Those who love golf have myriad reasons why. Some, for instance, cite the physical exercise they get from walking 18 holes. Others boast of the relationships they build while networking on the course. Some celebrate the mental workout they get from playing a challenging sport. And still others talk of nature's rejuvenating effects.
Although they often feel left out when the conversation turns to "pars" and "handicaps," it turns out that non-golfers can enjoy many of the same benefits from being on the golf course as golfers do -- without the golf. Especially if they visit a golf resort that caters equally to those with clubs and without. Here are five such resorts, where groups can hit a hole in one with or without a golf game on the agenda:
Streamsong (Bowling Green, FL)
Streamsong in Central Florida already has two 18-hole golf courses: Streamsong Blue (pictured above) and Streamsong Red, designed by renowned golf architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw of Coore & Crenshaw, and Tom Doak of Renaissance Golf Design. In fall 2017 it will debut a third: Streamsong Black, created by acclaimed golf course architect Gil Hanse, designer of the 2016 OIympic course in Rio de Janeiro and Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness, Scotland. The resort's signature lagoons and lakes aren't just the ideal spot for golf, however. They're also a picturesque backdrop for activities such as archery, sporting clays, and bass fishing, not to mention non-golf amenities such as restaurants (the resort has four of them), an infinity pool, and a grotto-style spa.
Sea Island (Sea Island, GA)
Located on the southeast coast of Georgia, Sea Island is home to three championship golf courses -- including Seaside and Plantation, home of the PGA TOUR's RSM Classic -- as well as a Golf Performance Center where golf enthusiasts can learn the skills they need to improve their stroke. However, you don't become the only resort in the world to earn four Forbes Five-Star awards for eight consecutive years by being a one-trick pony. In addition to golf, Sea Island offers five miles of private beach, a beach club, tennis and squash centers, yacht charters, sailing lessons, fishing excursions, crabbing, kayaking, bicycling, nature tours, and a shooting school.
Primland (Meadows of Dan, VA)
Primland occupies 12,000 sprawling acres in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Its Donald Steel-designed golf course, the Highland Course, occupies only a fraction of its expansive acreage, however. There's also a destination spa, yoga classes, guided meditation, mountain biking, trail hiking, tennis, horseback riding, bird watching, nature walks, stargazing from an onsite observatory, ATV tours, hunting, fly fishing, and even tree climbing to satisfy your innermost child.
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa (San Antonio, TX)
Thanks to its 36-hole championship golf course, the 2,800-acre TPC San Antonio, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is one of the most popular golf destinations in Texas. Non-golfers, however, love the resort just as much as golfers do. Not because of its wide fairways and challenging Hill Country terrain, but because of its diverse activities and amenities, including an adults-only infinity pool, seven restaurants, a spa, and its pièce de résistance: a nine-acre waterpark with three water slides and an 1,100-foot lazy river.
Casa de Campo (La Romana, Dominican Republic)
The United States doesn't have a monopoly on great golf courses -- or on great non-golf activities. For both, look to the Dominican Republic's Casa de Campo Resort & Villas. One of the Caribbean's most popular golf resorts, it's home to three championship golf courses, including Teeth of the Dog, which is ranked by Golf magazine as the best course in the Caribbean and the 39th best course in the world. Golf is only the tip of the iceberg, however. Beyond its trio of Pete Dye-designed courses, the resort offers horseback riding, tennis, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, paddle surfing, a spa, yoga, group exercise classes, and a 245-acre shooting center for sporting clays, as well as trap and skeet shooting. Plus, it has its own marina; totaling nearly 300,000 square feet, it's ground zero for half- and full-day fishing excursions during which you'll have the opportunity to reel in trophy fish like wahoo, kingfish, sailfish, barracuda, and blue marlin.