If you’re looking for an excuse to escape Ottawa’s bitter cold this winter and you love the links, here are nine top golf destinations to get you out of the cold.

Think sun, freshly mowed grass, the whack of club on tee and stress-free days as you forget about the frozen north for a time.

In the Caribbean

Abaco Club, Bahamas: You can’t beat the enticing mixture of blue and green as this course hugs the beach next to crystal clear waters. This Scottish-style course was designed by golf architects Donnie Steel and Tom Mackenzie and makes the most of its seaside locale. The club is private, but there are rental villas on the property and guests can play the course.

The Ocean Club, Bahamas: Stretching along the Paradise Island peninsula, this club also offers striking ocean views. Designed by Tom Weiskopf, the course is meant to integrate into the natural landscape and the crosswinds will challenge even experienced players. A private club, guests of the Four Seasons Resorts & Hotels are able to use it.

Mid Ocean Club, Bermuda: This nearly century-old course is recognized as the best golf course on Bermuda and consistently rates high among the world’s golf courses. Built in 1921 and modified in the 1950s, it has attracted world leaders and royalty. Another private club, visitors can play the course mid-week, depending on availability.

The Tryall Club, Jamaica: Rated one of the Caribbean’s finest, The Tryall Club is set on 2,200 acres built around a 17th-century sugar plantation. Major pluses are the coastline and the landscape’s natural features. Temporary memberships are extended to guests renting Tryall villas.

Sandy Lane, Barbados: Barbados has three golf courses that are regularly featured in rankings of Caribbean courses and two of them are at the Sandy Lane resort – The Green Monkey and Country Club. This luxury golf resort boasts natural beauty and stunning views. The Green Monkey was carved from an old stone quarry and is exclusive to resort guests while the Country Club is a golfer’s paradise.

Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic: This resort offers three courses by an award-winning designer, Pete Dye, and includes the course that regularly ranks No. 1 in the Caribbean (and in the top 50 courses worldwide) – Teeth of the Dog.

United States

We could go on forever listing top golf spots in the U.S. Instead, here are three from a few of the warmer states: Florida, South Carolina and California.

Florida: With more than 1,000 courses to choose from, listing just one is not easy. One of the best rated is Seminole, at Juno Beach, but since you’d have to befriend a member to play there, try No. 2 on the list of top Florida courses: TPC Sawgrass Stadium. It’s signature 17th hole is likely the most photographed in the U.S.

South Carolina: While Hilton Head may be more familiar to snowbirds, the Ocean course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is the top rated for this southern state. It offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean from every hole and the course is laid out in an old-fashioned way along the ocean. Course designer Pete Dye has said there is no other course in the northern hemisphere that has as many seaside holes.

California: It’s ranked No. 2 for California spots, but Pebble Beach Golf Links is too well known not to include. Besides, the No. 1 course is a private one. Pebble Beach is a favourite of golf legend Jack Nicklaus. It’s built along the craggy headlands that drop abruptly into Carmel Bay near Monterey.