In the midst of winter, you may be sliding into a depression, and it’s not the dark morning and nights, or bitter cold that’s doing it. It’s the lack of fresh green grass appearing on the fairway, because the grass is covered in feet of snow. So, when your lack of golf starts to get you down, plan a golf vacation. (Or just read about it here, and imagine you’re there.) Here are some top golf vacation destinations. Dominican Republic Bonus: not only do you get to play golf here, but it’s also warm and sunny. This could be a great mid-winter escape. In 2016, the big news in the DR was that the Playa Grande on the North Shore was reopened. It was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., and his son Rees Jones re-designed the back nine. The course features ocean views from nearly every hole. It’s an expensive escape, but we hear it’s well worth it. There are plenty other golf courses in the DR to choose from as well. Look into Casa De Campo’s “Teeth of the Dog” course, Pete Dye’s course. This course was also the site of the Latin America Amateur Championship in January 2016. Also, check out the Dye Fore Course at Casa De Campo. San Diego Golf Advisor highly recommends three courses in the San Diego area: Rams Hill, Aviara Golf Club and Maderas Golf Club. Rams Hill is more remote but has a pretty decent green fee, that makes it worth the jaunt. All of these courses are set in the hills, so be sure to actually head to the beach. What good is a vacation to a warm area without a little sand in the bottom of your suitcase? Austin While Austin, Texas may be on your bucket list anyway, what with its thriving culture, music, foodie, etc. scene, you may be able to kill two bird with one stone here. Austin was the stomping grounds of a few golf icons, like Crenshaw, Penick and Spieth. The Austin Country Club, which hosted the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play, is a great club to try. Other courses to check out: Barton Creek, Fazio Canyons and Fazio Foothills. Hilton Head, SC Fit in the sights of miles and miles of beaches, with a little golf on the side. South Carolina could be a great vacation for the whole family, not just you and your buddies. The Oyster Reef Golf Club in Hilton Head is part of the Heritage Golf Collection. There’s another Robert Trent Jones Course at the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Course. Check out the Kiawah’s Ocean Course, the re-opened Ocean Course at the Sea Pines Resort, and more. Phoenix/ Scotsdale, AZ While this area of the country might be slightly drier than most, it still boasts some spectacular golf courses. The newest course is Wickenburg Ranch, opened in 2014. Other courses have seen renovations too. The gold course at the Wigwam Resort saw a renovation by Tom Lehman, to the Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed course. Plan a golf vacation with your buddies, or plan a warm getaway with your family. Either way there are plenty of golf courses that aren’t covered in snow year-round for you to explore.
January 10, 2017 — Natalie Montoya

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