Whether you’re an experienced player or just starting out, the golf season cooling down to a miserable degree is always a disappointing time of year. After all, time spent on the course isn’t just fun, it’s where you connect with friends and maybe even talk business. Fortunately, there are still plenty of destinations in the U.S. that have year-round weather that’s suitable for 18-hole rounds. Pack your golf bags because we’ve teed-up 13 of the top winter golf courses for your winter golf getaway!
Why Play Golf in the Winter?
Whether you realize it or not, playing golf in winter can hold some serious magic, even during those chilly rounds. In fact, winter may have a vibe you never knew you needed. Some of the best winter golf destinations in the USA offer a tranquil and picturesque golfing experience. Here are some of the physical and mental health benefits embracing the winter chill:
- Gives you energy and speeds up your metabolism, keeps your heart healthy and strong.
- Fights Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that typically occurs during the colder, darker months.
- Golf as mindfulness reduces stress. Also, a low-impact exercise for flexibility
- Fewer crowds and a peaceful atmosphere so you can eisurely pace without the usual hustle.
- Snowy golf courses look beautiful and scenic. Enjoy a calm and special time surrounded by snow!
And that's not to say that they aren't incredible places to golf overseas. The best winter golf destinations aren't limited to the USA. For instance, if you want to plan the best golf trip in Europe, get ready for an incredible golf holiday. Even in the brisk season, you're sure to reap the benefits.
Where to Golf in the Winter: Best Winter Golf Destinations to Escape the Chill
Cascata - Boulder City, Nevada
If you’re seeking a unique desert golfing destination, winter golf destinations like Cascata is where it’s at. Italian for waterfall, the name Cascata is inspired by the 418-foot waterfall that’s prominently featured over the range and becomes a stream running through the entire property. Talk about a desert oasis! Even better, it’s one of Nevada’s best course designs, designed by Rees Jones and ranking 6th on Golf Digest’s latest list for the state. Want a challenging course with rolling terrain, significant elevation changes, and breathtaking views? This course has got you covered.
Bali Hai - Las Vegas, Nevada
Located on the strip just a few blocks from the Bellagio, Bali Hai offers a truly unique and very Vegas golfing experience. A fun winter golfing course designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley, it’s a perfect golf getaway for the boys. Bali Hai is home to the ParMates program, which pairs you up with a golf-knowledgeable, “friendly, professional, beautiful” lady. Only in Vegas, right? Other notable features include Callaway club rentals and $500,000 in recent enhancement and beautification renovations. If you’re planning a golf-centered bachelor party this winter, Bali Hai won’t disappoint!
Reflection Bay - Lake Las Vegas, Nevada
As the name alludes to, this course is located on a beautiful 320-acre lake just 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas. The only course in Nevada to receive the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Signature Design designation, this course was host to Wendy’s 3Tour Challenge from 1998 to 2007. Starting out with a double water carry tee shot, this winter golf vacations course is sure to give you a run for your money. There’s also a wide variety of resort activities along with two hotels – Westin and Hilton – making this resort-style winter golf course perfect for visiting Vegas without some of the hassles of staying on the strip.
La Quinta Resort and Club - La Quinta, California
Embark on a winter golf trip to this ultra-challenging course designed by Pete Dye. It features pot bunkers, rock formations, elevations of tee boxes, and well-bunkered greens. Nestled at the base of the Santa Rosa mountains, the course offers stunning and truly unique views from the green. If you’re someone who loves planning their game in advance, the course website has a handy hole-by-hole breakdown with detailed descriptions and yardage figures per shot. Beyond getting in some serious rounds, the resort of this winter golf course is part of affords luxurious accommodations for relaxing in comfort with breathtaking backdrops.
