If you’d told me last year at this time that I’d go on three golf trips in 2023, I’d have called you crazy. While I like golf and travel, I never really thought about combining the two. I wasn’t sure about taking vacation time and $ to golf, plus I always associated golf trips with something my husband did to give me the house to myself for a weekend. (Kidding, not kidding.)

But then the fall happened. I went on three writing golf trips. First, to Spain to watch the Solheim Cup. Next came a press trip to Louisiana for five days of golf and gumbo. I ended the trifecta with a trip to Alabama to golf 117 holes on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

The result? I had a golf “reawakening” of sorts. (As in, I’m now obsessed with golf.) My Christmas list included a golf travel bag, signing up for golf lessons, and joining a winter simulator league. Plus, I’ve made it my mission to convince golfing gals everywhere to consider a golf getaway. I even thought of a way for non-golfers to tag along.

By the end of this piece, I’m hoping you might catch the golf travel bug, too. After all, winter is a great time for a golf trip…

Golf Tour Stop #1 – No Clubs Required

My whirlwind tour started in Spain at the Solheim Cup.  If you haven’t attended a Solheim Cup, let me tell you something special happens when you’re there. It’s like stepping into a forcefield of positivity where everyone is your BFF, and you’re all there to promote women’s golf. What could be better? There are many ways to attend – come as a volunteer, head there solo, with a group of pals, or as part of a tour. Some friends use Solheim as their non-negotiable chance to meet up. Maybe 2024 is your year to start a Solheim tradition?

Golf Tour Stop #2 – Golfing the Bayou

I felt the Southern charm and hospitality from the moment I arrived in Lake Charles, LA. As one of only two women on my weeklong trip, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect… other than a lot of golf, and boy was I right there! I played 18 holes a day (one day 27!) on Lake Charles area courses. (Not intimidating at all for someone who normally stops at nine might I add.) As the days went on however, I found myself getting more comfortable with both the group and my game. It certainly helped that our home base was the L’Auberge Casino Resort & Spa (I’m not a gambler, but if you are – this place is pretty cool), we were right outside The Contraband Bayou Golf Course, and next door was another great casino resort & course, the Golden Nugget. Both venues fit the bill for a girls’ getaway – a great location complete with spas, pools, a fitness center, shopping, and amazing food and wine. (Here’s a peek at that trip.)

Golden Nugget Course

Golf at the Golden Nugget. (Photo Courtesy of Golden Nugget, Lake Charles)

Reimagining the Girls’ Golf Getaway – Along the RTJ Golf Trail

My next trip took me to Alabama and the famous Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. With over 100 miles of courses (ranging from 4500-8191 yards), the trail put Alabama on the map as a premiere destination for golf and tourism. I golfed 117 of its holes and can’t say enough about the beauty and caliber of the courses and the friendly people at every stop. Was this the most challenging golf of my life? YES. But, it was doable and an incredibly enjoyable experience that couples or groups of friends can enjoy regardless of one’s handicap.

And I’ve got great news: the RTJ Golf Trail is complemented nicely by the RTJ Spa Trail! This collection of six luxurious spas throughout Alabama is the icing on the cake for this southern golf escape. They even developed a special RTJ Golf Recovery Massage that uses golf balls to relieve aches and pains, plus a menu of services at each spa.

Play Along With Me, and See What Your (Affordable!) Getaway Could Look Like

It didn’t take long for me to feel the magic of the RTJ Golf Trail and to see why it’s called “a paradise for affordable, high-quality golf featuring championship courses across Alabama.” While it’s definitely challenging (PGA and LPGA Tour Professionals have competed on RTJ courses), I never felt intimidated. Each course features a variety of tee boxes to make play accessible to newcomers and seasoned amateurs.

My six-day tour included the Valley Course at Oxmoor Valley – the course was completely renovated in 2021 and offers five tee boxes for all levels. It was just two miles from our hotel, the Renaissance Ross Bridge Resort & Spa, where we enjoyed meals at the newly renovated restaurant Brock’s, which offered everything from biscuits and gravy to vegan entrees. Our next round was right outside our hotel, at the Ross Bridge Resort Course – one of the nation’s longest, and if you’re looking for elevation, you’re in luck. After a challenging but enjoyable morning round, we headed to The Backyard at Oxmoor Valley. This walking par-3 course is perfect for the novice golfer yet challenging for the seasoned player wanting to work on his/her short game. (If you’re traveling with girls who haven’t golfed much, this course fit the bill.)

After all that golf, I was excited to check out the spa at our hotel. My massage was amazing, as was the (ladies-only) hot tub, sauna, steam room, and lounge area. I worked out the kinks so I’d be ready for the Ol’Colony Golf Complex, an 18-hole Jerry Pate course that was challenging but absolutely beautiful. Speaking of challenging, we also hit courses that have hosted LPGA events, including The Senator & The Judge. Both courses were gorgeous. And I guess you can’t play the trail without golfing at the Grand National Course in Opelika… voted the #1 public golf facility in America by Golf World.

Abbey Algiers The Summit

Capitol Hill – The Judge. The verdict? An amazing course!

Overall, my trips showed me how a golf getaway can be the perfect way to combine the game we love with great food, spas, shopping, wine, and culture. I’ll leave you with a hot tip that we sometimes forget about… whether you’re headed to SpainLouisianaAlabama, or ____, plan your trip using the local tourist office’s resources. They provide so much valuable info about local hot spots. That way, you can create the perfect getaway for everyone in your group.

As we begin to work on our goals for 2024, consider this resolution: BOOK A GIRLS’ GOLF GETAWAY.

Count me in.