The worst of winter is in the books, and with the Masters signifying the official start to golf season in just about every part of the world, we thought we'd look back on the first quarter of the year to find the top-rated courses by Golf Advisor users.
The early Top 25, determined by reviews on Golf Advisor between Jan. 1-March 31, has quite a few surprises. For starters, the No. 1 course rated by reviewers comes down in Mexico's Riviera Maya: Riviera Cancun Golf Club. Unlike, say, T-shirts and guacamole, golf in Mexico is rarely a bargain. Perhaps that's what has made Riviera Cancun stick out well above the rest.
"Of all three rounds (I played in Mexico), this one was the best!" wrote Fuzzer, a 10-14 handicap from Canada. He also booked rounds at Mayakoba and The Golf Club at Playacar. "It also was the cheapest (of the three), and I was given the royal treatment."
Coming in second was a course about as different as a course could be from the beaches of Mexico: Rural Ohio's Eaglesticks Golf Club in Zanesville. Apparently there's no need for peak season summer conditions in the Midwest for golfers to covet at a round at the Hurdzan-Fry design.
Meanwhile, there were a few courses on the list that would seem more predictable. In Central Florida, high-end, name-brand resort courses ruled the roost. Waldorf Astoria, Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton-brand golf facilities all cracked the Top 25. Other destinations that had multiple winners were Las Vegas, Florida's Tampa-Sarasota coast and the Texas Hill Country.
You can view the full list below:
Top 25 Golf Courses on Golf Advisor in 1st Quarter, 2015
1. Riviera Cancun Golf Club, Quintana Roo, Mexico
2. Eagle Sticks Golf Club, Zanesville, Ohio
3. Yocha Dehe at Cache Creek Casino Resort, Brooks, Calif.
4. The Palmer Course at La Cantera Hill Country Resort, San Antonio
5. Riverwood Golf Club, Port Charlotte, Fla.
6. Delaware Springs Golf Course, Burnet, Texas
7. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, Orlando
8. Oak Quarry Golf Club, Riverside, Calif.
9. Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
10. Rams Hill Golf Club, Borrego Springs, Calif.
11. Thistle Golf Club, Sunset Beach, N.C.
12. Sun Mountain Course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, Las Vegas
13. Champions Course at TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Ariz.
14. Vaaler Creek Golf Club, Blanco, Texas
15. TPC Las Vegas, Las Vegas
16. Hills Course at LPGA International, Daytona Beach, Fla.
17. Panther Lake at Orange County National, Winter Garden, Fla.
18. Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, San Jose, Calif.
19. El Campeon at Mission Inn Resort & Club, Howey in the Hills, Fla.
20. Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Grande Lakes, Orlando
21. Kelly Plantation Golf Club, Destin, Fla.
22. King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, Saint Simons Island, Ga.
23. Pine Barrens at World Woods Golf Club, Brooksville, Fla.
24. Celebration Golf Club, Celebration, Fla.
25. Golf Club At North Hampton, Fernandinah Beach, Fla.
A minimum of 10 reviews between Jan. 1-March 31 needed to qualify, making about 850 golf courses eligible.