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
    La Quinta, California
    Public/Resort
    4.4530352941
    678
    Indian Wells, California
    Resort
    4.7220941176
    280
    La Quinta, California
    Public/Resort
    4.5305
    612
    Palm Desert, California
    Resort
    4.2092764706
    1164

    Our top golf packages to these hot destinations!

    Golf Packages
    PALM SPRINGS, CA | Enjoy 3 nights' accommodations at Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, 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 $177 (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
    4.5218529412
    61
    Wailea, Hawaii
    Resort
    4.9242588235
    89
    Lahaina, Hawaii
    Resort
    4.3963294118
    174

  3. 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
    4.3535352941
    472
    Sebastian, Florida
    Public
    4.1373176471
    365
    Palm Beach, Florida
    Public/Municipal
    4.7345470588
    492
    Delray Beach, Florida
    Private
    4.4477882353
    171

  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
    4.4034470588
    2013
    Naples, Florida
    Public/Resort
    4.3034117647
    574
    Estero, Florida
    Private
    4.5870764706
    1325
    Fort Myers, Florida
    Public
    4.6462470588
    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
    4.5652764706
    476
    San Francisco, California
    Public
    4.4742705882
    320
    Bodega Bay, California
    Public
    4.5751
    444
    Pebble Beach, California
    Resort
    4.7917764706
    43

  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
    4.4692235294
    924
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Semi-Private
    4.3266882353
    823
    Orange Park, Florida
    Semi-Private
    4.5164352941
    628
    Elkton, Florida
    Public
    4.0626529412
    877

  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
    4.5986588235
    654
    Houston, Texas
    Public/Municipal
    4.3534470588
    345
    Conroe, Texas
    Public
    4.4705647059
    535
    Lake Jackson, Texas
    Public
    4.8502647059
    359

  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
    4.4068764706
    37
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    Resort
    3.7644352941
    39
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    Private
    4.6470588235
    69
    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
    4.7992352941
    182
    Gulf Shores, Alabama
    Resort
    4.7647352941
    405
    Muscle Shoals, Alabama
    Public
    4.2780705882
    36
    Opelika, Alabama
    Public
    4.6359294118
    67

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