11. ESTANCIA Scottsdale, Arizona
Estancia maintains a lofty status in the competitive Scottsdale market with superior planning and design, from the internationally honored Fazio course to the amenity-packed clubhouse to the eye-pleasing architecture.
12. The GREENBRIER SPORTING CLUB White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
There are still hints of the Social Register over at the great resort, but the club displays a more unbuttoned approach: a Fazio-designed course, as well as access to the resort's three courses, a heavy-beamed members' lodge, shooting grounds and multiple fly-fishing streams.
13. ISLEWORTH Orlando, Florida
For all its mansion-filled boulevards and Edwardian personal service, Isleworth still has a golf soul and a jock mentality: a Steve Smyers layout and a seven-thousand-square-foot lounge with golf simulator and basketball court.
14. SILVERLEAF Scottsdale, Arizona
Tom Weiskopf's fairways and green sites echo the folds of the surrounding McDowell Mountains, while the fifty-thousand-square-foot club and spa call you inside. A New Urbanist aesthetic permeates the first-class residential plan.
15. KUKI'O Kona, Hawaii
The half-mile-long Big Island beach here outshines that of any other gated golf community. Kuki'o's fifteen hundred acres hold only 375 homesites and include a full-service beach club, world-class spa and twenty-eight private Tom Fazio-designed golf holes.
16. WADE HAMPTON Cashiers, North Carolina
This mountain retreat was prospected by a brother-and-sister development team blessed with a beautiful Blue Ridge site, a golf course that would catapult Tom Fazio to fame and the foresight to draft covenants, add amenities and recruit well-off, unpretentious people to join in the fun.
17. YELLOWSTONE CLUB Big Sky, Montana
Amid log-style mansions and ski-in, ski-out chalet homes for the residents, there is also a resort component with private skiing and private golf (by high-country veteran Tom Weiskopf), plus hiking and fly-fishing.
18. JOHN'S ISLAND Vero Beach, Florida
No community needs publicity less than "J.I." (as the locals call it), which advertises only to attract good help. Located on a pristine barrier island between the Indian River and the Atlantic, it has three courses, a private beach club, tennis courts, a full gym and elegant architecture.
19. IRON HORSE Whitefish, Montana
Twisting through 820 acres above Whitefish Lake is a tidily tended Fazio course, though the other outdoor activities available—like horseback riding, white-water rafting, hiking and fly-fishing—are more rugged. And that's not counting what's on tap when it snows.
20. THE VINTAGE CLUB Indian Wells, California
This 712-acre community on the former Eldorado Polo Grounds is all waterfalls, lakes, two Fazio courses and multi-million dollar estates, with an incredibly sophisticated security component.
21. STOCK FARM Hamilton, Montana
The views from the sixteen-acre ranch are of Bitterroot peaks and high prairie dotted with grazing elk. The developers managed to lay in great golf, fine dining as well as a gleaming fitness center without breaking the frontier spell.
22. REYNOLDS PLANTATION Greensboro, Georgia
Established in 1985, the addition of the Ritz-Carlton Lodge a few years back gave this lake-loving and golf-heavy community a higher profile and some added texture. The upcoming debut of the Creek Club (Jim Engh), a members-only course, will do more of the same.
23. SPRING ISLAND Spring Island, South Carolina
Environmental stewardship and lifelong learning abound here. Thus, the fitness center, pool and tennis courts complex is called the Sports Garden, a Zen-like designation. Also offered are classes in studio art and music, plus a Master Naturalist course taught by a PhD staff member.
24. MIRABEL Scottsdale, Arizona
Self-indulgence meets self-discipline at the fitness center, by the lap pool and cabanas. The luxurious El Corazon neighborhood is at the center of the property, but fine service is everywhere—there's even a chef on the Fazio course.
25. LAS CAMPANAS Santa Fe, New Mexico
The two Nicklaus Signature courses, Sunrise and Sunset, suggest that you should devote entire days to golf. Yet the stunning spa, classic clay tennis courts and fitness program, plus arts and culture in every direction, make it tough.