Molly McMulligan’s Fab 5

Carefree winter weekend golf getaways

The snowbirds of the CGA are turning off their water heaters and packing their pooches for destinations southeast and west. Committed travelers already have booked winter weeks in exotic locales.

Then there are the rest of us, with obligations that keep us in Colorado but aspirations for an easy escape to snow-free golf. Here are five ideas for a long weekend or short week in warm weather.

Palm Springs, California: United offers three daily nonstops from Denver and Southwest one. Picking up an hour, we can fly in the morning and be on the golf course by afternoon. Snowbirds love Palm Springs for the scenery and the city as well as the golf, but for a long weekend it’s hard to beat La Quinta Resort & Club and its five championship courses, three restaurants and 41 pools.

Scottsdale, Arizona: Arizona is no secret to CGA members, many of whom have second homes in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Scottsdale, not far from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, makes for an ideal short golf getaway because its resort options are so varied. All of these have multiple courses on property or easily accessible, great restaurants, irresistible pools and maybe a casino: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Wekopa Resort Center, Talking Stick Scottsdale and the Boulders Resort Scottsdale.

Monterey, California: Golfers know that Northern California has some stunning winter weather because we’ve watched the whales frolicking during the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. We’ve also seen rain delays. Several airlines have nonstops to San Jose, about an hour from Pebble Beach, but United offers one daily nonstop from Denver into Carmel-Monterey. So watch the forecast and check the bookings at Pebble Beach Resorts for a last-minute bucket list scratch-off.

St. George, Utah: Utah, in the winter? Well, we’re talking Arizona border and only about 2,700 feet in elevation. So, while the nights and mornings can be chilly, courses are open and inviting, especially to Western Colorado members who can drive down to St. George in four or five hours and build their own itinerary including any of 13 courses. For an easy jaunt from Denver, take United’s daily nonstop into the St. George airport, which is a quick shuttle ride to golf resorts including Sand Hollow Resort, Black Desert Resort and the Inn at Entrada.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: Crossing the border just for a long weekend? Yes, been there, done that, will do it again and here’s why: Southwest and United both offer nonstops from Denver to Cabo that land at right around lunchtime and return flights that land at around dinnertime; there’s no time change; and, an abundance of all-inclusive resorts (Pueblo Bonito is a McMulligan household favorite) minimizes planning. Just make sure your passport is current. 

Veteran journalist Susan Fornoff has written about golf for publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, ColoradoBiz magazine and her own She became a CGA member when she moved from Oakland, CA, to Littleton in 2016, and ghost-writes as “Molly McMulligan,” the CGA’s on-course consultant on golf for fun. Email her at


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