Top 100 courses trip planner: The ultimate tropical golf vacation

It's high time for island time.


Golf can be seriously private, but GOLF’s list of Top 100 Courses You Can Play is not. This year, our expert group of course raters sat down with a simple goal: to build a list of the greatest courses you (yes, you) can tee it up at in a moment’s notice. The end result is list as varied as the courses it encompasses, from Bandon Dunes to Bethpage Black.

But why keep the memories to just one of our 100 greatest tracks? Whether it’s by way of a classic point-A-to-B-to-C road trip, a stay at an iconic resort (with or without side trips) or a stopover in the concrete jungle, knocking three or more Top 100 Courses You Can Play off your wish list is doable in one fell swing. Start packing.


The 2 best tropical golf vacations

tropical vacation map
Derik Hobbs

Resort trip to the Dominican Republic

Courses included in our Top 100 You Can Play: Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog, #7; La Romana, D.R.), Cap Cana (Punta Espada, #18; Punta Cana, D.R.), Puntacana (Corales, #90; Punta Cana, D.R.)

Drive: Casa de Campo and the duo of Cap Cana/Puntacana are a little more than an hour’s drive apart. There’s no resort stay required at these properties to access the courses, but being on property does bring a discount on green fees.

Dine: Legendary local spot Tipicobonao is a family-owned restaurant near the La Romana airport, showcasing delicious Dominican cuisine rich in Taíno, European and African origins.

‘The Teeth of the Dog’ is a tropical paradise. Courtesy

Diversion: If you’re on the island from October to December, it’s not just golf season but also Dominican Winter League baseball season. The Toros del Este play at Estadio Francisco Micheli Stadium, where the boisterous fans are almost as much fun to watch as the play on the diamond.

Detour: Casa de Campo’s oceanfront Teeth gets all the plaudits, but the 27-hole Dye Fore course, set on rolling terrain high above the Chavon River, offers sweeping, 360-degree views of the Caribbean and the countryside— and some thrilling shots to try to execute.

Road Trip to Cabo San Lucas

Courses included in our Top 100 You Can Play: Cabo del Sol (Cove Club, #69), Twin Dolphin (#71), Chileno Bay (#86)

Drive: Twin Dolphin is 15 minutes from Cabo del Sol, and Chileno Bay another 15. Each course requires you to be a guest at its home resort.

At Cabo Del Sol, the difference between winding up ‘in’ the beach and ‘on’ it couldn’t feel more different. Evan Schiller

Dine: Under the watchful eye of chef Guillermo Tellez, Flora’s Field Kitchen, at Cabo’s Flora Farms, is the ultimate in field-to-table dining, serving what it makes, raises and grows on its nearby 150-acre ranch.

Diversion: The beaches, for goodness’ sake! And Cabo San Lucas for the nightlife (including Sammy Hagar’s iconic Cabo Wabo), and San José del Cabo to get out of the sun and enjoy cafés and art galleries.

Detour: The Nicklaus Signature course Quivira offers stunning ocean views; you’ll need to stay at a Pueblo Bonito Resort, likely PB Pacifica Golf & Spa.

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A former executive editor of GOLF Maga­zine, Rothman is now a remote contract freelancer. His primary role centers around custom publishing, which en­tails writing, editing and procuring client approval on travel advertorial sections. Since 2016, he has also written, pseudonymously, the popular “Rules Guy” monthly column, and often pens the recurring “How It Works” page. Rothman’s freelance work for both GOLF and runs the gamut from equipment, instruc­tion, travel and feature-writing, to editing major-championship previews and service packages.