Our favorite places to kick back after a lap around the linksJust as a trip down the slopes WOULDN’T BE complete without an après-ski drink, enjoying a postround beverage in a clubhouse dining room, bar or locker room — commonly referred to as the 19th hole — is an important part of the golf experience, ranking just behind playing the course itself and just above crushing your opponent’s soul by overquoting Caddyshack. But not every top-ranked course has a memorable 19th hole to match. We’ve picked five of the top postgame lounges in the country, noteworthy for their stunning views, inviting atmosphere or rich history. While some are public and others are private (make friends with a member ASAP), all are worth the humiliation of a double bogey — or two — to visit.
You can quaff a beer and gaze out at Pinehurst’s enormous putting green from the clubhouse’s 91st Hole bar, but the best place to do 18 holes’ worth of revisionist history is the Ryder Cup Lounge in the resort’s Carolina hotel. Like most 19th holes, it has a signature drink — the Carolina Peach Tea, which contains five types of alcohol. (And you thought sand traps were hazardous.)
The Quarry at La Quinta
La Quinta, Calif.
The Quarry at La Quinta is nestled in the foothills of the picturesque Santa Rosa Mountains, so the clubhouse here — built into the side of a quarry — is about one thing and one thing only: the spectacular view. The panoramic vista of the grounds’ hills, multilevel course and swaying palm trees is enough to make you forget the 100 you just carded.
Whisper Rock golf Club
This is the first name golfers give when discussing their favorite 19th holes. Ever since the private club opened in 2000, its mix of serious golf cred (more than three dozen current PGA pros are members) and laid-back atmosphere (the club’s unofficial motto: “It’s all about the hang”) have made it a national favorite. Just don’t expect to sit at the bar — to encourage socializing, there are no bar stools.
The Royal County Down Golf Club
Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland
Old Tom Morris was paid four pounds to design this course’s back nine in 1889. And while he didn’t have a hand in the 19th hole — one of the best public 19th holes in the game — we have a feeling he’d approve. Inside the clubhouse, the Murlough Bar and Dining Room offers a straight shot of the 18th green, the 10th tee, the Mourne Mountains and the rolling Irish countryside.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Just south of Charleston, S.C.
While the Ocean Course is a more modern public golf mecca than Royal County Down, the sights here are just as breathtaking. Whether you’re in the dining room, the bar, the outdoor porch or the Atlantic Room restaurant, you’re treated to sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean rolling in behind the 18th green.