Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)



Winter Classic

The 7 best hockey cities for golf, according to former NHL players

It’s now the heart of the NHL season—with the upcoming Winter Classic on New Year’s Day leading into All-Star Weekend soon after. Puckheads will have hockey on their minds all throughout the winter and spring. If you’re planning a trip to a game in a warm-weather locale, you might be wondering if golf should be part of those plans. And to that we’d say: Of course!

Though some of the best golf can be found near popular NHL stops such as New York, Boston or Chicago, where golf is unlikely this time of year, there are a number of cities where your sticks should, in fact, travel with you. We polled a handful of former NHL players, including Jeremy Roenick, Darren Pang, Brad May and John-Michael Liles, for their favorite cities for golf. Based on their input and our editors’ insights, we’ve put together a guide of the best cities for golf on the NHL schedule.

Be sure to click through to each individual course page for bonus photography and reviews from our course panelists. We also encourage you to leave your own ratings on the courses you’ve played … so you can make your case for why a course should’ve been included in this guide or future ones.

7. Tampa Bay Lightning

A golf trip to Tampa can be as ambitious or convenient as you’d like. If you’re looking to play the best courses in the region and you're willing to drive 70 minutes, head inland to Streamsong Resort, where there are three courses ranked on our 100 Greatest Public list. One of the most highly anticipated course openings in 2024 is Cabot Citrus Farms, just over an hour north of Tampa, where there are two redesigned layouts, a 10-hole course and an 11-hole par-3 course. If you’re looking for options closer to the city when headed to a Tampa Bay Lightning game, check out these courses.

Innisbrook Resort: Copperhead
Private
Innisbrook Resort: Copperhead
Palm Harbor, FL
4.2
108 Panelists
The Copperhead course is most famous for hosting the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship every April, but Innisbrook is home to three more championship courses—Island, North and South—with views more like the sand hills of the Carolinas than you might expect in Florida. The Copperhead course is a tough ball-striking challenge with tight, tree-lined fairways and a demanding three-hole finish—known as the Snake Pit—that often makes for dramatic finishes to the annual PGA Tour stop.
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Vinoy Golf Club
Private
Vinoy Golf Club
Saint Petersburg, FL
Located on Shell Island in St. Pete and a five-minute drive from the Mediterranean-style Marriott Autograph Collection resort, Vinoy Golf Course was re-designed by Ron Garl in 1992. The course is open to hotel guests as well as members of the club and offers a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary where each hole is surrounded by vegetation, including pines, live oaks and a variety of palms.
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Dunedin Golf Club
Public
Dunedin Golf Club
Dunedin, FL
This nearly 100-year old course, designed by Donald Ross, is the former home to the PGA of America. The course has hosted dozens of Senior PGAs, and legends such as Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and Bobby Jones have played here. The facility underwent a restoration in 2007, and though conditioning tends to be iffy here, it's a great place to play if you appreciate history and have an eye for old-school design elements.
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Fox Hollow Golf Club
Public
Fox Hollow Golf Club
Trinity, FL
Just northwest of Tampa, Fox Hollow was one of the last courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. In typical RTJ fashion, there are plenty of water hazards and penal bunkers lining many fairways. The landing areas are contoured, with mounds creating a lot of uneven lies. The layout finishes strong at the par-4 18th, where water lines both sides of the fairway for the entire length of the hole.
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6. Dallas Stars

Coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2023 and again one of the best teams in the league this season, now is a great time to be a Dallas Stars fan. If you’re heading to see a Stars game at the American Airlines Center, there are plenty of great options in the DFW area to get a few rounds in. If you stay at the Four Seasons in Irving, you can play the longtime PGA Tour host TPC Las Colinas. Stevens Park, a quality municipal just outside downtown Dallas, is the most convenient option if you’re heading to a game.

