to buy two tickets to romantic Hawaii. They will be so happy they will want you to golf (spoken like a true golf addict/optimist). Lastly, although green fees in Hawaii can be a bit expensive, there are great packages available for the remainder. This golf vacation is comparatively affordable. Last February my wife and I did a ten day Hawaiian vacation with multiple days on Kauai and several more on Maui. Our total cost excluding dinners and alcohol was $5,722. This included eight rounds of golf for me. You can save some money, and perhaps your marriage, by cutting back on the rounds (although this should be viewed as a last resort).

The following is a step by step process to booking this trip:

  • Go to Costco Travel ( to build your vacation. I recommend February or March. Start in Kauai for several days, then fly to Maui.

  • Check out airline deals via any of the travel sites (Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, etc.). Also go directly to the Hawaiian Airlines site ( to compare rates and book the Kauai to Maui flight. Buy non-refundable tickets (very important if you think your partner might get cold feet).

  • Make reservations at Princeville (Prince), Kapalua (Plantation) and Lanai (Challenge at Manele) through one of the golf booking services. I have had good luck with several. Just enter Maui golf into your search engine. If you can pull it off, also book Golf Digest top 100 courses Poipu Bay (Kauai) and Wailea Gold (Maui). The Lanai trip may also be enhanced by a round at The Experience at Koele which is scheduled to reopen in mid-2015.

  • Nicely wrap the tickets and await the embrace of your loved one when they see how thoughtful you are.

  • Work on your apologies for ditching them to play golf once you arrive.

  • During a Mai Tai induced semi coma notify your partner of your plans to take a week that summer to play with the boys (or girls) at Vacation Number 2 (hint: it includes the site of the 2015 PGA Championship).

Follow these simple steps and you are on your way to playing the best public golf courses in America.

Weekly Observation: Despite the Nike equipment, Rory McElroy appears to the best golfer on the planet…when focused.

By Paul Laubach


Paul Laubach is completely unqualified to provide expertise with respect to golf course rankings and design, however, he is a highly opinionated golf addict who believes everyone should be entitled to his thoughts. He is in the process of completing the story of his journey to play America’s top 100 courses. Please visit this website regularly for more (im)practical information.

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