Readers Choice
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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."

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    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. 

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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