Golf courses aren’t often known as culinary hotspots, unless you think of hot dogs as haute cuisine. And yet there are exceptions, including these 13 restaurants, which offer memorable dining within a chip and putt of the 18th green.
LA HACIENDA AT THE FAIRMONT SCOTTSDALE PRINCESS, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA
If you’re looking to relive the raucous mood of rush week, we recommend you show up at the Fairmont in mid-winter, when its TPC track hosts the Waste Management Open, a frat party disguised as a Tour event. But if celebratory dining is what you’re after, you’re better off at La Hacienda, the modern Mexican restaurant from acclaimed chef Richard Sandoval. On Sandoval’s inventive menu, the mole is complex, the tortillas are handmade and the specials span from lobster tacos to squash blossom quesadillas. Like the grandstands surrounding the 16th hole, the vibe at the tequila bar is also plenty festive, but no one yells “You da man!”
THE LODGE AT SILVIES VALLEY RANCH, SENECA, OREGON
At a golf resort that doubles as a working ranch, there are four great layouts, including two 18-hole reversible courses. That means they can be played in either direction. When it comes to dining, there are also various options, but the Lodge is where you really want to go. Dinner, served family-style at long, communal tables, features Western-style fare, highlighted by Silvies Valley Ranch organic beef and chevon. The cattle are grass-fed, the goats are free-range, and they give rise to such delectable dishes as chevon loin in red curry yogurt and chicken fried steak with wilted bitter greens.
CILI AT BALI HAI, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Sure bets are hard to come by in Las Vegas. But one thing you can bank on is a great meal at Cili, a clubhouse restaurant with a globe-trotting menu that roams from pad thai chicken wings and wasabi shrimp cocktail to an old-fashioned Reuben and a red-blooded roast beef sandwich with a beef-broth dip. Bali Hai sits hard on the Strip, but its lush, tropical landscaping is transportive. For that matter, so is its restaurant’s Key lime pie.
THE TAP ROOM AT PEBBLE BEACH, PEBBLE BEACH, CA
After 18 holes that leave you walking on air, the 19th leads you downstairs to an upbeat tavern with iconic memorabilia on the walls and elevated pub grub on the menu. Sure, you pay a premium but that’s the price when you get to ogle trophies won by Jack and Arnie while scarfing down a burger made from Kobe beef.
THE GEORGIAN ROOM, SEA ISLAND RESORT, SEA ISLAND, GA
This elegant restaurant has a dress code, (no shorts, please!) which doesn’t mean it’s stuffy. It just reflects the seriousness of its intent. As the only Forbes Five-Star restaurant in the state, it offers refined, white-table cloth dining under the glow of chandeliers. In this sophisticated setting, a foie gras terrine somehow feels just right. But don’t stop there. Both the a la carte menu and the six-course prix fixe abound in indulgences, from bluefin tuna with artichokes and olives to creamy sunchoke and truffle soup.
BOURBON STEAK, TURNBERRY ISLE, MIAMI, FL
Once you’ve brought it to the clubhouse, head to the steakhouse. And not just any steakhouse. The glitzy, meaty concept from James Beard award-winning chef Michael Minna. With its blend of classic and contemporary touches, Bourbon Steak pleases strict traditionalists with purists preparations of the most popular cuts. But it also deals in more whimsical dishes such as miso-gazed sea bass and Minna’s signature lobster pot pie.
THE IMMIGRANT RESTAURANT, WHISTLING STRAITS, KOHLER, WI
The dining room in this graceful, dark-wood accented restaurant (below) is divided into a series of six rooms, each paying homage to early Wisconsin settlers: French, Dutch, German, Normandy, Danish and English. As for the menu, ornamented with such items as quail eggs with braised bacon and black garlic, and grilled wagyu short ribs with fiddlehead ferns, it offers just the sort of dishes that those settlers would have eaten, if they’d graduated from culinary school.
