Bachelor Party Rankings Land in the Rough

I recently stumbled across a list titled “2024’s Best Bachelor Party Destinations for Golfers.” I was eager to see where golfing meccas like Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island and Pinehurst ranked; I thought, for example, that combination golf and gambling resorts such as Turning Stone in upstate New York would provide everything a bachelor party weekend would need, all located in one place, no need for designated drivers or Uber. After all, bachelor parties typically run from just one night to a weekend, at most, and who wants to waste precious time in a van traveling back and forth to golf courses through city traffic?

Reunion15th holeReunion is one of many accessible golf coures in the Orlando area. Orlando ranked second on a list of cities most suitable for a bachelor party that involves golf.

Silly me. The Best Bachelor Party Destinations rankings is a list of the major cities in America, starting with Las Vegas and including Orlando, Houston, Los Angeles and San Diego (the top five of the 200 cities on the list). Myrtle Beach and Pinehurst are not even on the list of 200. You would be hard pressed to find accessible golf courses inside the boundaries of these sprawling cities – maybe a municipal course or two. Plus, unless the party planner and bachelor himself live near one of these cities, assessing the soon-to-be-groom’s friends the cost of airfare might seem a bit cheeky. And why would you want to bite into the weekend with the time it would take to fly roundtrip? That seems silly when there are plenty of notable golf resorts nationwide to do the trick. (A few of my suggestions below.)

You might assume that those who sponsor a ranking of bachelor party locations would be in the golf, travel or wedding business. Silly you; the sponsor of this dubious study is a company called Lawnstarter which, as the name suggests, provides residential and commercial lawn care services.  They should stick to their mowing.

It isn’t hard to conjure a list of golf destinations that would enhance a bachelor party weekend without time-consuming travel and wasteful trips through traffic to golf courses outside a major city. Here are just a few suggestions east of the Mississippi that, at worst, would require a short plane ride from some large population centers.

Turning Stone Resort, Verona, NY A huge casino, three top-50 golf courses (per Golf Digest), a golf superstore, luxury accommodations – in short, a one-stop bachelor party destination. And should you be forced to hold the party during winter, denying you access to the golf courses, a 17,000 square foot indoor practice facility with greens, bunkers and a 110-yard-long practice range is at your disposal. And with the facility’s simulators, you can celebrate the end of your bachelorhood by banging into a screen as many balls as you like. Distances: New York City, 4 hours; Buffalo, NY, 2 ½ hours; Albany, NY, 1 hour, 40 minutes.

LakeofIsleswithcasinohotelThe Foxwoods casino (left) and hotel are the only signs of civilization from the Lake of Isles golf course.

Foxwoods Casino & Resort, Mashantucket, CT The casino’s Lake of Isles course is a short, free van ride from the hotel and has made Golf magazine’s list of “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” (in the U.S.). Surrounded by hundreds of acres of undeveloped land, the only reminder of civilization while you are out on the course is the large Foxwoods hotel lurking in the distance. Another casino resort, Mohegan Sun, is just 10 minutes away and features its own golf course, open to the public. Distances: Hartford, CT, 1 hour; Stamford, CT, 1 hour, 40 minutes; New York City, 2 hours, 45 minutes; Boston, 1 hour, 40 minutes.

National Golf Club approachI played the sleek National Golf Club in Pinehurst a dozen years ago. The club was acquired by the Pinehurst group in 2014 and today is known as Pinehurst #9.

Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, NC With 10 golf courses in its portfolio and a well-oiled system of shepherding outside play onto most of them every day, Pinehurst is suited to the most serious golf-centric bachelor partygoers. All the courses are within a short distance of whatever hotel you choose, and there are enough good restaurants and bars to accommodate your dining and drinking needs. If time permits, travel the half hour from Pinehurst to Tobacco Road, Mike Strantz’s wild and strangely wonderful 18 holes. Distances: Charlotte, NC, 2 hours; Greensboro, NC, 1 hour, 15 minutes; Raleigh, NC, 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Grande Dunes 14th holeGrande Dunes is one of the most scenic of the 80 courses along the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach.The par 3 14th holes sits beside the Intracoastal Waterway.

Myrtle Beach, SC  Okay, Myrtle Beach is not exactly near a densely populated city, but it is reachable via-nonstop flights from major northeast cities. With 80 golf courses packed onto a 90-mile strip known as The Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach has been hosting buddy golf trips since the 1960s. It is set up perfectly for great golf and as much honky tonking in the town’s legendary local bars as you can handle. Flight times, airport to airport, all non-stop: Philadelphia, 1 hour, 43 minutes; New York, 2 hours; Boston, 2 hours, 20 minutes. (Note: Some of these flights are priced at less than $100 each way.)


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