It’s hard to sink a six-foot put when your hands are shivering in the cold. Golf is a warm-weather sport, and come wintertime, warm weather has a nasty habit of hiding like a Titleist sliced into the knee-high rough at Shinnecock Hills. Yet golfers have a nasty habit too—they want to play all year round, especially in those frigid winter months. When the golf itch strikes in the dead of winter, escape the frozen tundra of your hometown and take a trip to one of these top golf resorts compiled by ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know that you don’t get a mulligan on a vacation, so you should get it right on the first swing.
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff sits along the enchanting May River in South Carolina’s picturesque Lowcountry a few miles inland from Hilton Head Island. The Bluff” is one of the wildest and most beautiful places in all of South Carolina, and the Inn at Palmetto Bluff embodies that beauty, combining charm and luxury to create a spacious retreat that will teach you to appreciate both southern hospitality and cuisine. But enough about the resort, it’s time to play golf. The Jack Nicklaus signature course at the May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff is a work of art. Meticulously laid out, the course weaves through centuries-old oaks of the May River Forest with several holes right on the waterfront. At 7,171 yards, this incredible course spectacularly blends championship-level design with natural beauty to challenge golfers of all skill levels.
Desert Ridge Resort and Spa – Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona’s largest luxury resort, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort, and Spa unites the elements of nature—fire, water, earth, and sky—into its overall design to let every guest experience the pleasures of the distinguished surroundings. When not playing golf, guests enjoy the resort’s Revive Spa, a stunning, two-story oasis inspired by water and set in the midst of the soothing Sonoran Desert.
The desert provides a dramatic backdrop to the Wildfire Golf Club’s two championship 18-hole courses. Each course comes with its own personality, for the Arnold Palmer-designed course is a relaxing, scenic affair with expansive fairways and oversized greens to keep your scorecard looking as good as you feel. The Nick Faldo-designed course, on the other hand, surrounded by mountains and century-old saguaro cacti, is reminiscent of the Australian sandbelt courses, with 106 sand bunkers to challenge all strikers.
Desert Springs Resort – Palm Desert, California
The Desert Springs Resort is the quintessential desert oasis. Two championship 18-hole courses, known as The Valley and The Palms and designed by Ted King of Waterscapes” Robinson, are set against the towering backdrop of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Robinson incorporated 35 acres of sparkling streams, lagoons, and water cascades to challenge your skills and delight your eyes. On both 18-hole courses, you can drive in one of the new, high-tech golf carts. From the comfort of your own cart, you can use the onboard computer to view graphic layouts of each hole, compute exact yardage to the pin, monitor the pace of your play, and solicit tips from the course’s pro on playing a particular hole—not that you need any tips. And before you tee off for the 18th hole, you can use the computer to order lunch that will be waiting for you at the Sand Trap & Wedge for the perfect end to a great round.
Kapalua Resorts – Maui, Hawaii
Kapalua is not just a resort; it’s a state of bliss that only Hawaii can boast. A choice of accommodations will inspire relaxation in the weariest of bones, and the three golf courses at your demand, The Bay, The Village, and The Plantation, may just inspire your lowest score ever. All three are set amidst Maui’s magnificent landscape, making Kapalua Hawaii’s number one golf resort. Each coarse has it's own the sense of natural style. The Bay boasts the most ocean panoramas, and lush tropical terrain, while The Village rises into the West Maui mountains, traveling through eucalyptus and pine trees, and alongside ridges plummeting hundreds of feet into deep green valleys. The featured course, though, is The Plantation, set on 240 acres of striking terrain, challenging PGA Tour players each January during the Mercedes Championships.
Your Vacation Caddy
On the golf course, your caddy is your trusted guide, helping you make the right decisions every hole. Let a travel agent be your vacation caddy to help you make the right decisions about your next trip. Travel agents know how to take the stress out of planning your golf getaway while saving you time and money, leaving you with ample energy to grip it and rip it all day long. A trusted travel agent can send your irons packing to one of the above destinations or to a number of excellent alternatives that fit your budget and exceed your expectations. For that’s what travel agents do best, exceed your expectations, through their extensive knowledge of travel and their personal contracts across the globe. Trade-in your ice cream sandwich for a nice, clean sand wedge.