Article by Golfbreaks.com
From Jacksonville right down to Miami, it’s the golf state that has it all. We are often asked by our customers, “what are the best golf courses in Florida?” Here’s just a few of what we think are the best golf courses in Florida that could be the perfect destination for your next golf holiday.
Built by the legendary Pete Dye on what was Florida swampland, the legendary Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is the ultimate golfing challenge, with water, waste-bunkers and even alligators lying in wait. This magnificent layout builds and builds to an epic, water-strewn Par 5/3/4 finish that strikes fear into the hearts of Tour Pros and hackers alike, not least at the iconic island green 17th. More than 150,000 balls end up submerged there every year… will yours?
Home of the World Golf Village, St Augustine, some 40 miles south of Jacksonville, is a definite must-visit for anyone considering the northern areas for their golf break in Florida. The Hall of Fame itself is well worth a visit, but it’s the golf we’re really interested in, particularly the King & Bear and the Slammer & Squire layouts. You’d expect courses where Nicklaus, Palmer, Snead & Sarazen collaborate to be worth a play, and these two glorious layouts will not disappoint.
Arnold Palmer might have left his mark at St Augustine, but it’s Orlando’s Bay Hill Resort that is the King’s royal residence. With three beautifully manicured loops of nine, the PGA Tour venue – close to Orlando Airport – is a perfect base for an Orlando golf break, offering luxurious accommodation and a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. The man himself lives on site during the winter months so keep an eye out for golfing royalty.
No resort in the world can claim to offer Signature design layouts from Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson (Tom, not Bubba), but at the very lovely Reunion, south-west of Orlando, that’s exactly what’s on offer. The Watson course is the most highly regarded, offering unusual elevation changes and colossal amounts of bunkering, but all three are great fun to play. And if it’s all going wrong, there’s always the Annika Sorenstam Academy, where you can work on your game.
Another venue with multiple courses, Innisbrook’s star attraction remains the sensational Copperhead layout, a long-time PGA Tour tournament host. It’s one of four at this excellent Tampa resort, and is famed for its lovely tree-lined routing and demanding tee shots. The Island course is now a close rival to its supremacy, having itself enjoyed a massive renovation in recent times. Accuracy, not brute strength, is the key, making it the perfect partner for the longer Copperhead.
As you might expect from a Trump resort, Doral is now bigger and better than ever. Located near downtown Miami, the vacation behemoth is a brilliant place to stay and play, with everything you could wish for onsite. The Blue Monster – another long-time PGA Tour stop – is the undoubted star of the show, having enjoyed a massive upgrade from Gil Hanse in 2014. It’s now longer and tougher than ever! With three more courses having been renovated, now’s the time to try Trump for yourself.
The Champion Course at PGA National – just one of five great layouts at this West Palm Beach venue – is another with a closing stretch that is infamous in golfing circles. The so-called Bear Trap (holes 15-17) has decided many a Honda Classic on what is officially the Tour’s toughest course, but these are only three of 90 magnificent holes at what is one of America’s finest resorts. A recent refurbishment has improved it even further.
Located on Florida’s aptly-named Paradise Coast on the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island is a truly idyllic place for a USA golf holiday. Close to the Everglades and Naples, we recommend the Marriott Beach Resort as the perfect base for your trip. It recently enjoyed a $250 million upgrade and offers all the amenities you’d expect, along with two quality golf courses in the form of the Rookery and Hammock Bay.
Two fantastic and completely different Greg Norman designs. The International is a links-style course with that classic outward nine before making the turn layout, whereas the National is a more typical Florida resort course that weaves its way through 200 acres of secluded woodlands, wetlands, and former orange groves. ChampionsGate is also the world headquarters for the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.
Republished with permission from Golfbreaks.com.