La Jolla, Calif., 20 minutes north of downtown San Diego.
Best time to go: May, when the sun is warm, the breeze cool and the course is still lush from winter weather.
The appeal: The north and south courses are built on bluffs offering glorious views of the Pacific Ocean. You'll walk the same courses dominated annually by Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods during the PGA's Farmers Insurance Open.
The sweet spot: The Torrey Pines Hilton adjacent to the course offers rooms with ocean views, tennis courts, a heated pool, outdoor whirlpool, putting green and yes, a full-service spa. The Torreyana Grille serves California cuisine (think pan-seared white sea bass with garlic herb fries) by night and an energy-loading, pre-golf breakfast buffet. Take a break from golf to hike the bluffs down to Black's Beach.
-Tom Maloney is The Globe's sports editor.
FAIRMONT JASPER PARK LODGE
Jasper National Park, Alta.
Best time to go: July or August
The appeal: A Rocky Mountain masterpiece copied around the world since its opening in 1926, the resort's Stanley Thompson layout features greens aligned with distant mountains and bunkers whimsically patterned after the snow formations on their peaks. The only thing missing from this iconic Canadian setting is a red-coated Mountie standing on guard at the first tee.
The sweet spot: End the day with a sunset stroll around lovely Lac Beauvert, followed by a thick bison steak and an Okanagan red in the dining room.
- Brian Kendall is a golf travel writer.
HALF MOON BAY RITZ CARLTON
Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Best time to go: In the fall, when the heat drops; the days are warm and the salty breezes off the ocean are invigorating.
The appeal: The setting on the point south of famous Half Moon Bay is stunning with beaches and whale watching and two golf courses that end at the doors of the resort. The Arnold Palmer design is parkland style, while the Ocean design is a links layout.
The sweet spot: Sit on the cliffs at sunset watching the ocean, sipping a fine Napa cab, wondering what Jack London, Half Moon Bay's famous son, would say.
-Bruce Dowbiggin writes about hockey for The Globe and golfs in his spare time.
Best time to go: May to August.
The appeal: The wow factor is the back nine of this Graham Cooke-designed 18-hole championship golf course (a blend of Scottish links and traditional parkland golf), featuring breathtaking views of the Northumberland shoreline. When playing the 16th hole, tee off from the back tees to experience one of the most impressive views from a tee box. Take your best swing and see if you can reach Tiger Woods's longest drive here - a plaque in the ground commemorates where his ball eventually stopped.
The sweet spot: After indulging in one of the signature spa treatments, enjoy seasonally inspired menus showcasing the best of local fare - or retire to one of the luxuriously appointed manor-style guest houses.
- John Marchesan is editor of Golfcanada.ca.Report Typo/Error
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