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
    4.7579647059
    439
    La Quinta, California
    Public/Resort
    4.3479470588
    1105
    Indian Wells, California
    Resort
    4.5416647059
    346
    La Quinta, California
    Public/Resort
    4.2697058824
    946
    Palm Desert, California
    Resort
    4.2136176471
    1601

    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 $497 (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
    4.7541
    61
    Wailea, Hawaii
    Resort
    4.07865
    91
    Lahaina, Hawaii
    Resort
    4.1635764706
    253

  3. Scottsdale
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    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
    4.3223428571
    480
    Sebastian, Florida
    Public
    4.2442823529
    711
    Palm Beach, Florida
    Public/Municipal
    4.6626
    492
    Delray Beach, Florida
    Private
    4.1377176471
    331

  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
    4.3729
    60
    Naples, Florida
    Public/Resort
    4.3899058824
    910
    Estero, Florida
    Private
    4.2992588235
    1612
    Fort Myers, Florida
    Public
    4.2994
    511

  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
    4.6003058824
    682
    San Francisco, California
    Public
    4.1659352941
    420
    Bodega Bay, California
    Public
    4.5551294118
    621
    Pebble Beach, California
    Resort
    4.9851833333
    46

  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
    4.2131294118
    1187
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Semi-Private
    4.3089823529
    1287
    Orange Park, Florida
    Semi-Private
    4.4186941176
    850
    Elkton, Florida
    Public
    3.5478857143
    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
    4.5239411765
    877
    Houston, Texas
    Public/Municipal
    4.555
    480
    Lake Jackson, Texas
    Public
    4.5661647059
    371

  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
    4.5405
    37
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    Resort
    4.1795
    39
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    Private
    4.6764882353
    101
    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
    4.8635882353
    265
    Gulf Shores, Alabama
    Resort
    4.7567117647
    587
    Muscle Shoals, Alabama
    Public
    4.1269714286
    37
    Opelika, Alabama
    Public
    4.6514470588
    70

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