Grapefruit or Cactus? It's time to plan a spring training golf trip

Wednesday February 8th, 2017
Longbow, in Mesa, Ariz., is close to the Cactus League homes of 15 MLB teams, including the World Champion Cubs.
Lonna Tucker

Where to play, stay, dine—and catch a ball game—during MLB spring training.

PHOENIX

Play: Longbow in Mesa is a Ken Kavanaugh design with mountain views, strategic bunkering, good variety—and not a McMansion in sight.

Stay: Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West has three pools and restaurants, and is next to the spring home of the World Champion Chicago Cubs. March rates from $389.

Eat: For a Windy City experience in the desert, down a Chicago-style dog (poppy seed bun, pickles, no ketchup) at Portillo's in nearby Tempe.

Do: Fifteen big-league teams call Arizona their spring training home, but no club is more popular than the Cubs, who play at Mesa's Sloan Park.

PALM BEACH

Play: Host to the PGA Tour's Honda Classic, PGA National's Champion wows with the watery trio of holes 15 to 17 known as the Bear Trap.

Stay: Five championship courses, superb instruction, a 40,000-sq.-ft. spa and fine booze and burgers at Bar 91 are highlights at PGA National Resort and Spa. March rates from $359.

Eat: Tiger memorabilia and memorable cuisine are on display at The Woods Jupiter, a major-worthy restaurant.

Do: The St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins train in Jupiter, while the New York Mets call Port St. Lucie, an hour up the road, their Grapefruit League home.

TAMPA

Play: The revamped Copperhead at Innisbrook is one of the best tests the Tour pros face. Charl Schwartzel defends at the Valspar this March.

Stay: Ernie Els once called Innisbrook "probably Florida's best golf resort." Packard's Steakhouse, buddy-friendly digs and 81 solid holes prove the Big Easy's point. March rates from $166.50.

Eat: Bern's is a great American steakhouse, with a stellar wine cellar and a dessert room with nearly 50 choices.

Do: The Philadelphia Phillies are just 15 minutes from Innisbrook, at Bright House Networks Field, and the New York Yankees are a 7-iron away, at Steinbrenner Field.

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