Power Rankings: Best golf courses and destinations for December

What last month's reviews from our community tell us about where the best destinations and courses are right now in the U.S.
The 5th hole of the Stadium Course at PGA West, designed by Pete Dye and host of The American Express on the PGA Tour in January.

Golf travelers in the know are familiar with the sneaky-good time of year that December is for golf travel, or more specifically the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. The simple fact of the matter why is because most of us are tied up with holiday commitments with family, and only a precious few of us are able to finagle golf trips.

The result is deep discounts and wide open tee sheets at desert destinations like Palm Springs and Phoenix-Scottsdale which aren't at peak rates yet. You can even find better deals in Florida now than in February-March. And this is also the most affordable time to play golf in Myrtle Beach. Green fees are about as low as the summertime but hotels are sharply discounted.

We analyzed our community's reviews from November - over 11,000 - to determine which clusters of courses across the U.S. are faring the best right now. We have ten destinations spanning coast-to-coast - and not to mention the Hawaiian Islands. We've partnered with some of these destinations to offer exclusive golf package deals, and we've handpicked a few of the best and included them below.

  1. Palm Springs

    The Coachella Valley, according to reviews, appears to have a leg up on Phoenix-Scottsdale so far in the aftermath of October overseeding. Indian Wells and PGA WEst are the clear front-runners in La Quinta, but don't sleep on Shadow Hills North, an overachieving par-3 course.

    Trending Palm Springs courses
    Indian Wells, California
    Resort
    4.8091058824
    373
    La Quinta, California
    Public/Resort
    4.1596882353
    858
    Indian Wells, California
    Resort
    4.6124647059
    315
    La Quinta, California
    Public/Resort
    4.3843352941
    762
    Palm Desert, California
    Resort
    4.2349588235
    1401

    Our top golf packages to these hot destinations!

    Golf Packages
    PALM SPRINGS, CA | Enjoy 3 nights' accommodations at either Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa or Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, Indian Wells, and 2 rounds of golf at Indian Wells Golf Resort - Celebrity & Players Courses.
    Golf Packages
    FROM $247 (USD)
    Golf Packages
    FROM $327 (USD)
    Golf Packages
    FROM $327 (USD)

  2. Maui

    You don't have to worry about overseeding schedules when planning a golf trip in the Hawaiian Islands. The Plantation Course at Kapalua is officially reopening and already receiving reviews, while other island courses are shining, too. Our Rate to Escape: Maui Sweepstakes is still going on. To enter, get to reviewing right here.

    Trending Maui courses
    Lahaina, Hawaii
    Resort
    4.4597571429
    61
    Wailea, Hawaii
    Resort
    4.8474
    89
    Lahaina, Hawaii
    Resort
    4.209
    212

  3. Scottsdale
    Ultimate Itinerary: 3 days in Scottsdale
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    Ultimate Itinerary: 3 days in Scottsdale

    With courses coming out of overseeding, carts are off paths while rates in December are still typically lower than January-March.

    Trending Phoenix-Scottsdale golf courses

  4. West Palm Beach

    Thus far, courses around West Palm Beach have scored higher marks than in Miami or Tampa-Sarasota. That includes the fabled, affordable and oceanfront Palm Beach Par 3.

    Trending West Palm Beach Courses
    Palm City, Florida
    Semi-Private
    4.3776235294
    480
    Sebastian, Florida
    Public
    4.2271705882
    575
    Palm Beach, Florida
    Public/Municipal
    4.8307714286
    492
    Delray Beach, Florida
    Private
    4.3793411765
    248

  5. Naples

    This is Naples' time to shine. As snowbirds descend on their private gated enclaves and fairways, there are still some great public and semi-private golf options, especially closer to the more working-class city of Fort Myers.

    Trending Naples-Fort Myers courses
    Bonita Springs, Florida
    Public
    4.0597941176
    2397
    Naples, Florida
    Public/Resort
    4.1143823529
    733
    Estero, Florida
    Private
    4.3762470588
    1437
    Fort Myers, Florida
    Public
    4.7972285714
    510

  6. Northern California
    Fairways and greens are in great condition. Definitely worth the price without a doubt. Will be back for the 2020 PGA Championship.
    - Reviewer CRV122090 on TPC Harding Park

    NoCal, from Napa to the Monterey Peninsula, still scored well in spite of some troublesome weather events last month. Our winter golf package to Pebble Beach offers some off-season discount.

    Trending NoCal Courses
    Livermore, California
    Public
    4.5558176471
    584
    San Francisco, California
    Public
    4.2406117647
    377
    Bodega Bay, California
    Public
    4.6246529412
    548
    Pebble Beach, California
    Resort
    4.9885176471
    45

  7. Florida's First Coast

    North Florida scored strong marks in November, especially on Amelia Island near the Georgia line.

    Trending Jacksonville-area courses
    Amelia Island, Florida
    Resort
    4.3098294118
    1044
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Semi-Private
    4.3660470588
    1066
    Orange Park, Florida
    Semi-Private
    4.5707529412
    745
    Elkton, Florida
    Public
    3.6764176471
    889

  8. Houston

    Houstonians are buzzing over the reopening of Memorial Park, but conditions are still a bit raw. Never fear, resort courses on the metro's perimeter from Lake Jackson to Lake Conroe and Galveston are pleasing staycationers.

    Trending Houston-area golf courses
    Galveston, Texas
    Public/Resort
    4.6254823529
    745
    Houston, Texas
    Public/Municipal
    4.4565647059
    456
    Lake Jackson, Texas
    Public
    4.3788117647
    360

  9. Pinehurst - North Carolina Sandhills

    The North Carolina Sandhills had a strong month of reviews in November. The weather can get a little more hit-and-miss in December but bargains can be found.

    Trending Carolina Sandhills courses
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    Resort
    4.3430857143
    37
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    Resort
    3.5459142857
    39
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    Private
    4.6426
    86
    Join us at the Pinehurst Resort
    Experience the Home of American golf at Pinehurst Resort, hosted by Matt Ginella. View dates and signup details.

  10. Alabama

    Alabama is a road-trippin' state and one where great value exists from the north and the RTJ Trail down to Gulf Shores.

    Trending Alabama golf courses
    Sylacauga, Alabama
    Public/Resort
    4.7577882353
    222
    Gulf Shores, Alabama
    Resort
    4.7052
    488
    Muscle Shoals, Alabama
    Public
    3.9625823529
    37
    Opelika, Alabama
    Public
    4.8460411765
    68

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
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Power Rankings: Best golf courses and destinations for December