Power Rankings: Top 10 golf courses in the first quarter of 2016

Masters Tournament week serves as a kind of unofficial kick-off to the golf season across the country. True, folks in the North might lack the blooming azaleas, but courses are open and getting better and better every day.

So with the meat of the golf season upon us, let's look back on the top courses for the first quarter of the year. Not surprisingly the majority come from the Sunbelt, especially in high-demand destinations like Phoenix-Scottsdale and the Florida Gulf Coast. The state of California is well represented as well.

We've selected one quote from a review that seems to typify the experience at each of these top-rated courses.

Top 10 golf courses for the first quarter of 2016

Scottsdale, Ariz.
What they're saying: "Views are stunning, especially at sunset!" -- Danielle4256497

Tucson, Ariz.
What they're saying: "I played both courses three times this week and they were a lot of fun! Greens are fast and challenging! Just how I like them!" -- Bikesandclubs

Destin, Fla.
What they're saying: "I think this course among the very best in Destin area." -- b1dance1

Brooksville, Fla.
What they're saying: "very memorable and challenging with plenty of elevation changes." -- rbkb55

Maricopa, Ariz.
What they're saying: "Southern Dunes has a great layout with many risk-rewards holes." -- Alejandro7496111

Brooks, Calif.
What they're saying: "A stunningly beautiful course that was in pristine shape from one through eighteen." -- Tommyllee

Borrego Springs, Calif.
What they're saying: "Next time, I'll spend the night in Borrego Springs. The course is worth playing twice." -- camschetter

Scottsdale, Ariz.
What they're saying: "This course is the benchmark for what a premium course should be." -- Wer2glfers2

Seaside, Calif.
What they're saying: "When I go to Monterey to golf I try and play either Blackhorse or Bayonet." -- goober61

Amelia Island, Fla.
What they're saying: "Very challenging, but not so hard a newbie can't have fun." -- Cahill17

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: Top 10 golf courses in the first quarter of 2016