Golf and wine often go hand-in-hand as two classy experiences. But, can we really do both on a single trip? Yes.
By Jordan Fuller, guest writer
Having spent the last year traveling around the United States and visiting more than 30 golf courses, I’ve learned a lot about where to golf in the U.S….and where you can get some great wine. There are three top wine regions I’ve found that make a perfect pairing for wine tasting wine and playing golf. Cheers!
#3. Walla Walla, Washington
About The Golf Course: Quite an obvious choice here, and a great course name to start this list. The Wine Valley Golf Club is the design of Dan Hixson, which also designed the famous Bandon Crossings. A unique feature of this course is the links-like feel: broad fairways, steep bunkers, and contoured greens – ideal to wow your kids.
Designed with a minimalist approach, the view of the Blue Mountains will dominate the panorama when playing on this course.
Our favorite hole? The 15th, where you’ll meet a slightly uphill fairway for a 470-yard par five, ending on a shallow green.
Another thing about the Wine Valley is -like most top- class courses- the fact that it constantly changes every day: you won’t have two same sessions on the Wine Valley with each and every visit. A combination of challenge, minimalism, and beauty.
The Wine Tasting: Walla Walla is now one of the best wine regions in the U.S., featuring more than 140 high-quality wineries, not counting those on the surrounding areas.
There are many wine tours available to choose from, with various price ranges, and Walla Walla is famous for its Mourvedre, Grenache, Rhone, and Syrah varietals.
With so many excellent wineries, many of them family-operated, choosing our best picks here is certainly difficult. However, we would recommend Walla Walla Vintners, Basel Cellars Estate, and Amavi Cellars.
#2. Sonoma County, California
The Golf Course: It’s really hard to pick just one course from Sonoma County, with courses like The Links at Bodega Harbour, Northwood, and Sonoma Golf Club.
However, our pick goes to Windsor Golf Club, a relatively affordable public course with excellent design, incorporating a lot of water and trees to keep it challenging (perfect to try out your new game improvement irons). The layout is admittedly, quite flat, but is quite beautiful with its classic farmhouse landscape. Immaculate, wide fairways and pristine greens.
It’s 6,650-yards long and will provide a challenge for any skill levels.
Our favorite hole? We’ll pick hole no.7, which along with hole 2 were consistently ranked as two of the most difficult holes on the Nike Tour. Another great part? You can literally enjoy the Sonoma County wine tasting experience just outside the course.
The Wine Tasting: Similar to the golf course options, there are countless wineries to choose from in Sonoma County. There are also a lot of wine varietals to choose in the area: if you like Pinot Noir, the Russian River should be your pick. The Alexander Valley is famous for its Chardonnay, while Dry Creek Valley offers excellent Zinfandel.
We would recommend Hawkes Winery -famous with their Cabernet Sauvignon-, and Kathryn Hall’s WALT Wines with the Sonoma County’s classic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
#1. Napa Valley, California
The Golf Course: Our top pick goes to Napa Valley, which is certainly one of the top spots for wine tasting in the U.S.
Yet, what about the golf courses? Most locals would probably recommend the Napa Golf Course, located at Kennedy Park, but we would personally recommend the Silverado Resort, especially the recently renovated North course.
The Silverado Resort North course features a classic layout with undulating fairways, sloped greens, and cleverly placed bunkers. A truly world-class golf course: the front nine is tight, and the back nine features challenging bunkers that will surely get your attention.
Our favorite hole? It’s a tough pick, but we’ll probably pick the par-5 16th hole with the beautiful panorama – a hole that’s amazing to play, especially when you just want to hit the ball with your new drivers.
The Wine Tasting: Napa Valley is deemed by many as the absolute best wine tasting destination in the U.S., and not without its reasons. There are literally hundreds of world-class wineries at Napa Valley, and you should definitely consider the Napa Valley Wine Train for the best experience.
It’s really tough to pick the best wineries of Napa Valley with so many great ones, but we would recommend Silver Oak for the signature Cabernet Sauvignon, and Opus One. Here are a few other recommendations – here and here.
Nevertheless, don’t miss Napa’s Cabernet Sauvignon, truly special, world-class taste.
There are certainly many other regions in the U.S. with excellent courses and wines, but after careful considerations, the three we have shared above are definitely our favorites.
What are your thoughts? Have you experienced a golf and wine vacation in any of these areas? Let us know in the comments.
About the Guest Writer
Jordan Fuller is a golf enthusiast with more than 25 years of experience on the golf course. He now trains golfers of all levels near his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. You can find more from Jordan on Facebook, Twitter or his site, GolfInfluencer.com