Pinehurst No. 2 - Pinehurst, North Carolina
If you’re seeking for one of the popular winter golf courses in the Southeast that provides plenty of course options, Pinehurst is definitely top of the list. With nine total courses to choose from, you’re certain to get all the winter golfing that you can handle. One of the most notable winter golf courses at Pinehurst is the simply-titled No. 2. Home to numerous major tournaments and slated for five upcoming U.S. Opens, this Donal Ross-designed course is truly legendary. Resort accommodations and activities are top-notch as well, making Pinehurst the perfect destination for those escaping from colder northeastern states and looking for a relaxing winter golf vacation.
Palmetto Dunes - Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
One of Hilton Head’s must-play golf venues is the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which touts three 18-hole courses along three miles of ocean frontage. Centered around relaxation, this resort also offers a wide selection of vacation rental homes that are just steps from both the course and beach, making it perfect for a romantic getaway in the winter. While playing winter golf at Palmetto Dunes, you can enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and the stunning ocean views. The golfing experience will keep you on your toes, with each of the three courses being rated four stars or more by Fodor’s Golf Digest Places to Play.
Ocean Course - Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Site of the 2012 PGA Championship and on-deck for hosting it again in 2021, the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island is the No. 1-ranked course in South Carolina and 24th in the U.S. If testing your golf prowess is your motivation, this is a must-play course in a winter golf trips. While the views from the raised course are stunning, the sometimes unpredictable ocean breezes from the Atlantic will add an extra-challenging element to your game. The website also provides a nicely-detailed overview of each hole that even includes commentary by Pete Dye – there’s nothing better than getting the lowdown on a winter golf course straight from its designer!
Blue Course - Streamsong Resort, Florida
Located about an hour inland from Tampa, the Streamsong Resort offers three courses – Red, Blue, and Black. Recently re-grassed with a new strain of Bermudagrass, the Tom Doak-designed Blue Course is on Golf Digest’s Top 100 list. Features of the course include multiple elevation changes, fairways navigating wild grasses, and deep-water ponds. Boasting an ultra-modern lodge, the resort also boasts natural beauty with a lakeside 12-guestroom clubhouse and a variety of outdoor activities including guided bass fishing, hiking trails, bird watching, and sporting clays. Playing golf in the cold at Streamsong Resort offers a unique and invigorating experience amid the breathtaking surroundings.
Copperhead - Tampa, Florida
Part of the Innisbrook Resort, the Copperhead course is home to the annual Valspar Championship and included in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. Pine tree-lined fairways and rolling terrain define the lengthy 7,200-yard course, making it a great choice for those who love to go long on their hits. You’ll also enjoy some wildlife sightseeing when playing, with glimpses of fox squirrels, alligators, and blue herons. The resort itself provides a luxurious experience, offering first-class accommodations and relaxing spa treatments. Winter golf courses at the resort ensure a unique and enjoyable golfing experience, combining the beauty of the season with the challenge of the renowned Copperhead course.
Kapalua Plantation Course - Maui Island, Hawaii
Consistently ranked as the #1 winter golf course in Hawaii, playing The Plantation Course on Maui a truly special experience. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, the course features dramatic elevations changes and breathtaking ocean views from almost every hole. Home of the PGA TOUR Sentry Tournament of Champions each January so the next time you see it on TV you can reminisce about each hole that you played. Definitely a bucket list course for a winter golf trip.
Pebble Beach Golf Links - Pebble Beach, California
Pebble Beach, California, where Pebble Beach Golf Links welcomes you to embrace winter in a way you never dreamed of. Highlights you don't want to miss include the iconic 17th island green on your next winter golf trip. Be prepared for breathtaking coastal views while playing golf in the cold. It's also among the most popular winter golf courses. Pebble Beach Golf Links hosts the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Renowned for its perfect blend of challenges and natural beauty and home to prestigious events, making it a golfing gem.
