Florida, the Sunshine State, is not just famous for its beautiful beaches and theme parks; it is also a golfer’s paradise. With a perfect climate year-round, Florida offers some of the finest golf courses in the United States.
Whether you’re an avid golfer or just looking to enjoy a leisurely round of golf, Florida has something to offer for everyone.
Why Florida Is a Golfing Paradise
Florida’s unique combination of climate, natural beauty, and world-class golf courses make it a golfing paradise. It caters to golfers of all skill levels, offering a diverse range of golfing experiences.
Top 10 Golf Courses in Florida
Florida, with its endless stretches of pristine beaches and renowned theme parks, is a destination that beckons travelers from around the world. Yet, beyond the sun and surf, this sunshine state has another secret it’s eager to share with avid golf enthusiasts and leisurely players alike – an exceptional collection of golf courses.
In this guide, we’ll go into the top 10 golf courses that make Florida a golfer’s paradise:
- TPC Sawgrass
- Streamsong Resort
- Trump National Doral Miami
- Innisbrook Resort
- The Breakers Ocean Course
- Bay Hill Club & Lodge
- PGA National Resort
- Seminole Golf Club
- Streamsong Red
- Old Course at Broken Sound
From iconic challenges to hidden gems, Florida’s golfing landscape offers a diverse range of experiences against the backdrop of its year-round perfect weather. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just beginning your golfing journey, Florida’s fairways have something extraordinary in store for you.
1. TPC Sawgrass
TPC Sawgrass, often dubbed the “Stadium Course,” is an iconic golfing destination located in the charming Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Its claim to fame is undeniable, as it stands as one of the most recognized and celebrated golf courses globally. The course plays host to one of golf’s most prestigious events, The Players Championship, bringing the world’s best golfers to its doorstep.
What sets TPC Sawgrass apart is its awe-inspiring 17th hole – an island green that has been the source of triumphs and heartbreaks for professional and amateur golfers alike. This infamous hole requires a precise and confident shot across the water to reach the green. It’s a challenging and exhilarating experience that every golfer dreams of conquering. A visit to TPC Sawgrass is nothing short of a golfing pilgrimage, offering not only a memorable round of golf but a chance to walk in the footsteps of golfing legends.
2. Streamsong Resort
Streamsong Resort is a golfer’s dream nestled in the heart of Florida. What sets it apart is the trifecta of world-class courses designed by some of the most renowned architects in the industry. These courses are not just challenging; they are a visual masterpiece.
The Streamsong Black is a jewel in its crown and consistently ranks as one of the best public courses in the country. It offers a unique experience with dramatic elevation changes, sprawling bunkers, and breathtaking views across the landscape. Each hole at Streamsong Black is a work of art, making it a must-play for golf enthusiasts looking for both challenge and beauty.
But Streamsong Resort isn’t just about golf. It’s an oasis of relaxation and luxury, boasting upscale accommodations, fine dining, and a spa, making it a hidden gem not just for golfers but for those looking for an all-encompassing escape in Florida.
3. Trump National Doral Miami
Trump National Doral Miami is a golfer’s paradise with a reputation that precedes itself. Situated in Miami, this resort offers a staggering five distinct golf courses, each with its own set of unique challenges and natural beauty. The most famous among them is the Blue Monster, a name that resonates across the golfing world.
The Blue Monster has been the stage for numerous PGA Tour events, and it’s easy to see why. With its long fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and the lure of water hazards, it’s a true test of a golfer’s skill and composure. The iconic 18th hole stands as a testament to the Blue Monster’s legacy, where a precise approach shot is needed to navigate the lake guarding the green.
The resort itself offers an array of amenities, from luxurious accommodations to fine dining and a world-class spa. Trump National Doral Miami is not just a golf destination; it’s a complete and opulent golfing experience, showcasing the very best that Florida has to offer.
4. Innisbrook Resort
Nestled in the charming city of Tampa, Innisbrook Resort is a golfing oasis that beckons both avid golfers and those in pursuit of serene relaxation. What sets this resort apart is its crown jewel – the Copperhead Course. This course is no stranger to the limelight, as it annually hosts the prestigious Valspar Championship, drawing some of the world’s top golfing talents.
The Copperhead Course offers golfers a tantalizing blend of challenges. With undulating fairways, cleverly positioned bunkers, and the ever-present threat of water hazards, it’s a course that demands strategic precision and a deft touch. The signature hole, the daunting “Snake Pit,” is a series of holes (16th, 17th, and 18th) known for their difficulty, providing a thrilling climax to any round.
But Innisbrook Resort isn’t just about golf; it’s an all-encompassing experience. Guests can revel in the luxury of spacious accommodations, dine in style at the resort’s restaurants, and unwind at the tranquil spa. The resort’s picturesque setting adds to the overall serenity, making it a haven for golfers and relaxation seekers alike.
5. The Breakers Ocean Course
For golfers seeking an extraordinary blend of golfing challenge and aesthetic beauty, The Breakers Ocean Course in Palm Beach is a must-play destination. This historic course offers golfers something truly unique – a round of golf that unfolds against the backdrop of the stunning Atlantic Ocean.
As you step onto the first tee, the Atlantic Ocean stretches out before you, creating a breathtaking scene that sets the tone for a memorable round. The course, originally designed in the late 19th century, underwent extensive renovations to bring it to its present form, combining tradition with modern golfing demands.
The Ocean Course, while visually captivating, is not for the faint of heart. It’s a challenging layout with narrow fairways and subtle undulations that demand precise ball placement. The ocean winds, ever-shifting and unpredictable, add another layer of complexity to the game. For golfers who appreciate a blend of history, challenge, and sheer beauty, The Breakers Ocean Course delivers an unforgettable experience.
6. Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Bay Hill Club & Lodge, located in Orlando, is a golfing haven where the legacy of a golfing legend lives on. This club is famously known for hosting the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament that pays homage to the legendary Arnold Palmer himself.
Golfers visiting Bay Hill have the unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of a golfing icon. The course is a meticulously designed masterpiece, offering a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels. The undulating terrain, strategically placed bunkers, and fast greens make every round an adventure.
Beyond the golf, Bay Hill Club & Lodge offers first-class amenities. The elegant lodge provides comfortable accommodations, and the dining options are exceptional. The club’s ambiance resonates with the warmth and welcoming spirit of its namesake, Arnold Palmer, making it a golfer’s dream destination.
7. PGA National Resort
Nestled in the heart of Palm Beach Gardens, the PGA National Resort is a golfing haven celebrated for its iconic Champion Course. This course is not for the faint of heart; it’s famous for its challenging layout and is no stranger to professional golf tournaments. Every year, it plays host to the Honda Classic, a prestigious event on the PGA Tour.
The Champion Course is renowned for its intricate design, demanding precise ball striking and strategic thinking. The Bear Trap, a collection of holes from the 15th to the 17th, is notorious for being one of the toughest stretches in professional golf, ensuring that even the best golfers must summon their skills to conquer it.
Beyond its famous course, PGA National Resort offers an array of amenities. Luxurious accommodations, exceptional dining, and a state-of-the-art spa provide golfers with a complete and memorable experience.
8. Seminole Golf Club
Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach stands as one of the most prestigious and exclusive private golf clubs in the state of Florida. Its exclusivity is not just about privacy; it’s also about preserving the tradition and essence of the game.
The course itself is a masterpiece, designed by the legendary Donald Ross. It’s an example of classic golf course architecture, offering golfers a glimpse into the past and the heritage of the sport. The fairways are meticulously maintained, the greens are slick, and the bunkers are strategically placed.
Access to Seminole Golf Club is a privilege reserved for members and their guests, and it’s often considered an elite golfing experience like no other. For those lucky enough to step onto its hallowed grounds, they get to embrace the essence of golf’s heritage while experiencing the highest standards of service and facilities.
9. Streamsong Red
Streamsong Resort’s Red Course is the other gem in the Streamsong crown. While Streamsong Black often takes the limelight, the Red Course offers a unique and equally impressive golfing experience.
What sets the Red Course apart is its distinctive design and layout. Architect Bill Coore designed it to provide golfers with a different set of challenges and aesthetics. The course is known for its expansive waste bunkers, rolling terrain, and striking natural landscapes.
Playing the Red Course at Streamsong Resort is like exploring a work of art. It’s a testament to the fact that golf can be both challenging and visually captivating. For those who have had the privilege of playing both the Black and Red Courses at Streamsong, they understand the resort’s reputation as a golfer’s paradise.
10. Old Course at Broken Sound
Nestled in the beautiful city of Boca Raton, the Old Course at Broken Sound offers a golfing experience that is both classic and timeless. It’s a favorite among those who appreciate the historical charm of the game and traditional golfing values.
What makes the Old Course special is its meticulously manicured fairways and challenging layout. It provides a taste of traditional golf amidst Florida’s modern golfing offerings. The course is designed to engage a golfer’s strategic thinking, demanding precision and finesse.
Playing at the Old Course is like stepping back in time while still enjoying the modern amenities and beautiful surroundings. It’s a classic golfing experience that celebrates the essence of the sport, making it a favorite among golf traditionalists and those who appreciate the enduring allure of the game.
Tips for Playing Golf in Florida
Florida’s inviting climate and world-class golf courses make it an ideal destination for golf enthusiasts. However, to ensure a pleasant and safe golfing experience in the Sunshine State, it’s essential to keep a few key tips in mind:
- Stay Hydrated: Florida’s tropical climate can be both an advantage and a challenge. The heat and humidity, especially during the summer months, can be intense. To combat dehydration and maintain your energy levels on the course, it’s crucial to stay well-hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your round and consider bringing a refillable water bottle with you. Many courses also provide water stations, so take advantage of them.
- Wear Sunscreen: With abundant sunshine, it’s essential to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before you tee off. Don’t forget to reapply it during your round, especially if you’re playing an extended game. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can also provide additional protection.
- Be Prepared for Afternoon Rain: Florida is known for its afternoon rain showers, especially during the summer months. To avoid getting caught in a sudden downpour, plan your tee times accordingly. Morning rounds are often your best bet for avoiding rain, but if you must play in the afternoon, be sure to carry rain gear and an umbrella in your golf bag. Many courses will provide weather updates, so stay informed and be prepared.
- Plan Tee Times and Accommodations in Advance: Florida’s popularity as a golf destination means that many courses can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. To secure your preferred tee times, it’s advisable to book your rounds well in advance. Additionally, if you’re traveling from out of town, make hotel reservations early to ensure you have a comfortable place to stay near your chosen golf courses.
- Dress Appropriately: Golf courses in Florida typically have a dress code, which often includes collared shirts, tailored shorts or pants, and soft-spiked golf shoes. Before your round, check the specific dress code for the course you’re playing, and be sure to adhere to it.
- Practice Insect Safety: Florida’s warm and humid climate is also a haven for insects, particularly mosquitoes. To protect yourself from bug bites, consider using insect repellent before your round. Some courses may offer bug spray for their guests, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own.
By following these tips, you can make the most of your golfing experience in Florida while staying comfortable, safe, and well-prepared for the unique challenges and opportunities that the Sunshine State’s golf courses offer.
In conclusion, Florida’s top golf courses offer a wide range of experiences, from iconic challenges to hidden gems. The Sunshine State’s unique blend of natural beauty, diverse courses, and perfect weather make it a premier golfing destination.