Friday, November 21, 2008

The holidays don't have to be all about the kids and the in-laws -- throw a golf break into the mix and you could find that most sublime of combinations: 18 holes followed by eggnog! With Christmas one month away, here are four of my favorite resorts that combine distinctive golf with a cheerful holiday aura. Arizona Biltmore Resort & SpaPhoenix, Ariz. Local legend has it that Irving Berlin penned "White Christmas" while sitting poolside at this desert retreat that opened in 1928. Architecture buffs will love the only major hotel that was directly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, but golf architecture fans will warm to Forrest Richardson's restoration of the Adobe course, where Clark Gable once lost his wedding ring (it was found and returned by a Biltmore employee). The newer, hillier Links course is a fun holiday treat as well. Rates at Christmas start at $319 per night. 602-955-6600, arizonabiltmore.comThe BroadmoorColorado Springs, Colo. Some years it snows on Christmas at The Broadmoor, while other years it's 70 degrees and sunny. A huge plus to playable days is that you can tee it up for $100 at the resort's original 1918 Donald Ross design. Snow or shine, you'll enjoy the resort's Holiday Musical Show, which in 2008 features Academy Award-winner Maureen McGovern. Package prices start at $170 per person, based on double occupancy. 719-634-7711, The Hotel del CoronadoCoronado, Calif. Here's a bit of trivia: America's first electronically lighted outdoor Christmas tree was unveiled at this San Diego institution in 1904. The Holiday season hasn't slowed down since. Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners are celebrated in the hotel's historic Crown Room and among the other attractions are an oceanfront ice skating rink. Golf on the Coronado Muni course less than a mile away features glorious Bay views and a green fee of $25 -- that's so cheap, you can give away tee times as Christmas gifts.Rates start at $270 per room, per night. 619-435-6611, Boca Raton Resort & ClubBoca Raton, Fla. Architect Addison Mizner's pink-hued playground will put anybody in the holiday spirit. All the club's Resort course is missing is poinsettias -- it's a showcase for virtually every other type of flower, tree and shrub. A marina, a half-mile of private beach, Spa Palazzo and superb dining options round out the holiday offerings. Who needs snow? Rates start at $259 per night. 888-491-2622,

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