Behind the lens: Photographer Brian Oar's favorite winter golf escapes
With this wild El Nino winter going on, some of us are miraculously playing December golf in locations that should be deep in snow by now. On the flip side, other parts of the country have definitely shelved the sticks into deep hibernation, given the nod to dormant grasses and started a routine winter workout with the snow shovel.
So, whether you are enjoying wintery activities such as sharpening up edges and waxing up skis, or you're savoring an unheard of December round, take a quick look at my top 10 favorite winter escapes. This list is chock full of stellar golf, and hopefully this will help keep a small glimmer of warmth and sunlight in your golf outlook.
I like to think the following destinations are as good as it gets in the winter, and if you can possibly escape your winter wonderland, you should make the effort to get away for a few days of fun and sun! Even if you are not located somewhere with piles of powder, frozen tundra or bitter cold temps, my list ticks a couple of boxes of "must play" locations and a few "bucket list" courses.
I have even added a few inexpensive hidden gems that can be had for less than $50, and they still provide warmth and stellar golf. There is no better time than now to escape all that holiday hullabaloo and book a winter golf escape.
Cascata, Boulder City, Nev.
Camp Creek Golf Club, Panama City Beach, Fla.
Sky Mountain Golf Course, Hurricane, Utah
Torrey Pines - South Course, La Jolla, Calif.
Torrey Pines - North Course, La Jolla, Calif.
Oasis Golf Club - Palmer Course, Mesquite, Nev.
Puakea Golf Course, Lihue, Hawaii
Indian Wells Golf Resort - Celebrity Course, Indian Wells, Calif.
Streamsong Resort - Red Course, Fort Meade, Fla.
Streamsong Resort - Blue Course, Fort Meade, Fla.
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Pawleys Island, S.C.
Designed as a high-roller only retreat, Cascata sweeps you away into a lush elaborate fantasy land of golfing excellence. This is a bucket-list for sure, play at all costs! Brian Oar/Golf Advisor
Panama City Beach, Fla. is definitely under-appreciated, but there are some cool golf courses and resorts. Brian Oar/Golf Advisor
Tom Fazio carved out a real beauty at Camp Creek Golf Club. It currently ranks a top 10 course in all of Florida and is one of the best in the area around Destin and Panama City Beach. Brian Oar/Golf Advisor
Sky Mountain Golf Course in Hurricane, Utah is municipal golf at its finest. It offers an excellent round for less than $50. Brian Oar/Golf Advisor
SoCal luxury golf at the Park Hyatt hotel is a couple's escape to perfection. Oh, and there's a little track called Torrey Pines just across the road, too! Brian Oar/Golf Advisor
The Palmer Course at Oasis Golf Club -- the host course to "The Big Break" -- turned heads and helped define Mesquite, Nevada as a "must-visit" golf destination. Brian Oar/Golf Advisor
While there are no oceanside holes at Puakea G.C. in Kauai, Hawaii, the track runs through the epic "Jurassic Park" location and is an excellent value and alternative to the pricier resort courses. Brian Oar/Golf Advisor
The Clive Clark-designed Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort in Palm Springs, Calif. is a compact layout that's a blast to play. Brian Oar/Golf Advisor
Only 90 minutes from Orlando, Florida, the ultra-stylish Streamsong Resort rivals the best-of-the-best in the world. If you can play 36 holes a day, savor the minutes and time you get here. Brian Oar/Golf Advisor
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club -- a Mike Strantz masterpiece -- is another stunning display of golf course artistry and a 100-percent must if you are heading to the Myrtle Beach, S.C. area. Brian Oar/Golf Advisor