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Celebrate the Fourth with these All-American golf destinations

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

Straits CoursePatriotism comes in many forms, not the least of which is paying homage to a game the United States unabashedly has adopted and morphed as its own.That's right;as much as we like to pay lip service to the traditional links courses of golf's motherland, Scotland,there's nothing more American than logging 18holes on some heavily irrigated daily fee track in a cart stocked with adult beverages.

Not all golf destinations, however, are created equal in terms of due deference to the red, white and blue. Four golfing hot spots offer a noteworthy level of patriotism as yet another emotionally charged Independence Day approaches. So jump into your American-made, gas guzzling SUV and pop a Bruce Springsteen disc into the CD player. Even Sam Adams and the boys would have knocked off work early to get to these apple-pie-esque venues.

The American Club, Kohler Wis.

The home of brats, beer and the(University of Wisconsin) Badgers does golf the same way it does tailgating - all or nothing at all. TheAmerican Club is case in point. All four Pete Dye designed golf courses - two at Black wolf Run and two at Whistling Straits - are ranked among the best in the country by various publications. TheStraits Course will host the PGA Championship next year,and millions of viewers will get their first glimpse of the windswept, man made dunes along the shore of Lake Michigan that serve as the canvas for this stunning, linksy tapestry of holes. Oh, and pampering is nothing, if not American. The American Club obliges with the Kohler Waters Spa, whichConde Nast Traveler ranks among the 40 best in the U.S. and Caribbean.

Golf Town, USA, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Brunswick County Golf CourseJust two years ago, MyrtleBeach proclaimed itself the "Golf Capital of the World." Nowadays, the Grand Strand's 120 some odd courses settle for Golf Town USA - a more modest, but accurate moniker. So what's so American about Golf Town USA? Myrtle Beach may be the most democratic golf destination in the world. For starters,there's access: about 75 percent of the nation's population resides within a day's drive. A wide variety of price points, ranging from blue collar to high dollar, keep the Grand Strand in the good graces of a wide spectrum of golfing circles. For a true slice of Americana, check out the underrated courses, pristine beaches, and down home BBQ joints of Brunswick County,N.C. (now considered by most to constitute the "North Strand").

The Revere Golf Club, Las Vegas, Nev.

We could go round and round about whether or not Las Vegas stands for everything right or wrong about American pop culture. Or we could agree to disagree and go play 36 holes at the Revere Golf Club in nearby Henderson and figure it all out later. The Revere (as in Paul) is a Revolutionary War themed golf park with two highly respected, locally adored 18-hole golf courses. The Lexington Course leans toward desert target, while Revere Golf Club's Concord Course is a bit more forgiving with its behemoth greens and wide fairways. Billy Casper and Greg Nash designed both courses and Troon Golf purchased the courses from Del Webb in September 2002. Holes bearing patriotic names like "Independence" are juxtaposed against an almost omnipresent view of the Sin-saturated Vegas strip. What's better than that?

Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Va.

ColonialWilliamsburg stands on its own as one of America's most American destinations - golf offerings aside. TheKingsmill Resort, owned by a subsidiary of Anheuser Busch, only sweetens the pot. Three 18-hole circuits meander around this little slice of heaven on the James River - the River, Plantationand WoodsCourses. TheRiverCourse, designed by the ubiquitous Dye, is the former home of the PGA Tour's Michelob Championship. The Plantation (named for the original Colonial Plantation) comes courtesy of Arnold Palmer's design firm, while the Woods course was designed by Tom Clark with an assist from native son and two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange.

Mid Pines/Pine Needles Resorts, Southern Pines, N.C.

Sure, Pinehurst Resort is the "Home of American Golf" as the public relations literature proclaims. Hard to argue with bloodlines that include James Tufts, DonaldRoss, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Ellis Maples, Rees Jones and TomFazio. Hard to argue with eight outstanding resort courses, two resort hotels straight out of Architectural Digest, enough tradition to rival America's venerable Northeastern golf refuges and two U.S. Opens (1999 and2005). But argue we will. PineNeedles and MidPines Resorts in neighboring Southern Pines are more American, if only because they are more real.Plenty of history, but no pretense. Both courses were designed by Ross, and Mid Pines is one of the few Ross layouts to retain its original routing and bunker placements. Pine Needles is the more challenging of the two, having hosted the 1996 and 2001 Women's U.S. Opens. Both are owned and operated by legendary golf instructor Peggy Kirk Bell and her family. At Pinehurst Resort, you can gaze at the black and white photos of Ross and Tufts in the resort clubhouse. At Mid Pines and Pine Needles, you can gaze back at Kirk Bell as she explains her theory on the takeaway.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.


 
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