Many believe "The End" by The Doors is a song about death—they are wrong. In fact, the legendary song brilliantly frames the misery we all experience as summer ends and cold weather begins. No more backyard barbecues, no more rooftop happy hours or pool parties either, and soon we will be lashing away at our windshields with the dreaded ice scraper. Oh, the agony. Day after day, the skies are dark, the wind blows, and the temperatures dip below zero—this is winter. However, there are alternatives where warmth awaits, don't forget it's always summer or spring somewhere in the world. That's why GolferScore compiled a list to help plan your escape to some of the best winter golf destinations around the globe.
Colombia, South America
A burgeoning tourism destination, Colombia has gained notoriety within the best winter golf destinations category. If you're looking for a great golf vacation, Columbia may be the answer and the dollar is strong there. It's always warm in Bogota, Medellín, and Cartagena, and unbeknownst to many, the golf there is fantastic. The slopes, hills, and mountains in Bogota make for exceptional golf—in fact, there are 30 golf courses there. North of Bogota along the coast in Cartagena is one of the best courses in the country: Cartagena TPC at Karibana. Flights from the states are usually quite affordable. And for accommodations, tee times, and transportation, reach out to a tour operator such as Astro Tours in Bogota. Be sure to ask about San Andrés Golf Club and Club Campestre Los Lagartos.
People love Miami, it's like visiting a foreign country without packing a passport—the Magic City is an international city with many cultures and flavors. It's home to some of the best sunshine in America, and it never gets cold. Anything in the 60s and people wear fur and Ugs—true story. We're going to group Palm Beach County, Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), and Dade County (Miami) for simplicity's sake. There is Trump National Doral Miami, Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne, and Turnberry Isle Resort and Club—three of our favorites in Miami. In Broward County, play Jacaranda Golf Club, and in Palm Beach, be sure to visit PGA Resort. While there, be sure to stroll through Wynwood. Make sure to enjoy a Pan con Bistec at Mary's Coin Laundry. And you must visit South Beach (take a cooler, just make sure it's cans, no glass on the beach).
The Algarve region in the south of Portugal is one of the premier places to play in Europe for one primary reason—unlike most of Europe, where it's cold every day, Algarve is warm. In West Algarve, there is Espiche Golf, Central Algarve has Quinta do Lago and San Lorenzo Golf Club, and East Algarve is home to Monte Rei Golf Club. After the round, Portuguese seafood awaits, and entrees rarely cost more than 10 Euros—also try some medronho, a spirit made from the fruit of the Strawberry tree.
The Dominican Republic, Caribbean
The Dominican Republic is often called the Pebble Beach of the Caribbean—many say it's even better. The DR golf trinity: Punta Cana, Casa de Campo, and Punta Espada are quality options. Golf in the Caribbean isn't always amazing—golf courses there are challenging to maintain, and it's hard to keep equipment running (salt is a killer).
On the contrary, Casa de Campo is one of the best resorts in the world, with three courses shaped by Pete Dye. Its Teeth of the Dog golf course is a top 50 globally and arguably the best in the Caribbean. Seven of the holes on "Teeth" cozy up next to emerald ocean water. There are 45 holes at Puntacana, but it's Tom Fazio's Corales that gets all the talk. The finishing hole there, a 409-yard par four, offers the best views of the day, making for nice conversation at the rum bar. All things considered, the Dominican has plenty to offer those seeking out unique winter golf destinations.
Costa Rica, Central America
Golf or not, Costa Rica is always a good idea. Imperial beers in Costa Rica is like Budweiser in St. Louis, except Costa Rica is a hell of a lot more fun than the STL (no offense Nelly). La Iguana - Los Suenos digs into the rainforests, a truly unique experience. There's plenty to do off the course too. There are sloths, rainforests, volcanoes, good food, surfing, and jungle adventures. Costa Rica is an excellent option for those seeking value.
The wrath of old man winter is here, but do not surrender to the attack. Resist, relocate, and seek sunshine, even if it's for a long weekend. As Mel Gibson said in Braveheart, "They may take our suntans, but they'll never take our love of frozen drinks!"
Have a favorite winter golf destination? Please share in the comments!