Readers Choice

10Best Readers' ChoiceChosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best

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    #10 - Scottsdale, Ariz.

    Scottsdale is a great golf destination both on and off the course. Players here enjoy nearly 200 area courses blessed with an average 330 sunny days each year, beautiful views of the mountains and Sonoran Desert and a lively dining and entertainment scene for after the score cards have been signed.

    Photo courtesy of Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

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    #9 - Scotland

    Scotland is where golf was invented - need we say more?  The barren, windy terrain is unlike most American settings for the sport, but most golfers have their sport's homeland on a bucket list.  The venerable St. Andrews - also known as "the Old Course" has been played for 500 years.  Golfers crossing the pond can also try their skills at Ayrshire, Loch Lomond, Carnoustie and Royal Dornoch. Scotland is a true golf Mecca that requires extra effort to reach but pays off in memories and bragging rights.

    Photo courtesy of DigitalEchos/iStock

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    #8 - Pebble Beach, Calif.

    No golfing bucket list would be complete without mention of Pebble Beach. This legendary golfing destination on the California coast might come with a hefty price tag, but its eight courses - both public and private - are the stuff of legends. USA TODAY golf writer Steve DiMeglio thinks Spyglass Hill is one of the most underrated courses in the nation.

    Photo courtesy of Evan Schiller

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    #7 - Maui, Hawaii

    Steve DiMeglio, golf writer for USA TODAY, considers Kapalua Resort's Plantation Course in Maui to be one of the most enjoyable in the world, thanks in part to jaw-dropping ocean views from nearly every hole. The island boasts 14 courses with a stunning diversity of scenery - everything from lava flows and volcanic peaks to palm-lined tees and clifftop greens.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

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    #6 - Bandon, Ore.

    Spectacular ocean views, four courses that number among the best in the world and sweet seclusion ... stepping onto the green in Bandon feels more like playing in Scotland. Tyler Kupper with USA TODAY played his favorite par 3 course of all time in Bandon and described it as "13 holes of pure fun."

    Photo courtesy of jneilson23

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    #5 - Naples, Fla.

    Tropical Naples, Florida is sunny and warm year-round, and holds nearly 100 courses - a mind-boggling number, drawing players from around the globe.  The challenging Greg Norman-designed Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort is but one of the lovely settings for the sport in southwest Florida.  RSW airport, with all its connections, makes it easy to fly in your clubs, and you can be on the links a little over an hour after landing. 

    Photo courtesy of Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau

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    #4 - Sea Island, Ga.

    Old World-style golf meets Southern hospitality and modern luxury in lovely Sea Island, Georgia. The highly decorated resort's three 18-hole championship courses - Plantation, Retreat and Seaside - offer varied terrain and Atlantic sea views on many holes, and the world-class Learning Center is perfect for those looking to improve their game while on vacation.

    Photo courtesy of Sea Island

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    #3 - Pinehurst, N.C.

    Pinehurst, the "Cradle of American Golf," is home to the phenomenal No. 2 course, USA TODAY writer Tyler Kupper's favorite course in the country (and we're sure he's not alone). The course will welcome the U.S. Men's and Women's Opens in summer 2014, making it the only site to host all five USGA Championships. And these accolades represent only one of Pinehurst's eight championship courses.

    Photo courtesy of Pinehurst

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    #2 - Kiawah Island, S.C.

    Conveniently located just outside Charleston, Kiawah Island is home to one of the highest rated golf resorts in the state, if not the entire country, in Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Each of the resort's five championship courses were designed by five golf legends: Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Gary Player and Clyde Johnston. The much-lauded Ocean Course is one of only four in the nation to have hosted every major PGA of America championship.

    Photo courtesy of Preferred Hotels Group

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    #1 - Myrtle Beach, S.C.

    In Myrtle Beach, there seems to be a golf course around every corner, and with some 100 area courses, the perception's not far from the truth. Pretty much every notable golf architect has a course in the "Golf Capital of the World," and a majority are public, making a golf trip to Myrtle Beach an affordable option.

    Photo courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach

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Myrtle Beach Tops with Voters

Kiawah, Pinehurst, Sea Island, Naples round out top five

Golf-loving readers (with a little spring fever, no doubt) voted for four weeks on their favorite golf destination and the southeastern USA took all five top spots.  

Myrtle Beach took top honors, with its dozens of courses, lower latitude and beach setting on the Atlantic ocean.  Kiawah Island, South Carolina and legendary Pinehurst, North Carolina landed in 2nd and 3rd place, for a Carolina trifecta.  Neighboring Georgia took 4th with votes for lovely Sea Island, Georgia and balmy Naples, Florida - where golf is an option 12 months a year - snared 5th.  

The home of golf - Scotland - landed in the top ten, and the reminder of the 10 winners were all west of the Mississippi.  7th place winner Maui is a little further west than the rest!  

The full list of winners in the 'Best Golf Destination' contest category for 10Best Readers' Choice is as follows:

  1. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  2. Kiawah Island, S.C.
  3. Pinehurst, N.C.
  4. Sea Island, Ga.
  5. Naples, Fla.
  6. Bandon, Ore.
  7. Maui, Hawaii
  8. Pebble Beach, Calif.
  9. Scotland
  10. Scottsdale, Ariz.

Congratulations to all our winners!  If Bubba Watson's historic 2nd win at beautiful Augusta got you primed for this year's golf season, then pack your clubs and a few clothes and head out for a golf getaway at one of these incredible spots.  

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The Experts

Steve DiMeglio

Steve has been the golf writer for USA TODAY since December 2006 and has played more than 275 golf courses, including Cypress Point, the Old Course at St. Andrews and Augusta National.  He's living the dream.  

Rich Beem

Pro golfer Rich Beem won the Kemper Open as a rookie and The International in 2002.  When he won the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National that same year, he did so by fending off Tiger Woods at the finish, thrusting him into the top 20 of the Official World Golf Rankings.   

Olle Nordlund

Olle is a certified golf professional, originating from Gothenburg, Sweden. Olle graduated from the Golf Academy of America in 2005 and has worked in a variety of industry professions including custom club builder / fitter at HotStix Golf in Scottsdale, Ariz.; assistant professional at the Golf Club at Echo Falls; and certified personal swing coach and club fitter with GolfTec Bellevue. Most importantly, when he’s not in ‘the office’, he’s out on the links playing recreational and tournament golf across the country, from Kapalua to Bandon Dunes; Palm Springs to Hilton Head; and most recently throughout Northern Virginia. His favorite course? Pacific Dunes in Bandon, Oregon.

Tyler Kupper

Tyler Kupper, former nationally ranked junior player who now works in the sports marketing group at USA TODAY, qualified for the 2002 United States Junior Amateur Championship, was 3-time Club Champion at Scarsdale Golf Club in Hartsdale, NY, earned a 4-year golf scholarship at University of Delaware and was 4th all-time in Delaware’s 75 year golf history with a 74.3 season scoring average.

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