TPC Sawgrass - Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Nestled in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, TPC Sawgrass beckons winter golf enthusiasts.Highlights include the famous 17th island green is perfect for playing winter golf. The Stadium Course, designed by Pete Dye, promises an iconic experience. When it comes to features for a winter golf vacation, this is for those who are up for the challenge. Each round encompasses a challenge, especially with that iconic hole. This destination turns winter golf into an incredible experience.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort - Bandon, Oregon
Discover an amazing golf experience at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in the enchanting landscape of Bandon, Oregon. As you tee off, you'll discover why this is one of the best winter golf destinations for a rugged coastal adventure. Crafted by legendary architects, the course offers a golfing escapade like no other. Designed by David McLay Kidd and Tom Doak, the course is a masterpiece.Ocean views and links-style play make it a challenging yet unforgettable winter golf course experience.
Winter Golf Tips
Just because there's no snow, doesn't mean the air isn't chilly. Heading to a winter golf destination is ideal, but not everyone has the time to travel out of state to enjoy the nice weather. If the golf course is open in 40 degrees fahrenheit, you better believe we're heading out to the green! For those of us to like to golf in chilly air, here are a few tips to keep in mind so you don't end up with the sniffles!
Dress in Layers
If you plan to play golf in not-so-hot weather, the secret to staying warm while playing golf in winter is all about the layers:
Thermal Undergarments: Before you go out on winter golf courses, start with the basics to create a cozy foundation.
Windproof and Waterproof Outer Layer: Shield yourself from the elements with a sturdy outer layer.
Warm Hat and Gloves: Don't underestimate the power of a snug hat and gloves.
Temperature-Regulating Tech: These garments adapt to changing conditions Keep these things in mind and you'll stay comfortable throughout your round.
Record Your Shots
Winter golfing is your secret weapon for a stellar summer swing. When playing golf in the cold, you'll learn how to analyze your own swing so you can identify and fix your swing faults. Essentially, by understanding how winter conditions impact your swings, you're setting the stage to make an impact on any golf mistakes. When you make big strides in your game but you're still looking to improve your golf swing, a video analysis with the Rokform Golf Shooter is going to allow you to get video feedback on flaws unseen by the naked eye. No worries when it comes to the setup of a Golf Shooter phone stand with Eagle 3 Phone Cases, either. It's straightforward, and the stiff Graphite shaft won't wobble in the chilly winds of winter. It's accessories like this that'll make the entire experience even more enjoyable.
Keep up the Good Mood
While playing winter golf, bringing along some tunes on your golf cart really completes the experience. But, keeping a Bluetooth speaker secure on a golf cart can be more hassle than it’s worth. That’s why we designed our G-Rok Golf Speaker with powerful integrated magnets to make secure mounting a snap – just get it close to the metal framing and it instantly fixes itself to your cart. Compact yet rich in sound quality, this little speaker is a must for your next golf trip! A few tunes can take your mind off the chill and keep you focused on the swing!
Choose the Right Golf Ball
When the winter golf chill sets in, it's time to be smart about your golf ball:
- Cold Impact: Lower temperatures can mess with you playing golf in the cold.
- Low Compression Magic: Choose a low compression ball. These perform better in colder conditions.
- Distance and Control: Keep it real by ensuring you maintain both distance and control.
Even when playing golf in the winter, hydration is your golfing sidekick:
- Cold Doesn't Stop Thirst: Don't be fooled on a winter golf vacation, stay hydrated.
- Winter Dries You Out: Dry winter air and swinging those clubs can dehydrate you.
- Performance Potion: Water is essential for keeping your A-game on the course.
Tee It Up
Stay the course while playing golf in the winter with these savvy tee tips:
- Fairways and Greens Shift: Winter golf courses bring tighter fairways and firmer greens into play.
- Tee Height Matters: Boost your game by teeing the ball slightly higher.
When looking into the best winter golf vacations, this list of the top 13 winter golf courses promises an exhilarating experience, where icy fairways and crisp air create an unforgettable getaway. During the winter season, you're also more likely to find exclusive discounts, promotions, or packages that enhance the allure of winter golf. And speaking of the holiday season, winter also brings out the finest in golf gifts for golfers of all levels. Winter golf, here we come!