MIAMI, Fla. -- It's the week before Thanksgiving down in south Florida, and the sun is shining, the grass is green and everyone is in tank tops (if that) on the running trails and beaches along the ocean.
So the turkey isn't the only thing getting baked on South Beach this Thanksgiving. Hang on to your sunscreen and golf clubs for a feast of a time in Miami all winter long.
Here is a front nine's worth of reasons why Miami golfers should be thankful this holiday season.
No city is complete without a knock-out municipal course for its residents. Crandon Park Golf Course located off the mainland on Key Biscayne is how Miami does munis. Residents of Miami-Dade County pay about half the cost of non-residents, between $50-90 depending on the season.
Before Lebron James, some of the world's sexiest babes in the world's tiniest outfits have been taking their talents to South Beach.
And you thought Tom Fazio shaped out attractive curves.
Either head down to the beach after golf for a little sun or go big in the clubs at night, a trip to Miami isn't done until you take in the sights and rhythms of South Beach.
The five-course Doral Resort & Spa is the hub of Miami's resort golf scene, home to five courses, including the newly christened TPC Blue Monster, which hosts the world's best each spring. Resident teaching professional Jim McLean also added his own addition recently, the McLean Signature course.
This is one of the country's fittest cities, and if you've got it, you show it off. That's why golf and fitness programs are all rave here. The Fairmont Turnberry Isle recently revamped its Willow Stream Spa and golf school to include a major fitness component, complete with the Pete Bommarito training program, the coveted Keiser Triple Trainer and bio-mechanical analysis.
Highs in the winter months still average around the mid-70s. And because many of the golf courses in Miami are so close to the ocean, it doesn't get too painfully hot in the summer. You won't get the brown, dormant grass at many courses either. The top golf courses overseed to be safe, and the Fairmont Turnberry Isle has paspalum grass that stays green year-long.
First, Shula delivered 17-0 football perfection to Miami. Then he ushered in the Don Shula Golf Resort. Between Shula's Golf & football resort, the Orange Bowl, frequent Super Bowls, the Dolphins and Hurricanes, few destinations mix the gridiron with golf better. You don't have to be a guest of the resort to play the course, which can often be booked last-minute at a discount.
Most golfers in Miami tend to have a golden tan with designer shades, and many clubs have pools that let you even your tan out after four hours on the golf course. It makes sense investing in sleek sunglasses when you need them 12 months a year.
Whether you're an ex-NFL star out on the links for the day or just a guest from out of town Miami, knows how to roll out the red carpet with valet parking and country club-worthy bag attendants and bar service. Five-star dining, luxurious spas and guest rooms are all popular ways to indulge in the good life.
With Miami and Ft. Lauderdale airports just 30 miles from one another, south Florida golfers are a direct flight to most of this hemisphere's top golf destinations, whether it's in the Caribbean - or to the west and north.
November 19, 2010