Texas Rangers Golf Club
Public
Texas Rangers Golf Club
Arlington, TX
4
30 Panelists
The product of a partnership between Arlington Golf and the Texas Rangers, this MLB-themed course opened in February 2019. Designed by Arlington native John Colligan on the site of the old Chester Ditto municipal course, Texas Rangers Golf Club takes advantage of 55 feet of elevation changes on the property and boasts large undulating greens. On the first tee, check out the “On Deck” circle, where players can blast one last drive into the practice range before they hit their first shots.
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Stevens Park Golf Course
Public
Stevens Park Golf Course
Dallas, TX
3.7
21 Panelists

From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten: Stevens Park Golf Course, a municipal operation in a revitalized area of Oak Cliff just southwest of downtown Dallas, isn’t exactly a preservation of the past, but a celebration of it. The original design was by a pair of club pros, Jack Burke, father of 1955 Masters champ Jack Burke Jr., and Syd Cooper, father of Lighthorse Harry Cooper, one of those “best players never to have won a major.” The course was built on land donated by Walter A. Stevens and his sister Annie Laurie in memory of their parents, Dr. and Mrs. John H. Stevens.

 

Read our architecture editor's complete review, here.

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Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club: TPC Las Colinas
3.6
40 Panelists
This par-70 resort course hosted the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson for 35 years. Aesthetics are very high with several uses of very natural-looking water hazards/creeks that blend in seamlessly to holes. The Four Seasons feel is evident all around, especially with consistently good conditioning. Large green complexes put a premium on approach shots, and if the wind is up, this can turn into a difficult test.
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The Old American Golf Club
Public
The Old American Golf Club
The Colony, TX
3.6
45 Panelists

From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten: A decade after golf architect Tripp Davis created one of the finest replica courses in the country, The Tribute Golf Club on the shoreline of Lake Lewisville north of Dallas, he returned and built another 18 adjacent to it called Old American Golf Club. The two have same architect, the same owner, a shared clubhouse and a shared shoreline, but they differ in many respects. The Tribute, a compact core layout with returning nines, duplicates famous British golf holes. Old American, a residential development course laid out in loop design—nine holes out and nine holes back, to maximize holes along the lakefront—was inspired by National Golf Links and Shinnecock Hills, so it also looks linkslike, with some scattered trees. But there are no template holes on this 18. Old American is a Tripp Davis original. As befits a design by one of the more talented golfers among the golf architecture community, it features options and bunkers galore and holes that demand oodles of local knowledge. When it opened in 2010, Tripp told a reporter that Old American was, "the most strategic course I've done." Now over a decade later, I suspect he still feels that way.

 

Read our architecture editor's complete review, here.

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5. Carolina Hurricanes

It’d be a crime to keep the Carolina Hurricanes off this list. PNC Arena, often called "the loudest house in the NHL," is just an hour’s drive from Pinehurst, America’s golf mecca, and an even closer commute to three of the state’s most famous colleges: NC State UNC, and Duke. Play a quick 18 at their university courses before attending a hockey game or even an ACC basketball game—another bucket-list event.

Lonnie Poole Golf Course at NC State University
Located in the heart of NC State’s Centennial Campus, Lonnie Poole is home to the Wolfpack’s golf teams and their leading PGM and turf management programs—so count on pristine conditions. The Arnold Palmer design tips out at 7,358 yards and offers great skyline views of downtown Raleigh.
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Duke University Golf Club
Public
Duke University Golf Club
Durham, NC
3.8
52 Panelists
Home to the Duke Blue Devils, a top NCAA Division I program, the Duke Golf Club features significant elevation changes and forced carries over narrow winding creeks. The track also has a fascinating history—it was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1957, and it was soon honored as the host of the 1962 men’s NCAA Championship. Rees Jones, eldest son of the esteemed designer, played for Yale University in the championship that year. He went on to renovate the course himself in 1994.
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UNC Finley Golf Course: UNC Finley
Public
UNC Finley Golf Course: UNC Finley
Chapel Hill, NC
3.8
34 Panelists
Originally built in 1949, UNC Finley was redesigned by Tom Fazio in the late 80s and shortly after became home to the Tar Heels golf program. Host to numerous collegiate tournaments, including the 2015 NCAA Men’s Regional Championships, this challenging course has no shortage of bunkers or water. In 2023, Mark and Davis Love III, along with architect Scot Sherman, revamped the entire course, adding a new practice range and putting course for the UNC golf teams, adding five new holes, shifting bunkers and tees and giving the greens and hazards more of an old time, "Tillinghast with a twist" look.
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4. Florida Panthers

You don’t have to be an expert travel agent to recognize that an NHL arena in Florida belongs on this list. But the amount of decent public golf near Amerant Bank Arena actually surprised us. Fort Lauderdale isn’t a mecca of great public golf, but Miami is very doable from Sunrise, Fla., again, if you time it right with traffic. There are some great, historic tracks and luxurious resorts worth visiting—that are also under an hour from the arena of the defending Eastern Conference champs.

