Power Rankings: Best courses and golf trips for May

Based on your ratings & reviews, trending courses in the hottest destinations right now
Maderas Golf Club, managed by Troon Golf, is a top "member-for-a-day" facility in the San Diego area.

We began publishing our monthly Power Rankings shortly after Golf Advisor launched in 2014 to give golfers the most immediate snapshot possible of how golf courses are doing coast-to-coast.

Starting this month, we've re-engineered it to provide golfers a wider spectrum of courses and destinations that are currently delivering happy golfers. We've gone back and analyzed our community's ratings and reviews in March and April in search of not only the top-rated and trending golf courses, but pockets of these courses that you can enjoy in one trip.

Looking at our springtime reviews - over 25,000 in these two months - we can see a mix of northern destinations starting to emerge from hibernation ahead of schedule, as well as some of the better southern destinations that still have a little bit of time before summertime temperatures soar.

The month of May is a tricky one to plan a golf trip in because while nearly all destinations are open for business, a cold snap in the north or warm spell in the south could make either less comfortable than you'd expect.

So here are the top-rated courses over the past two months, combined into ten destinations coast-to-coast that will make for a great golf trip right now. We want this list to be as actionable to the golf traveler as possible, so we've included links to not just the current top-rated courses but also some notable stay-and-play packages and deals. We've got 10 great destinations in many different parts of the U.S. and tee times for all budgets. Let us know where you're playing @golfadvisor and we hope you'll write a review when you're done.

  1. Las Vegas
    No. 12: Rio Secco, designed by Rees Jones, is carved out of desert just outside Las Vegas.

    Las Vegas Paiute, one of Golf Advisor's most popular multi-course facilities every year, every month, had another solid spring. Joining it are two trending courses, recently renovated Rio Secco, as well as Reflection Bay, the Jack Nicklaus design currently enjoying a nice comeback since reopening a few years ago. Vegas has a little higher altitude than other desert destinations like Phoenix-Scottsdale and Palm Springs, so it's summer temps are often times a little more comfortable. A bonus in Vegas, May is a great time to hit the sportsbooks to bet on NHL and NBA playoff action as well as baseball, and hey, why not golf, too.

    Las Vegas Golf Adventures currently has golf package specials to these properties, and if you get lucky at the tables, a VIP experience that combines the area's two most prestigious rounds: Shadow Creek and Cascata. | Browse Las Vegas Golf Packages

    Top-rated Vegas courses right now

    Henderson, Nevada
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Henderson, Nevada

  2. New Jersey
    The historic Stockton Seaview is the only golf and spa resort on the New Jersey Shore. Seaview offers guests an idyllic resort vacation, world-class golf and some of the best spa experiences on the East Coast.

    New Jersey was one of our top destinations to visit in 2019 and it's nice to see some area courses already earning strong marks early in the season. In Atlantic City, Seaview's Bay Course as well as McCullough's Emerald Links are earning high marks. Closer to NYC, Architects Golf Club scored very well, so keep that in mind if you're planning to be in the area for the upcoming PGA Championship.

    Top New Jersey courses right now

    Absecon, New Jersey
    Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
    Phillipsburg, New Jersey

  3. San Diego
    Carlsbad's Aviara Golf Club, designed by Arnold Palmer, has dazzling landscaping and views.

    There's never really a bad time for a San Diego golf trip, and the spring has been particularly kind to the SoCal coast: Aviara and Maderas, two top upscale resort/daily-fee courses, led the way. It's worth noting that Torrey Pines South is currently undergoing extensive renovation that requries carts on paths and some temporary greens, so this might not be the year to play the U.S. Open venue and instead favor the many area resorts.

    Top San Diego golf courses right now
    Poway, California
    Carlsbad, California
    Jamul, California

    Buddies Trip Captains: Golf Trip Genius trip-planning software is included in your GolfPass membership. Get a free 7-day trial

  4. Palm Springs
    Players Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort: View from #14

    The Coachella Valley had a great spring for reviews at courses both well known (PGA West) and Indian Wells, as well as lesser-knowns. Yes, as the calendar turns to May, temperatures in the valley will be hotter. But an analysis of our month-to-month reviews among top area courses shows that course conditions don't start to decline until June, and are at their lowest from July-October.

