15 Best Winter Golf Destinations for a Warm-Weather Getaway
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.
Teeth of the Dog (La Romana, Dominican Republic)
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 designers likened to dog's teeth, hence the name, and features small, fast greens and tight fairways to challenge any golfer.
Depending on the time of year that you visit, Teeth of the Dog will run you between $325- $415 to play. In addition to Teeth of the Dog, golfer's have two other Dye designs to enjoy in Dye Fore and The Links. All golf at the resort includes greens fees, cart, bag storage, and driving range usage. Caddies are additional.
Grayhawk Golf Club (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, Grayhawk Golf Club has been a staple of Arizona golf since it first opened in 1994. The property features a pair of par-72 courses, The Talon Course and The Raptor Course, each with its own distinctive features. You can expect multi-tiered greens on every hole and Sonoran Desert landscape strategically winding in and out of the property. Grayhawk is no stranger to challenging elite golfers. It has hosted tour events as well as the Men's and Women's NCAA Division I Golf Championship in 2021, which it will also host in 2022 and 2023.
The property includes the Quill Creek Cafe, which is an American and Southwestern cafe with incredible views of the course. You will also find an upbeat Isabella's Kitchen for pizza and The Morning Joint for breakfast. Phil's Grill is a must-visit as the restaurant is an homage to Phil Mickelson and his time spent in Arizona.
Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, the Stadium Course, is best known as the home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The signature par-3 16th hole features spectators surrounding the green during the PGA Tour event. Golfers enjoy the chance to play the same course as the professionals while basking in the mild temperatures of an Arizona winter.
If you have time for 36 holes, you can also play the Champions Course at TPC Scottsdale, which is a desert golf experience in itself. The course was completely revamped in 2007 and appeals to all skill levels. TPC Scottsdale offers two great dining options with the Champions Patio Bar for quick and casual bites, and Toro Restaurant and Rum bar for a more upscale dining experience.
Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort (Maui, Hawaii)
What could be better than a winter trip to Hawaii? A winter trip to Hawaii to play an amazing round of golf! The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort 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.
You'll also find the Bay Course on property, which has its famous No. 17 hole which is the only hole to play over the ocean in Maui. Kapalua offers four different lodging choices, which vary in price. Dining includes three delicious options including the Plantation House Restaurant, Taverna, and the Bay Cafe.
Royal Isabela Resort (Isabela, Puerto Rico)
Another lovely Caribbean destination,the Royal Isabela creates a lovely course that evokes the links traditions of Scotland and England. Numerous holes perched on cliffs over 200 feet above the ocean provide golfers with breathtaking views. Considered Puerto Rico'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.
Jota Restaurant is a must, offering farm-to-table dining with incredible local flavors. Croquet Bar is the property's open-air bar that has scenic golf course and ocean views along with an extensive wine list, local micro-brewed beers, tropical cocktails, and tapas.
Kiva Dunes Golf Course (Gulf Shores, Alabama)
Kiva Dunes benefits greatly from the natural geography of the Gulf Shore 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 University of Alabama alumnus and major winner Jerry Pate, the Kiva Dunes course rewards strategy and warrants multiple playthroughs to truly enjoy the layout of this great course.
The Kiva Beach Club offers families everything they could want as far as swimming and activities. The Kiva Grill is a relaxed, casual atmosphere for dining. The Kiva Beach Club Restaurant is slightly more upscale but doesn't lose its resort vacation charm.
Blue Monster at Trump National Doral (Miami, Florida)
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.
The property also offers Golden Palm, Red Tiger, and Silver Fox, three courses that all take in the local topography and characteristics of the Blue Monster. The resort offers stay and play packages to go along with upscale dining, salon and spa services, shopping, and an array of different recreational activities.
Cholla Course at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club (Fort McDowell, Arizona)
Located near Phoenix and Scottsdale, 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.
During peak season, rates are around $275, and stay and play opportunities are available with the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, which comes in handy if you feel like trying your luck away from the course.
Pinnacle Course at Troon North Golf Club (Scottsdale, Arizona)
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 golf experience unlike any other.
If you're on property and have the time, the Monument Course is another 18-hole gem that receives many of the same accolades as the Pinnacle Course. No day is complete without a sit down at the Dynamite Grille for a beverage or dinner from its eclectic menu.
Fallen Oak at Beau Rivage Resort (North Saucier, Mississippi)
The Fallen Oak course at Beau Rivage Resort 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 past 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.
The resort offers an array of entertainment, dining, and nightlife. In addition, the Beau Rivage Casino has slots, table games, and the BetMGM Sportsbook. Nine different food options are on peoperty with everything from quick snacks and coffee to upscale dining.
Champion Course at PGA National Resort (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida)
Another course originally designed by the legendary Tom Fazio only to then be updated by equally legendary Jack Nicklaus, the Champion Course at 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.
Five other courses are part of the resort including the Palmer, Fazio, Estate, Match, and Staple courses. Accommodations include guest rooms, suites, cottages, and vacation homes. You'll find some of the best restaurants in Palm Beach as well as activities for anyone in the family.
Cove Club Golf Course at Cabo del Sol Resort (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)
Cabo San Lucas, long known as a tourist destination for travelers escaping the cold, is also home to a wonderful beachside course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Known for its five oceanside holes, the Cove Club 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 Cove Club Course is routinely listed as one of Mexico's top courses.
You'll also find the Desert Course, designed by Tom Weiskopf. This course combines beautiful ocean views and all of the challenges you'll want from one of the master designers of desert golf. The Cove Club is a swimming and recreation club that will offer some additional dining and fun.
South Course at Pelican Hill (Newport Coast, California)
Pelican Hill Golf Club features two splendid ocean-side courses, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The Ocean 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 golf.
The Ocean North Course is also a beautiful landscape with open canyons and elevated plateaus. No matter which course you play, beauty awaits. Keep your phone fully charged for plenty of pictures. The resort has bungalows and villas along with six dining options varying from coffee and breakfast to white tablecloths and premium steaks.
Torrey Pines South (La Jolla, California)
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.
Stay and play packages are a must with the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines being a great option for lodging. While you're staying, play the North Course which co-hosts the Farmers Insurance Open along with the South Course.
The Stadium Course at PGA West (La Quinta, California)
Located in the greater Palm Springs area, PGA West was founded in 1985 and 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."
Ernie's Bar and Grill is the premier spot to sit and sip or have a spectacular meal while watching the sunset on Palm Springs. The La Quinta Resort offers Spanish-style casitas with hot tubs and private patios.