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Colorado's The Broadmoor is one of America's great old-line golf resorts.

Colorado’s The Broadmoor is one of America’s great old-line golf resorts.

If you drink bourbon, you probably know there’s Pappy Van Winkle, then there’s everything else. Pappy is Pappy because it is aged, and the aging process makes the product better than just about anything else out there.

Consider these seven, then, the Pappy Van Winkle of resorts.

Still somewhat on the more formal side, they have housed, nurtured and refreshed thousands of discerning travelers for decades. Their classic décor, gorgeous settings, fine dining, impeccable service and storied histories are part of the experience.

To visit is to take your own place in the history of one of America’s great resorts.

Here are seven such resorts, each worthy of the title “Grande Dame”:

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What the gorgeous Green Glory book looks likeThis is one of those real “finds” I love tipping you off about.

The timing is perfect given what’s happening this week.

An awesome golf book about The PGA Championship and golf’s other major tournaments was recently published…but very few people know about it.

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There are plenty of PGA Championship courses you can play on golf vacations, including North Carolina’s Tanglewood Park Championship Course, above.

Do you think Tiger Woods will get his major championship mojo back this week? You probably recall his thrilling duel with journeyman Bob May back in 2000. Dustin Johnson was looking like one of the favorites at Valhalla until his latest suspension for testing positive for cocaine put a halt to all that.

With all this golf news swirling as the season’s final major approaches, I have been wondering how many past and future PGA Championship courses are available for public play, much like I’ve advised with respect to U.S Open and British Open courses.

Guess what? There are more of these courses than you might think…and you probably live or will soon travel near one of them.

Check out the list here:

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Guests of the Wequassett Inn get to enjoy gorgeous views and luxe accommodations, in addition to guest access at Cape Cod National Golf Club.

Guests of the Wequassett Inn get to enjoy gorgeous views and luxe accommodations, in addition to guest access at Cape Cod National Golf Club.

Stop me if I start sounding like a snob, but…

In general, I prefer private golf clubs to public courses.

Don’t get me wrong—there are plenty of worthwhile public courses of all types, from the diamond-in-the-rough municipal track to the high-end daily fee course.

But in almost all cases, if I can get on a private club, I’m going to do my best.

One of the tried-and-true ways I can recommend is to stay in hotels that have agreements with private clubs. You get an awesome vacation experience and get treated like a member when you want to tee it up. Private clubs are less crowded, in better shape and just more peaceful than even the nicer public courses out there.

Here are five of the best private clubs I can recommend, and the corresponding hotels that will give you access:

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Turn on images and you'll see all the places you can use this clever golf net
If you like the idea of hitting golf balls whenever you feel like it, but you don’t think you have the space (or budget) for a quality, full-swing home practice net that automatically returns the ball to you, get ready to be blown away.
That’s because I found it: a near perfect golf net that literally pops up anywhere — yes, even in apartments — and incredibly (and easily) folds back down to the size of a Hula Hoop.

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Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen, Scotland, plays some of the most dramatic dunes we have seen. It would make a spectacular Open site.

Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen, Scotland, plays some of the most dramatic dunes we have seen. It would make a spectacular Open site. (Brian Morgan)

I loved watching the Open Championship from Royal Liverpool this weekend. Rory McIlroy’s performance was tremendous. I’m already counting down until next year, when the Open returns to The Old Course at St. Andrews.

I do have one minor concern, though.

The “Open rota.”

As it stands, there are currently ten sites in the Open rota (counting Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, host its first Open in 68 years in 2019).

The Old Course seems destined to host the event on every year ending in a 0 or a 5 going forward, which is fine. The game’s oldest championship should return to its most iconic championship venue that often. But as for the rest of the rota?

Let’s share the wealth a bit more.

For example:

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This course is NOT in the Open Championship rota. Nevertheless, it's an absolute must-play. (Larry Lambrecht)

This course is NOT in the Open Championship rota. Nevertheless, it’s an absolute must-play. (Larry Lambrecht)

You’re probably familiar with all of the courses of the Open Championship rota by now.

You know the ones: The Old Course, Carnoustie, Royal St. George’s, yadda yadda yadda, not to mention jolly old Hoylake, which hosts this year’s Open.

But what about the “best of the rest?”

In this case, many of “the rest” are better than the Open venues themselves.

These links courses in the Isles will never host an Open, but they are “must-play” courses for your next UK golf trip.

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You can thank fellow reader Rob Healy from Boston for today’s tip.

Given how much I travel, he wanted my advice on something.

He emailed me asking…

“What’s the single most important piece of travel gear in your arsenal?”

Here’s what I told him.

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