Among many Canadian golfers the winter closure of domestic courses triggers an intense yearning for sunny fairways that never see a flake of snow. Moreover, there are oodles of excellent venues to choose from in climate-friendly locations where there’s something for everybody from budget friendly options to getaway spots well worth the splurge.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has 22 courses (more than any other Caribbean island) with many of them designed by legends like Nicklaus, Dye, Palmer and Fazio.

Also home to a slew of all-inclusive resorts, the DR has established itself as a prime golf destination where fairways often run alongside the ocean and where inland tracks enjoy a lush tropical environment.

Splurge: The Pete Dye-designed Teeth of the Dog (ranked among the top 100 courses in the world) is often touted as the best in the Caribbean. Located on the southeast coast within the luxury Casa de Campo Resort, greens fees here are in the $200 range.

Save: One of the best values on the island is the Playa Grande, a track that skirts north coast cliffs 90 minutes east of the resort town of Puerto Plata. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., it features a stunningly beautiful layout with 12 of its holes rimming the Atlantic. Often referred to as the Pebble Beach of the Caribbean, the cost to play this gem is a modest $60.


Barbados does not have an abundance of courses dotting its 21-mile-long landscape, however, quantity is never a measure of quality. Although island tracks have yet to reach double digit numbers, existing courses embody both challenge and variety.

Splurge: The island’s most distinguished course is the Tom Fazio-designed Green Monkey that’s part of the exclusive Sandy Lane Resort. Named for monkeys that came to Barbados on ships from Africa in the 1700s, the layout features plenty of ocean views and rock quarry holes. Only Sandy Lane guests can play the Monkey and rooms at this posh resort typically cost several hundred dollars a night.

Save: For a round that doesn’t break the bank, The Rockley Golf Course (Barbados oldest) is a viable option. It’s a pleasant parkland track that weaves through a residential development on the south coast and is nicely set up to accommodate players of all skill levels. Greens fees are $110.

North Carolina

With a varied terrain that includes mountains and seacoast, North Carolina is awash in courses offering enormous diversity. From high-end tracks to middling courses, the ‘tar heel” state has something for all budgets and skill levels.

Splurge: The Pinehurst Resort is ranked among the finest golf facilities on the planet featuring eight world-class courses. Situated 70 miles south of Raleigh, it combines a choice of superb layouts with stellar resort facilities. Greens fees range from $165-$410 depending on which course is played

Save: The Cypress Lakes golf club is one of the best kept secrets in the state. Located at Hope Mills south of Fayetteville, this championship-style course features impeccable conditioning, Bermuda grass fairways, bent grass greens as smooth as carpets and greens fees are $39 with cart.

Daytona Beach, Florida

The city that’s home to the Daytona International Speedway and arguably the best beach in all of Florida has more than 20 courses offering everything from premier tracks to good-value clubs.

Splurge: The LPGA is headquartered here and its complex features two championship courses. Both of these trophy tracks (Legends and Champions) feature exemplary layouts that can be played for $100 or under depending on season and time of day.

Save: The Daytona Beach Golf Club is among the best municipal courses anywhere. Two 18 hole layouts are challenging, interesting and conditioning is above par. Greens fees are $40 with cart and a mid afternoon rate dips to $25.


Jamaica was the first Caribbean island to aggressively pursue the development of not only golf courses but an abundance of all-inclusive resorts. Today, a variety of good tracks, many of them world-class quality, dot the island whose popularity was largely fuelled by its reputation for one-price, no-surprises holidays.

Splurge: Just east of Montego Bay, the Ritz-Carlton Resort’s White Witch course is a championship track carved out of 600 acres of tropical vegetation with most of its challenging holes providing breathtaking views of the Caribbean. Walk on fees are $130. This luxury resort is Jamaica’s only AAA Five Diamond property.

Save: The Caymanas Golf & Country Club is one of Jamaica’s oldest courses dating back to 1957. This well groomed parkland track just outside Kingston has hosted dozens of high profile tournaments and greens fees here hover around $50.

San Antonio, Texas

The city known for the historic Battle of the Alamo and its lively Riverwalk entertainment district has more than 30 golf courses with the majority of them playing for well under $100.

Splurge: Among its highest profile tracks is The Hyatt Hill Country Golf Club consistently ranked in the top 10 golf resorts in the U.S. With 27 holes of championship play, the resort offers stay/play packages and walk-on greens fees are $135.

Save: A good value option is the Cedar Creek Municipal Golf Course regularly rated among the top municipal courses in the country. Located 30 minutes from downtown, its layout offers plenty of challenge but is still suitable for all skill levels. Greens fees are under $50.

San Diego, California

Boasting a year-round temperate climate, the San Diego area has more than 80 courses spread over a 40 mile radius. The varied inventory has something for everybody from high-end courses to affordable mid-tier tracks.

Splurge: Torrey Pines is among the area’s top courses where two 18-hole layouts hug a stretch of southern California coastal bluffs providing stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. This is a municipal club where greens fees are $257.

Save: The Sycuan Golf Resort has been voted the local favourite for the past several years. It features two championship-calibre courses, a top quality golf school, hotel, spa and an adjoining casino. Owned and operated by the Sycuan Tribal Development Corp., weekday greens fees are $70.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

In 1994 this Mexican vacation destination popular among sun seeking Canadians had only two courses. Today there are seven and each one offers discount packages and twilight fees.

Splurge: Overlooking the city, the Vista Vallarta club features two championship courses that represent the best of Puerto Vallarta golf. Ranked among the best courses in Mexico, walk-on greens fees are $183 and at least six city hotels offer stay/play packages.

Save: The Flamingos Golf Club was the city’s first course and its 14-year-old renovated layout is a top choice for value, challenge and playability. A half hour from downtown, the track has well kept fairways lined with tropical fruit trees and the layout has just enough water to make it interesting. Not overly difficult, it suits all skill levels. Greens fees start at $75.

Related Posts