It’s a harsh reality. Many Canadians experienced a mild Fall but in reality the golf season is still too far way.
Golfers need to golf…now!
So where do you go?
We picked a handful of locations that you might want to check out to stave off your golf cravings.
Take a retreat from the snow banks on your front lawn and head to where warmth is not a fruitless request.
Las Vegas, Nevada
So you thought Vegas was all about gambling and sleep avoidance? It may be but the town that never shuts down is also a creditable golf destination.
Wander off The Strip and you’ll find plenty of green strips where you can get familiar with the light of day and chase a golf ball.
One of the closest courses to get to (assuming you are staying on The Strip) is the Bali Hai Golf Course. Built in 2000 this 7,000 yarder will set you back more than a few chips but the convenience can’t be beat. Disregard the man-made look of the place and you’ll appreciate the top service and turf conditions. Their caddy services have a tradition of excellence and ease the need to think any harder than you might want to after a long night at the tables.
Alternatively take a break and head a little ways out of town to the Paiute Resort. Green fees are a little more reasonable and with 54 holes you can usually score a tee time. They also have some sweet views of the Vegas and the surrounding mountains.
Don’t Miss – The Bellagio Fountains Show. It runs regularly and you’d be surprised how entertaining 1200+ fountains shooting hundreds of feet in the air can be.
This upscale Phoenix suburb is golf mad. Great layouts seem to have sprouted almost on top of each other. Whether you use a value-priced hotel or a four-star resort as your base, there are multiple options for publicly accessible golf.
Few are better than Grayhawk, the 36-hole hole facility where both the Talon and Raptor courses have played host for top level professional tournaments. Talon is shorter but fairway corridors are tighter with the relief coming on the greens that are somewhat flatter than those on the sister layout.
Raptor is a beefy 7,135 yard layout with room to play. Where it tackles you is on the greens with deep bunkers protecting each one and plenty of undulations to test you once you get there.
Don’t Miss – Phil’s Grill at Grayhawk. The pub pays homage to club ambassador Phil Mickelson with menu items he enjoys during his visits and plenty of his memorabilia adorning the walls.
Southern California often gets a bad rap for smog-filled skies and endless traffic congestion. South of Los Angeles madness is an enclave free from much of that and home to more than a few golf manufacturers.
Fly into San Diego and if you can pull yourself for its charms it is just a short drive north to Carlsbad. This seaside resort city tumbles along 11 kilometres of oceanside property. Mornings usually find start cool here in the winter but by mid-day it almost always borders on perfection.
With only a population of just over 100,000 you might not expect a lot in terms of golf but you’ll find it is home to the renowned Omni La Costa Resort and Park Hyatt Aviara Resort – for starters.
The Champions course at La Costa was revamped a couple years ago and what used to be known as the South Course re-opened as the Legends Course. Both are impeccable in styling, views, and eminently playable for every level of golfer.
Not far away at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort you appreciate the garden-like nature of the entire grounds. Their Arnold Palmer designed golf course might have the most dense floral and water features I have ever seen in eighteen holes. Host to the LPGA Kia Classic it more than meets the standards of even the most seasoned player. Simply put, it’s a stunner.
Don’t Miss – Carlsbad is home to Lego Land. Even if you don’t have child along on the trip this theme park will bring out the kid in you.
The perception is well-founded. Southeast Florida IS a playground for the rich with golf courses to match the lifestyle. That is, private and not fond of swinging open the gates for just anyone.
In the midst of this there is still a place for the more common golfer. In places like Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, and Port St. Lucie you’ll still find layouts where your green frees are all you need to get access to the first tee.
The North Palm Beach Country Club sounds swanky but in fact it is one of but two Jack Nicklaus Signature municipal golf course in the United States. A surprising amount of elevation, tree-lined fairways, views of the water, and reasonable green fees are part of its appeal. If you’ve played this course in the past you’ll be pleased to see the improvements in both design and conditioning.
Further north, in the Port St. Lucie area, it is hard to look past the three golf course at PGA Village when considering where to play. The PGA of America owned complex has just about every aspect of the game covered. It boasts one of the best practice grounds in the world and golf courses that have hosted the PGA TOUR Qualifying School as well as the PGA of Canada Club Professional Championship.
Be sure to save some time for the short course and if you want to practice your sand game; they have bunkers of all shapes, styles, and sand textures at the Learning Center.
Don’t Miss – The PGA of America museum. It’s free to visit, has an amazing library, and is the home of both the Wanamaker Trophy (PGA Championship) and the Vardon Trophy (Low PGA Tour scoring average).
Gulf Shores, Alabama
You won’t find this spot on a lot of lists but with a Gulf Coast locations, 9 quality golf courses, and a food and beach scene that is the envy of many, it is worth a look. Prices are comparable or better than Florida locales and the low speed pace of life will suit many.
There are not many misses among its golf offerings but no eighteen is finer than Kiva Dunes. Laid out along the beachfront this might represent former U.S. Open Champion Jerry Pate’s finest design work.
Fairways wind through low stands of brush with sand threading throughout the property. Unusually there is more elevation that you might expect although when the wind blows you might want to keep your head and ball down.
Just down the road you’ll find the more traditional Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club with 27 holes spread over 820 acres. You can expect to have a chilled apple and a cold towel brought to you by staff on the sweltering days. It’s those kind of touches, along with golf holes cut from dense forest that always bring me back.
Don’t Miss – Leave yourself time for a deep-sea fishing adventure. More than 100 licensed Captains can help you seek the finest fish the Gulf of Mexico has to offer.
Bali Hai Golf Course
Las Vegas Paiute Resort
Grayhawk Golf Club
Omni La Costa Resort
Park Hyatt Aviara Resort
North Palm Beach Golf & Country Club
Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club