There’s no case of the winter blues that a round of golf can’t fix, but if the local golf course is covered in a blanket of snow or you simply can’t bring yourself to head out in frosty temperatures, then it might be time for a weekend away. Here are five top destinations for winter golfing that will have you practicing your swing and getting in some well-deserved down time – without leaving the country.
Head to Sunny Florida
It’s not called the sunshine state for nothing. Chose pretty much anywhere in Florida in the winter time and you’ll be greeted with comfortable temperatures and an average of seven to nine hours of sunlight each day – not to mention sandy beaches and blue water. And that’s before you even get on the greens.
Average February Temperatures: low 48 / high 73
Places to Play: Miami/Palm Beach: PGA National Golf & Spa, The Breakers Resort, Trump National Doral Golf Club, and Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne. Naples:The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Old Corkscrew GC, and Naples Grande. Orlando: The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hills Club & Lodge, and Grand Cypress Orlando Golf Club.
For a listing of Florida golf courses, head over to FloridaGolf.com. Many golf courses book up quickly over winter and some are open only to resort guests, so be sure to book as soon as possible.
Fun off the Green: If you can tear yourself away from the premier greens of the sunshine state, you’ll have no trouble filling up your time off the course. From beautiful beaches in Naples to the glitz and glamour of Miami and Palm Beach, there’s plenty of entertainment to be had. And of course for those looking to make a family vacation out of it, there’s world-famous Disney World in Orlando.
Check out Scottsdale, Arizona
With even more sunshine hours in the winter than Florida, you might decide to forgo the beaches this year and head to Scottsdale in Arizona. Easily reached via Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, boasting direct flights to some 80 domestic and 21 international destinations, a quick hop can have you basking in the winter sun and playing at one – or more – of the 100 courses in the area.
Average February Temperatures: low 43 / high 70
Places to Play: The Phoenician GC, Troon North Golf Club, Stadium & Championships courses at TPC Scottsdale, and Boulders Resort & Spa. With far too many choices to list here, head over to ArizonaGolf.com to learn more.
Fun off the Green: If you choose to stay at one of the resorts like the Four Season or The Phoenician, there’s a good chance you won’t want to leave the grounds. With world-class golfing at your door along with pools, tennis courts, restaurants and spa facilities, there’s enough to keep you busy. If you do venture out, there are plenty of bars, restaurants, art galleries and museums, plus a vibrant shopping scene to check out in Scottsdale’s picturesque Old Town.
Visit San Diego
With almost 90 golf courses and average daytime temperatures in the mid-60s, San Diego is a prime winter golfing destination. With locations scattered from the beach to the mountains, there’s a course for everyone here, and plenty of action for those looking to explore this exciting Southern Californian city.
Average February Temperatures: low 52 / high 66
Fun off the Green: One thing you will not experience in San Diego, is boredom. From whale watching tours to beaches and parks to explore on foot or by bike, and huge food, entertainment and shopping scenes, you could pack a lot into a long weekend – if that’s your goal. For those with kids – or just big kids at heart – The San Diego Zoo and LEGOLAND are must-see attractions. There are also loads of museums to choose from including the Air & Space Museum, Natural History Museum and The Museum of Man.
Adventure in Palm Springs/Coachella Valley
The most famous of the cities dotting Coachella Valley, Palm Springs is a mecca of luxury resorts, fine dining and world-class shopping in the middle of the desert. The area is not short on greens either – there are more than 125 golf courses found in the region. Whether you choose to stay in Palm Springs or elsewhere in the valley, you are guaranteed a weekend of great winter temperatures and even better golf.
Average February Temperatures: low 48 / high 68
Places to Play: The Stadium, Greg Norman and Nicklaus Tournament Courses at PGA West, The Dunes and Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort & Club, The Classic Club designed by Arnold Palmer, and the Celebrity or Players Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort. For more information on golfing in the Coachella Valley, check out this comprehensive guide by Golf Advisor or this handy listing from PalmSprings.com.
Fun off the Green: With so many luxury resorts and spas on offer, you’d be forgiven for spending the rest of your time lazing by the pool or getting a massage. But for those looking for more of the outdoors, winter is the perfect time for hiking, horseback riding or guided jeep tours with hundreds of desert and mountain miles to be explored. For those seeking less vigorous outdoor entertainment, there’s the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a bird’s eye view of the area at 8,500 feet.
Relax On the Gulf Coast
Sink your toes into the sand, eat fresh seafood and enjoy some southern hospitality in between rounds of golf with a stay on the Gulf Coast. From Mississippi’s Biloxi to Panama Beach in Florida, there’s no shortage of golf courses or white sandy beaches to choose from.
Average February Temperatures: low 45 / high 63
Places to Play: Kiva Dunes Golf Club in Gulf Shores, AL; Shell Landing Golf Club or Fallen Oak Golf Course in Biloxi, MS (exclusive to Beau Rivage guests only), the Sandestin Golf & Resort Courses in Miramar Beach, FL or The Clubs by Joe’s three golf courses around Panama City Beach in Florida.
Fun off the Green: With the white sands of the gulf coast at your door, make time for some walks on the beach, winter sunsets and seaside dining. For those seeking more thrills, there’s always deep sea fishing, and of course there’s loads of shopping and entertainment to be had back on land. If you have more time for your winter escape, you can also look further afield to the islands of Hawaii or Puerto Rico. Both of these states are packed with natural beauty, gorgeous beaches, perfect weather – and you guessed it – plenty of opportunities to play world-class greens. For more on Hawaii’s golf courses click here, and right here for