Trump National Doral: Blue Monster
The linchpin of the famous four-course complex previously known as Doral Golf Resort, the Blue Monster had hosted a PGA Tour event annually from 1962 to 2016. The fearsome layout was designed by Dick Wilson in 1962 and set the template for the modern south Florida course with lakes galore, deep bunkers and greenpads elevated above the fairways for drainage and aerial target golf. Several questionable renovations in the 1990s and early 2000s moved it away from the original Wilson look, and the design was lost for a period of time. Always intended to be a course presenting shot-making demands for good players, the Blue Monster was given added bite by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner through the creation of new slopes and ridges on several holes and the excavation of new lakes on the par-3 15 and drivable par-4 16 to add more excitement to the finish. But they wisely left the legendary 18th nearly untouched. Why mess with history? The changes were completed shortly before the PGA Tour took the course out of its annual location.
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Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne
Public
Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne, FL
Just 10 minutes from downtown Miami, Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne hosted the PGA Tour Champions for 18 years. The dashing Robert von Hagge/Bruce Devlin design twirls through the interior jungle of Key Biscayne with holes that bend around various saltwater lagoons. But the real allure of the location has always remained hidden because, for environmental reasons, golf course views across the bay toward Coconut Grove and downtown Miami remain closed off behind shoreline trees.
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The Biltmore Golf Course: Biltmore
Public
The Biltmore Golf Course: Biltmore
Coral Gables, FL
3.7
55 Panelists
This historic Biltmore resort features a par-71 championship course originally designed by Donald Ross in 1925 that underwent an extensive renovation recently by Brian Silva's team to reinvigorate this classic layout.
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3. San Jose Sharks

San Jose is one of our favorite places to fly into for golf. You’re about an hour away from great golf in nearly every direction. It’s just a little over an hour to Pebble Beach, which is always worth trying to get to, and courses near San Francisco or Oakland are both doable if you time it right with traffic. Brad May and Pang both called this one of their favorite cities for golf on the road. Even if you’re looking to play your golf closer to the SAP Center for a San Jose Sharks game, you have a number of great options.

CordeValle Golf Club
Private
CordeValle Golf Club
San Martin, CA
Located in the little known but abundant golfing area south of San Jose, the gorgeous CordeValle was a private club when it first opened, but is a high-end resort destination these days, with climbing and descending soft hills dotted by gnarled oaks. It hosted both the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur and PGA Tour's Frys.com Open in 2013 and the U.S. Women's Open in 2016, won by Brittany Lang in a playoff against Anna Nordqvist.
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Baylands Golf Links
Public
Baylands Golf Links
Palo Alto, CA
One of the best values in the area, Baylands Golf Links underwent a complete renovation by Forrest Richardson in 2018 to transform an old Billy Bell design. The old muny now has the feel of a true links, with rolling, wrinkled fairways, dunes, ever-present wind whipping off San Francisco Bay and even a few sod-faced pot bunkers. You'll find interesting ground movement and undulation on these large fairways and greens, plus some impressive elevation change for a municipal course.
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Pasatiempo Golf Club
Public
Pasatiempo Golf Club
Santa Cruz, CA
Pasatiempo is arguably Alister Mackenzie's favorite design. He lived along its sixth fairway during his last years. With its elaborate greens and spectacular bunkering fully restored by Tom Doak and now by Jim Urbina, it’s a prime example of Mackenzie's art. The five par 3s are daunting yet delightful, culminating with the 181-yard over-a-canyon 18th. The back nine is chock full of other great holes: 10, 11, 12 and 16 all play over barrancas. The storied course has hosted two USGA championships: the 1986 U.S. Women's Amateur and the 2004 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur. In 2014, Pasatiempo received a Golf Digest Green Star environmental award for its measures in dealing with drought. Today, water worries are in the past, in part because of a new storage tank that allows the club to capture and store recycled water.
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2. Vegas Golden Knights

T-Mobile Arena is one of the best new sports venues in America, and we'd highly recommend parlaying a trip to watch the Golden Knights with some golf (if not to just get away from the tables!). Though high-roller jaunts Shadow Creek and Wynn Golf Club are likely to be the first courses on any list of Vegas golf, we've chosen to highlight some more affordable options that are among our favorites around Sin City.  

