The concept of a golf vacation is definitely not new. For decades travelers have been heading to resorts in places like Scottsdale, Hawaii, and Palm Springs to play courses designed by Tom Fazio, Greg Norman, and Jack Nicholas to center their vacation experience on their favorite pastime. According to Yahoo Travel, over 80% of people surveyed plan on vacationing at least once as a family this year. Resorts have recognized this fact and are starting to make golf vacations a more family friendly experience.
La Quinta Resort in southern California is among the resorts leading the way in making a family golf getaway a reality. Their new Little Links program allows children ages 6-14 to play a shortened nine-hole version of the La Quinta Mountain Course with a parent in the afternoon (after 2 P.M. during the winter and after 3 P.M. with the Daylight Savings time change). My son had the time of his life playing on a beautifully manicured “big kid” course with his dad and us parents appreciated that this program was free for resort guests. It is recommended that families rent a golf cart, especially since those long walks while lugging a golf bag can be hard on little legs and backs, but the $17.50 charge for a couple hours of parent/child bonding on the course is a tremendous bargain.
Golf Widows (and siblings with no interest in hitting a tiny ball into a little hole a couple hundred yards away) will appreciate that the La Quinta has much more to offer than just golf. La Quinta is recognized as one of the top tennis resorts in the country, has 41 swimming pools, a game room loaded with arcade games and table games, shops, and a full spa. Plus, if you are up for a fun and educational excursion you won’t soon forget, Desert Adventures will pick you from the resort in their shiny red jeeps and take you to explore the San Andreas Fault or nearby Joshua Tree National Park. My family has now been on two Desert Adventures excursions and they have been some of best experiences we have had in all our travels.
The Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale is dedicated to combining fun, family, and golf into one amazing vacation experience. The Kierland Golf Club offers half price green fees to kids playing with their parents, junior tees, and junior club rentals. Every Saturday, children ages 5-14 can participate in SNAG Golf (Starting New At Golf) which features color-coded teaching aids and oversized equipment to help newbies learn how to play golf in a fun environment. If they had programs like this when I was a kid, I may have actually had the patience to learn how to play!
After the kids spend the afternoon hitting the links, be sure gather up the family and grab a beverage in the resort’s Dreamweaver Canyon while watching award-winning bagpiper Michael McClanathan play on the course’s edge at sunset. Then after all that family bonding, drop the children off at the complimentary kid’s club pajama party and enjoy an adult dinner at Deseo. You deserve it.
Disclosure: The author received complimentary lodging and a complimentary tour. All opinions are her own.
Photo: Sharlene Earnshaw