As a solitary pursuit requiring ample time outdoors—alone or in pods and well-distanced from others—the sport of golf has seen a spike in popularity as of late. Here’s a look at the newest golf courses that have serious duffers pining to make travel plans for 2021 and beyond. Come for the serious sporting challenge, and stay for the jaw-dropping scenery and luxe amenities.
Since its debut in early 2020, the Greg Norman Signature course at Rancho San Lucas has lured serious golfers to its oceanfront locale, just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Cabo San Lucas. For his first 18-hole design in Baja California, the legendary golfer and his team created a multi-themed layout with sweeping ocean views from every hole. Spanning three different ecosystems, the course starts through windswept dunes, progresses through a thick cactus forest creased by meandering arroyos, and returns players to the beach on the back nine. Highlights of the 7,210-yard layout include the par-3 third, which parallels the sea and gives players fine views of breaching whales during winter months.
Two comfort stations are spaced around the course, serving smooth margaritas to numb the pain of missed putts. Norman Signature is part of the new Rancho San Lucas development, which is home to resort accommodations and residences including the Norman Estates, designed by the golfer’s Norman Design Group.
One of the golf world’s contemporary holy grails can be found at the opposite corner of the continent at a luxury resort on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Located on more than a mile of sandy beach, Cabot Links Golf Resort is already home to two world-renowned 18-hole courses—Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs—and the resort’s new The Nest at Cabot Cape Breton is a 10-hole short course built by the revered golf architects Rod Whitman and Dave Axland. The inland layout features all of the hallmarks of links golf found at Cabot’s full-length courses, with firm, fast conditions that invite creativity, accompanied by extraordinary ocean views. The swifter pace of play is meant to be more inclusive and appealing to a variety of players, including families and beginners.
Mickelson National, one of Canada’s biggest golf openings in recent years, has attracted enthusiasts to its rugged home in rolling foothills just west of Calgary. The golfing great Phil Mickelson spent more than four years working on the layout with design partner Rick Smith, and the end result, which opened last summer, features a raw natural aesthetic. Creative use of routing, water features, and elevation provides both challenge and amusement; this is a course made for thrill seekers.