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Tee off before spring ends: Best late-spring golf vacations from Palm Springs to Hilton Head Island

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

It's spring time already and the flowers are blooming, and hope is springing eternal.

Palmetto Dunes Golf Course
Palmetto Dunes on Hilton Head Island shows off its colors in the spring.
Palmetto Dunes Golf CourseAmelia River Golf ClubAugusta Azaleas

Who cares. Where do I golf?

If you're a procrastinator and haven't booked a spring golf trip yet, we're here to help. Here are some of our favorite spring golf road trips, and most of them are offering last-minute spring specials in some way, shape or form. We are paying particular attention to avoiding the rowdy, college, spring-break crowd.

Northern California golf

Spring in Northern California means the poppies and dogwood are blooming, not to mention the wild mushrooms. It's one of the best times of the year for one of the most beautiful regions in the country, with dramatic, rocky coastlines, great scenic drives and the Monterrey Peninsula.

Drink wine in Napa Valley and play golf at legendary courses like Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill, as well as Harding Park, and Poppy Hills.

Click here for California tee times, and here for California golf packages.

Hilton Head golf

Hilton Head Island, S.C., is too boring for college kids. It's a laid-back, well-mannered, well-ordered enclave of well-off people looking to play quality golf courses. It's the home of Harbour Town Golf Links and a number of lesser - though always well-conditioned and interesting - courses.

Spring tends to linger here, with colors bursting everywhere. Say what you will about the sameness of much of Hilton Head, its meticulous planners were adamant that there be green everywhere.

Click here for Hilton Head golf packages.

Florida's First Coast

That stretch of northeast Florida that includes Jacksonville, known as the First Coast, extends from just south of the Georgia border through Daytona Beach. It has already begun to warm up here, and spring is the time to go before the weather turns deadly hot and humid.

The First Coast is home to a number of good and great courses, like the TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, the Slammer & Squire at the World Golf Village and the Hammock Dunes Club in Palm Coast.

You can drive down A1A, the legendary beach road that parallels the Atlantic Ocean, and stop at any number of great bars and seafood restaurants.

Click here for Florida tee times, and here for Florida golf packages.

Palm Springs golf

Palm Springs, Calif. has some of the nation's finest, full-scale resorts, like La Quinta Resort & Club and its Mountain Course, and a number of fine desert courses, like the PGA West TPC Stadium Course.

You won't melt in the spring like you do the summer, with springtime highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s and 60s. You'll get to see all those rare, desert flowers blooming.

There are more than 100 golf courses in the area and nice resorts like the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa.

Click here for Palm Springs tee times, and here for Palm Springs golf packages.

Gulf Shores, Alabama golf

There are some terrific golf courses in Gulf Shores, Ala., including Kiva Dunes and Cypress Bend.

Fall and winter are busy here, but spring is a relatively sedate time of year, all the better to enjoy the golf and the weather.

Click here for Gulf Shores golf packages.

Augusta, Georgia

Augusta is hallowed ground when the Masters rolls around and the azaleas are blooming. If you're lucky enough to score a ticket, good for you. If not - or even if you do - there are more golf courses around other than Augusta National, like Goshen Plantation Golf Club, Mount Vintage Plantation & Golf Club and the River Golf Club.

Click here for Augusta tee times, and here for Augusta golf packages.

Las Vegas golf

Las Vegas is too grown up for spring breakers, and spring is arguably the best time of the year in Vegas, baby. Las Vegas' golf courses are usually in their best condition, and the area courses will have a little more space than at other times of the year. You don't want to play here when desert temperatures are soaring into the 100s.

There are "fun" courses like Siena Golf Club, great layouts like Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson and brutal challenges like the TPC Las Vegas.

Click here for Las Vegas tee times, and here for Las Vegas golf packages.

Orlando golf

Orlando, Fla. is a mega-golf destination, and spring is best. Believe me. I've been to Disney World in the summer when all I could do was seek out the next air-conditioned shop, no matter how kitschy, and in the winter, when I nearly froze my mouse ears off.

It has some of the best golf courses in Florida, like Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge, a mega-golf-plex like Orange County National and Grand Cypress Resort with 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus golf.

Click here for Orlando tee times, and here for Orlando golf packages.

Pinehurst golf

Pinehurst, N.C. is known as the home of American golf, and spring in the Carolinas is sublime, with the dogwoods blooming. With 15 miles of Pinehurst, there are 43 courses, including, of course, the six golf courses at Pinehurst resort.

Click here for Pinehurst tee times, and here for Pinehurst golf packages.

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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