For most golfers, the winter season means a three month hibernation from the game they love. However, for golfers that are willing to travel or those lucky enough to live in warmer climates, golf can be enjoyed year round and many beautiful courses. In fact, the mild winters of Southern California, Arizona, the Caribbean and the South make it the perfect season for golf. The following are a list of 15 top winter golf destinations for golfers looking to escape the cold.
credit: Casa de Campo Resort
La Romana-Higüey Hwy
La Romana, Dominican Republic, 22000
Long considered one of the Caribbean's best courses, Casa de Campo's Teeth of the Dog promises fleeing snowbirds warm weather, beautiful views and a challenging Pete Dye masterpiece. Featuring seven holes right on the Caribbean Sea, this course doesn't disappoint on aesthetics. The course was designed on top of the sharp coral rock which they likened to dog's teeth, hence the name, and features small, fast greens and tight fairways to challenge any golfer.
credit: Naples Golf Guy
851 Gulf Shore Blvd. North
Naples, FL 34102
The course at the luxury Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is par-71 course designed in collaboration by the legendary Jack Nicklaus and architect John Sanford. The course features a mix of environments, with beachfront vistas, extensive use of water and native greenery to create a wonderful course. Golfers will be challenged by crowned and peninsular greens, and course management is a must for all golfers.
credit: PGA Tour
17020 N Hayden Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
The Stadium Course, designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, is best known as the home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The signature hole is the par-3 16th hole that features close spectators around the green during the PGA Tour event. Golfers will enjoy the chance to play the same course as the professionals while basking in the mild temperatures of an Arizona winter.
credit: Kapalua Golf
2000 Plantation Club Drive
Lahaina, HI 96761
What could be better than a winter trip to Hawaii? A winter trip to Hawaii to play an amazing round of golf! This course features amazing views of the surrounding mountains and is home to the annual PGA Tour Sentry Tournament of Champions featuring previous Tour winners. This course features varied terrain and elevation changes, and unlike many of the others on this list is actually forgiving with broad fairways and large greens.
Royal Isabela Resort
credit: Royal Isabela
396 Ave Noel Estrada
Isabela, PR 00662
Another lovely Caribbean destination, the Royal Isabela creates a lovely course that evokes the links traditions of Scotland and England. Numerous holes a perched on cliffs over 200 feet above the ocean provide golfers with breathtaking views. Considered Puerto Rica's best course, it is a difficult course with numerous blind shots and small greens. Luxury accommodations at the resort allow golfers to relax after a day on the David Pfaff designed course.
credit: Kiva Dunes
815 Plantation Drive
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Kiva Dunes is a course that benefits greatly from the natural geography of the region. The course utilizes the natural white sand and numerous natural lakes to provide a unique links-style course that many might be surprised to find in Alabama. Designed by former University of Alabama alumni and major winner Jerry Pate, the course rewards strategy and warrants multiple playthroughs to truly enjoy the layout of this great course.
credit: Trump National Doral
4400 N.W. 87th Avenue
Miami, FL 33178
A resort course with PGA Tour pedigree, the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral has hosted tournaments for over 55 years. The course was designed by Gil Hanse and features 7,608 yards of fairways with rolling greens and numerous bunkers and water hazards. The Blue Monster demands both accurate approach shots and significant distance from golfers that will challenge any visitor to the resort.
credit: We-Ko-Pa Golf Club
18200 E. Toh Vee Circle
Fort McDowell, AZ 85264
Located in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club is home to the challenging Cholla course. This Scott Miller designed course snakes through the canyonlands of Central Arizona. Located on land owned by the Yavapai Nation, We-Ko-Pa uses the desert geography to create unique wide-open courses while the tight fairways challenge golfers right off the tee. Visitors to the area should also play We-Ko-Pa's second course, the highly rated Saguaro Course.
credit: Troon North Golf Club
10320 E Dynamite Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85262
The Tom Weiskopf designed pinnacle course has long been considered one of the best, if not the best, course in Arizona. The course features tight fairways and fast greens, but the defining feature is how the course seems to blend seamlessly into the scrub desert. Featuring beautiful (and towering) saguaro cacti and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, Pinnacle delivers a wonderful golfing experience unlike any other.
credit: Beau Rivage Resort
24400 Highway 15
North Saucier, MS 39574
This course was designed by the legendary Tom Fazio and is available to guests of the Beau Rivage Resort near Biloxi, Mississippi. Fallen Oak is generally considered the best course in Mississippi, multiple tees allow for a challenging course that is still accessible to golfers of all levels. The 7,487 yard course winds through marshlands and passed lakes and wetlands. Uniquely southern, golfers will also play through groves of pecan and magnolia trees. Visitors in the winter months will enjoy the mild temperatures and peaceful quiet.
credit: Discover the Palm Beaches
400 Avenue of Champions
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
Another course originally designed by the legendary Tom Fazio only to then be updated by equally legendary Jack Nicklaus, the Champion course at the PGA National Resort is known as one of the most challenging courses in Florida. The course initially appears forgiving with its large greens and fairways, however, course management is necessary and rewards correct decision making. The course is home to the annual Honda Classic of the PGA Tour, giving amateurs the chance to play the same course as the professionals.
Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol Resort
credit: Golf Digest
?23400 San José del Cabo-Cabo San Lucas,
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas, long known as a tourist destination for travelers escaping the cold, is also home to the a wonderful beachside course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Known for the five oceanside holes, the Ocean Course challenges golfers by incorporating the local geography into a graceful layout. Famously, the 17th hole requires golfers to launch their tee shots over a barren sandy cove onto the green. It is just one reason why the Ocean Course is routinely listed as one of Mexico's top courses.
credit: Pelican Hill Golf Club
22800 Pelican Hill Rd S
Newport Coast, CA 92657-2007
Pelican Hill Golf Club features two splendid ocean side courses offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The South Course, designed by Tom Fazio, uses the natural landscape to include both the rocky shoreline and the canyons. Known for numerous hard carries over various hazards, the course demands accurate and correct shotmaking. The mild Southern California climate will be sure to provide a great backdrop to some challenging winter golfing.
credit: Torrey Pines Golf Course
11480 N Torrey Pines Rd
La Jolla, CA 92037-1045
Long considered one of the greatest municipal courses in America, Torrey Pines is easily the most prominent Southern California golf course available to the public. Featuring two different courses, the South Course is the more famous and challenging of the two. It is home to an annual PGA Tour event and was also the site of the famous 2008 U.S. Open sudden-death victory of Tiger Woods over Rocco Mediate. Due to its popularity, reservations should be made as far as possible in advance.
credit: PGA West Resort
56150 PGA Blvd
La Quinta, CA 92253-4600
Located in the greater Palm Springs area, PGA West is a golf club founded in 1985 that allows access to non-members through its luxury resort. Offering one course open to resort guests, the Stadium Course is consistently ranked as one of America's most challenging courses. Designed by Pete Dye, the Stadium Course is also the home of an annual PGA Tour event and the infamous island green on hole 17, better known as "Alcatraz."