by Alex Palmer | November 21, 2017
By some accounts, the history of golf goes back to the Middle Ages, or at least to the mid-15th century, when the modern version was developed in Scotland (the first documentation of "gowf" in that country dates to the 1457 Act of the Scottish Parliament, when the game was prohibited because it distracted from archery practice). Those looking to enjoy a round while soaking in the sport's past can head to its motherland, strolling the green at the Elie Golf House Club (where golf has been played since 1589), Musselburgh Old Course (host of the Open Championships six times between 1874 and 1889, and where golf was played as early as 1672), or of course, the "spiritual home of golf" at St. Andrews.

But the U.S. offers a number of destinations ideal for incentive winners looking for a helping of history between putts. Here are three.

Palm Beach, FL
The first course in "Florida's Golf Capital" -- the Ocean Golf Course at The Breakers Palm Beach -- was laid out in 1896 by Alexander H. Findley. When it was redesigned in 2000, architect Brian Silva aimed to preserve the course's attributes while modernizing it for today's golfers, who continue to flock to the course, where winding fairways, six lakes, and sand traps make it a world-class links. Of course, it's one of many (more than 160, in fact) throughout the Palm Beaches, which is also home to more than 60 current and past professional golfers as well as the Professional Golf Association of America, which opened its doors in Palm Beach Gardens in 1916.

Pebble Beach, CA

This city is home to famed golf courses of Cypress Point Club, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and Pebble Beach Golf Links. The latter and its 161-room The Lodge, overlooking the 18th hole and built at the same time as the course, will celebrate its centenary by hosting the U.S. Open Championship in the summer of 2019 (the sixth time it's hosted the event). The course hosted its first professional tournament (the Monterey Peninsula Open, with a $5,000 purse) in 1926, was the site of the PGA Championship in 1977, and was named the No. 1 Golf Course in America by Golf Digest in 2010.

Sea Island, GA
This privately owned seaside resort island has had a golf connection going back to at least 1928, when the first nine-hole course, Plantation, opened before a hotel was available to accommodate visiting players (The Cloister would open its doors a few months later, and the 175-room, Mediterranean-style property continues to offer luxurious accommodations for visiting groups).

This small island has since hosted some of the top golfers playing, as well as tournaments including the RSM Classic, a PGA TOUR FedEx Cup event. The original nine-hole course has grown to three championship 18-hole courses, as well as a Golf Performance Center where visitors can get expert tips on their swing and try out the cutting-edge hitting bays, indoor putting lab, and more. But whatever the new technology, Sea Island's golfing legacy makes it a top draw.  

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This article appears in the November/December 2017 issue of Incentive.