Cascata
Public
Cascata
Boulder City, NV
One of the great engineering feats in golf thus far in this century, Cascata climbs up and down a steep, rocky mountain hillside southeast of Las Vegas. It's authentically Nevada on the edges, the barren areas akin to Wolf Creek in Mesquite, but its turfed areas, planted with date palms, ironwoods and willows, and crossed by endless babbling brooks, is something of a salute to nearby Shadow Creek. Cascata plays mostly uphill on the front (the ninth tee is 600 feet above the clubhouse), downhill on the longer back nine.
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Reflection Bay Golf Club
Public
Reflection Bay Golf Club
Henderson, NV
3.7
45 Panelists
A former member of Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Public Courses, this Jack Nicklaus design sits along the edge of Lake Las Vegas, less than 20 miles east of the strip. The routing features a variety of hole directions, effectively using the natural landscape to create a balance of uphill and downhill shots. The five holes set along the water make for a memorable finish.
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Rio Secco Golf Club
Public
Rio Secco Golf Club
Henderson, NV
3.8
98 Panelists
Rees Jones, known as the “Open Doctor” for his work on prominent U.S. Open venues, renovated his original design at Rio Secco in 2017. With the redesign, Jones enhanced the playability for the average golfer, creating many new tees and greens. A former member of Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Public Courses, Rio Secco provides exciting elevation changes and views of the Las Vegas Strip. And, if your round didn’t go as planned, the Butch Harmon School of Golf is on property to help.
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Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort: Wolf
Public
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort: Wolf
Las Vegas, NV
3.7
47 Panelists
You would never know you’re less than 30 miles from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip at this Pete Dye design, surrounded by barren desert and jagged peaks. In typical Dye fashion, there are plenty of risk-reward holes, including the split fairways at the par-5 sixth and the par-4 17th. The island green at the par-3 15th closely resembles Dye’s signature 17th at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course.
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1. Arizona Coyotes

When our panel of former NHL players were asked which hockey city had the best golf, Phoenix was the unanimous winner. We’re not surprised, as the Phoenix/Scottsdale areas is perhaps the most popular golf trip destination, with over 200 courses in the area. In the private club scene, Pang says Whisper Rock Golf Club, just north of Scottsdale, is his favorite golf experience anywhere, even beating out Michael Jordan’s South Florida golf playground, The Grove XXIII. In terms of public golf, we’ve gathered the best options that are close to Mullett Arena.

Papago Golf Club
Public
Papago Golf Club
Phoenix, AZ
Papago is one of the best values in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, offering incredible views of the nearby Camelback Mountains and downtown Phoenix. A recent $8 million investment into the course and the impressive Thunderbirds Golf Complex, where the Arizona State men's and women's golf teams train, have reengerized this municipal course that hosted the 1971 U.S. Amateur Public Links. The four-acre short game area boasts one of the most impressive collegiate practice facilities in the country with three acres of rough and fairway to mimic a variety of lies and a six-acre hitting area with 21 target greens and a number of fairway bunkers.
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The Phoenician Golf Club
Public
The Phoenician Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ
3.6
81 Panelists
Phil Smith redesigned an existing 27-hole facility at The Phoenician into a new, ultra-playable 18-hole course that winds through the Sonoran Desert. The par-71 Phoenician can play as short as 4,594 yards or as long as more than 6,518 yards. The back nine winds through the mountainside, providing some dramatic views.
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Talking Stick Golf Club: O'Odham Course
3.4
114 Panelists
The O'odham course (formerly the North Course) is one of two courses at Talking Stick designed by the acclaimed designed team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The layout places a premium on accuracy, with fairways and greens strategically surrounded by brush and waste areas and features a refreshing mix of long and shorter holes.
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Camelback Golf Club: Ambiente
Public
Camelback Golf Club: Ambiente
Scottsdale, AZ
Renovated in 2013, this beautifully conditioned desert course was made more playable for different skill levels, but at 7,221 yards presents a stout challenge for advanced players. Carve out some extra time for the first-class practice facilities, including an updated short-game area. Proximity to downtown Scottsdale makes Camelback a convenient choice for many visitors, and the JW Marriott is one of the best hotels in the Scottsdale area.
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