    Golf junkies should take advantage of longer daylight hours and book the Golf Ironman package that features three nights and six rounds of golf starting at $177/night).


    Hot Palm Springs courses right now
    Indian Wells, California
    La Quinta, California
    Indio, California

  5. Streamsong Resort

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    The three 18-hole courses at Streamsong all earned solid marks from reviewers this spring. As temps rise in Central Florida this month, green fees drop and the resort shifts from walkers-only to permitting golf carts. And yes, there's a great pool here post-golf, too.

    GolfPass members receive $100 when they book a Streamsong golf package, as well as at other select golf resorts coast-to-coast. View details and the full list here.

    Fort Meade, Florida
    Fort Meade, Florida
    Fort Meade, Florida

  6. Indiana
    The 15 hole at Purgatory Golf Club just after sunrise from the tees.

    Two casino courses near the Ohio River, Chariot Run and Belterra, are delivering excellence in spades so far. While up in the metro Indianapolis area, The Fort, Purtagory and The Trophy Club are racing out of the gates first.

    Top-rated Indiana courses right now
    Laconia, Indiana
    Florence, Indiana
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Noblesville, Indiana
    Lebanon, Indiana

  7. Borrego Springs
    Letting it fly at Rams Hill, a Tom Fazio design in Borrego Springs.

    Rams Hill enjoys lofty status in many of our best-of lists and power rankings. Its neighbor, Borrego Springs Golf & Spa Resort, has also done nicely with reviews lately. Both courses close for the summer in June (Rams Hill June 9th, Borrego Springs end of June), but May is still a fine time for this desert destination between San Diego and Palm Springs.

    Buddies trips can inquire about the "House on the Hill" package that starts at $300/night and features villa accommodations, and even an optional helicopter ride from San Diego.

    Borrego Springs, California
    Borrego Springs, California

  8. Ohio

    Michigan has more golf resorts than its neighbor to the south, but Ohio's golf season typically starts a little bit earlier and its public courses are very competitively priced. So far, several courses have gotten out of the gate strong in April. The Cincinnati area's Snow Hill CC and Elks Run are early standouts, while Cooks Creek (Columbus) is on a nice roll too. Maybe Michigan golfers should be heading south for golf in the spring.

    Top-rated courses in Ohio right now
    Ashville, Ohio
    Batavia, Ohio
    New Vienna, Ohio

  9. Atlanta
    View of the 6th green from the Chateau Course at Chateau Elan Golf Club

    Chateau Elan's Woodlands Course has earned strong reviews so far in 2019. Here's what Local Golf Advisor RettJ had to say about his round on the Chateau Course on March 28th:

    "I always like playing Chateau Elan golf courses. They course is always in great condition. Due to being spring, the fairways had recently been aerated, but it did not pose any problems as all courses must aerate in order to keep conditions nice. The Greens were great (quick, smooth, firm and rolled true). The clubhouse was recently remodeled and now is top notch, just like the courses ... The practice facilities are also excellent, and this course is home to one of the Dave Pelz short game schools." - RettJ, March 28th. Also near Atlanta, Barnsley Resort has enjoyed a strong spring season of reviews.

    Chateau Elan package offer: Get 3 nights' accommodations at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort and 3 rounds of golf at the Chateau, Woodlands and par-3 course.

    Adairsville, Georgia

  10. Alabama
    Gunter's Landing earns high marks in Alabama for value.

    Alabama is a great value destination, and that goes for courses both on the gulf coast and into northern Alabama, on the RTJ Trail or off. One of our perennial "best value" courses, Gunters Landing, is at it again earning high marks, while in the south Peninsula Golf Club is a sleeper near the Gulf Shores beaches.

    Best Alabama courses right now
    Guntersville, Alabama

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 courses and golf trips for May