ADDISON RESTAURANT, FAIRMONT GRAND DEL MAR, SAN DIEGO, CA
Supply a French-trained chef with seasonal ingredients from California’s finest fisheries and farms, then give him full creative license, and you wind up with masterful cooking that marries West Coast currents with precise Gallic technique. That’s a fancy way of saying that chef William Bradley’s four-course tasting menu at Southern California’s only AAA Five Star-rated restaurant is not the sort of thing you often get post-golf. On a recent evening, dinner moved from sake-cured kampachi to mussels in green curry to veal in a puffed pastry with bordelaise sauce before closing with a lusty chocolate pie. Maybe you’d prefer a club sandwich. In that case, we have nothing more to say.
THE PENROSE ROOM, THE BROADMOOR, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
High-end dining takes on a fresh dimension when you’re sitting up, up, up in the Rocky Mountains, enjoying sweeping views of the surrounding peaks. But let’s flesh out the picture further. The Penrose Room offers both a three-course and a five-course menu, each of which lives up to its soaring ambitions. Standout dishes include hickory-smoked ham with avocado mousse and slow-cooked sablefish with sweet onion soubise. The hay-baked squab, with barley, roasted beets and wild ramps would be delicious on its own. But the truffle-enhanced sauce perigourdine it’s served with elevates the flavors to staggering heights.
THE DEUCE, PINEHURST RESORT, PINEHURST, NC
Given all the historic things that have happened at Pinehurst — 10 USGA Championships and a Ryder Cup among them — the opening of a restaurant might get overlooked. But not a restaurant that overlooks the 18th green of iconic Pinehurst No. 2. With a bar area that opens to the clubhouse veranda, where guests have gathered for decades to watch history unfold, The Deuce serves lunch every day until 3 p.m., and a smart bar menu through the afternoon and evening. The cooking is what you might call clubhouse-chic, with classic dishes deftly upgraded. Witness the Deuce Burger, which stars a juicy patty made from a ground short rib and brisket blend.
MAMMOTH BAR AND ALDO’S AT SAND VALLEY GOLF RESORT, NEKOOSA, WI
When you build a golf resort in a unique setting, the food should fit uniquely in the surrounds. So it goes at this Wisconsin golf mecca, the latest project from Mike Keiser and his family, who also brought us Bandon Dunes. Like McKee’s Pub, at Bandon, on the Oregon coast, Sand Valley’s main hangout, the Mammoth Bar & Lounge, serves the kind of hearty fare you want after a long day on the links, but it does so with a menu rooted in the Midwest. The result is an array of regional dishes, like bison chili and Great Lakes walleye and charred pork tenderloin with mustard spaetzle. Come July, the resort will unveil Aldo’s, an elevated high-end clubhouse restaurant with refined comfort cooking. Its signature item: a 75-ounce steak designed to feed a hungry foursome.
THE RESTAURANT AT WENTE VINEYARDS, LIVERMORE, CA
You can hardly swing a 9-iron around the Bay Area without whacking into a world-class restaurant. One of them is on the grounds of the Greg Norman-designed Course at Wente Vineyards, which in turn spreads through the vineyard-latticed hills of the oldest continuously operating family-owned winery in California. Dining here is the essence of West Coast chic, with seasonally driven, farm-to-table, wine-friendly dishes, many of them furnished with produce from the property’s organic garden. Picture a salad of baby greens, pistachios and strawberries, followed by smoked duck breast with broccoli relish, and you begin to get the idea.
PANORAMA RESTAURANT AT CABOT LINKS, CAPE BRETON, NOVA SCOTIA
When you’re finished soaking up the ocean views, feast your eyes on what’s coming from the kitchen. We’re talking heaping platters of Cape Breton oysters; and halibut ceviche; and creamy seafood chowder stocked with lobster, scallops, haddock bacon and potatoes. You get the picture. Like the glorious links the restaurant overlooks, the cooking has a vivid sense of place.