The job of a golf travel writer certainly has its perks, and 2012 was no exception. As has been the case for the past five years, I got to travel coast to coast, north and south and even across the border and the Pacific, covering most areas of the United States and a little beyond.
What follows are 12 of my favorite pictures -- one for every month -- from the public or resort golf courses I visited this year. In no particular order, each is special in its own right, and they're not all at high-dollar venues. I even included a couple of par-3 courses.
-- Mike Bailey
Mauna Kea Golf Course - hole 3
The signature par-3 third at Rees Jones-restored Mauna Kea Golf Course on the Big Island of Hawaii is one of the most beautiful holes in the world.
Black Mesa Golf Club - hole 18
Black Mesa Golf Club near Santa Fe, New Mexico is a beautiful escape.
Half Moon Bay Golf Links - Old Course - hole 18
There are few views better than the 18th on the Old Course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links.
Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
Threetops golf course at Treetops Resort - hole 6
Threetops Golf Course, the par-3 design at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Mich., is a delightfully quick and fun experience.
Pound Ridge Golf Club - hole 16
Pete Dye's Pound Ridge Golf Club in New York is as beautiful as it is difficult.
Courtesy of Jim Krajicek/Pound Ridge
Pronghorn - Nicklaus golf course - 13th
The 378-yard, par-4 13th is arguably the signature hole on the Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn Club & Resort in Central Oregon, a terrific golf destination.
Myrtle Beach National - King's North GC - hole 17
There's plenty of natural beauty at the King's North Course at Myrtle Beach National in South Carolina.
Walkabout Golf Club - hole 18
There are a lot of cool holes, such as the 18th, at Walkabout Golf Club on the Space Coast of Florida.
CostaBaja Golf Club - hole 15
There are ocean views on almost every hole -- including the par-4 15th -- at CostaBaja Golf Club in La Paz, Mexico.
Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course
Palm Beach Par-3 Golf Course is an extraordinary par-3 course with views like few others.
Big Island C.C. golf course - hole 6
Big Island Country Club has an entirely different look than most golf courses in Hawaii.
Courtesy of Big Island Country Club
Black Lake Golf Club - 16th hole
Black Lake Golf Club, which is owned by the United Auto Workers and is located in northern Michigan, is a real treat to play.