What Is a 'Resort Course' in Golf?

Paiute Golf Resort in Las Vegas

A "resort course" is exactly what it sounds like: a golf course that is part of a larger resort facility. But use of the term "resort course" comes with certain implications and expectations for golfers.

Picture a resort facility in any resort area. What does the resort include? It includes a fancy hotel. It includes a restaurant (or two or three) and bar. It probably includes a spa. And usually, the resort includes recreational facilities. Swimming pool. Tennis courts. Golf course(s). Or any combination thereof, along with multiple other possibilities.

And a golf course that is part of a resort is referred to a resort course, to distinguish it from several other classifications of golf courses (municipal course, daily fee course, private course, etc.).

What are the implications, referred to earlier, when a golf course is called a "resort course"? One is that the golf course should be is very good condition, well-tended, well taken care of. Another is the green fee is probably going to be high. Resort courses are on the high end of the green fee scale, and are typically higher than green fees at daily fee courses, and are almost always higher (often significantly so) than municipal courses.

And what are the expectations for a resort course? Golfers are likely expected to offer gratuities to service personnel at the resort course (if the resort is outside the United States, this might not be true). You might be expected to adhere to a dress code. Golfers should expect any on-course food and drink to be on the pricey side.

Are resort courses open to the general public, or only to resort guests? Most commonly, any golfer, whether a guest of the resort facility or not, can play a resort course. But resort guests typically receive preferential treatment when it comes to tee times, and non-guests might be charged higher green fees than guests.

What are some examples of resort courses? Bandon Dunes and Pinehurst are golf resorts; Pebble Beach is a resort course. So are Whistling Straits, and Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. The Plantation Course at Kapalua, Harbor Town, Sea Island and The Greenbrier are all resort courses. As you can see, some resort courses are among the most famous, and the best, in golf.

More definitions:

Photo credit: "Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, Wolf Golf Course, Las Vegas, Nevada" by danperry.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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