Florida offers the best golfing experience and has more than 1100 golf courses that will leave you jaw-dropped with its beauty. Designers and architects have pushed the envelope in some golf course designs and created wonders that test the skills of casual and pro golfers alike.
Florida is home to many golf courses, but not all are accessible to the public. Some golf courses are harder to get into than Fort Knox, but it also provides beautiful clubs where the casual golfer can go and enjoy 18-holes on some of the best Florida offers.
1. TPC Sawgrass: Stadium Golf Course
It is hard to comprehend that most of Florida’s Panhandle were a swamp until TPC Sawgrass Golf gifted us its grandeur. Deane Beman decided to spend $1 in 1978 to buy the 400-acre property after taking one glance at the swamp. Three years after working wonders with the drainage, the Sawgrass Stadium public golf course was created and made playable.
Even the best golfers have been put off by Sawgrass Stadium’s famed 17th hole, which has graced numerous writings. The 17th hole wasn’t an island in Pete Dye’s initial design, but Alice Dye had another concept that led to America’s most famous golf hole. Most golfers leave Sawgrass Stadium with a memory of the 17th hole that is either good or…really un-good. 🙂
There are several exceptional holes on the Sawgrass Golf Course, including a stunning par five that necessitates a precise shot to miss the beach. If you are a heavy hitter, Sawgrass promises to be a wonderful challenge, and even if you are not, you will enjoy the beauty and peace of the area. One of Florida’s best golf courses is Sawgrass Stadium, and every player should walk its fairways at least once.
2. Streamsong Resort: Red Golf Course
A one-hour trip from Tampa takes you to Polk County, where the Streamsong Red public golf club is located. The Red golf course’s magnificent setting is surrounded by lakes and subsoil that rises about 100 feet into the air. Amid the goal of making the most of the property’s potential, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw planned to build a posh golf resort in the picturesque Bandon Dunes.
After designers and architects agreed on how to transform the site into one of the top golfing destinations in Florida, the 18-hole Streamsong Blue and Red golf courses were constructed at the same time. Streamsong Red is a touch tighter than Blue and has more water hazards due to its journey around the outside of the property. It also has spacious fairways and few forced carries.
The 9th hole, 321 yards from the back tees, is one of Tom Doak’s golf course designer and architect’s favorites. He claims this small treasure has one of the resort’s most intriguingly sculpted greens. Every golfer should take advantage of the opportunity to play 18 holes at the Streamsong Red golf club, which promises an amazing experience.
3. Streamsong Resort: Blue Golf Course
The greatest way to experience Florida’s most stunning and prestigious golf course is at Streamsong Blue public golf club, which is widely considered one of the best golf courses in the world.
As one of three excellent golf courses in Florida and on the top 100 list, Streamsong Blue is the one golfing experience that will bring a smile to any golfer’s face. The club is located on a sizable 16,000-acre piece of reclaimed land that was turned into a golf oasis.
Numerous golfers flock to Streamsong Blue golf club, eager to experience the golf. Streamsong Blue transformed the decades-old Polk County location in the mountain of Bandon Dunes into an exclusive golf resort that shines bright in its splendor. Tom Doak, a Renaissance designer, designed the Blue course, which is now on the bucket lists of many of the greatest golfers in the country.
Streamsong Blue has large fairways and not many forced carries, making it extremely playable and a big attraction for the average player. The Blue course’s layout is more open than the Black and Red courses because it is in the center of the land. If you want to enjoy the fine weather and luxury of some of the best golf available in Florida, Streamsong Blue guarantees to be unforgettable.
4. Streamsong Resort: Black Golf Course
Situated a few miles southeast of Tampa in Polk County, a 16,000-acre site became the project of Gil Hanse and partner Jim Wagner who designed the Streamsong Resort: Black public golf course. With two 18-hole golf courses ranked within the nation’s top 100 already there, successfully establishing another golf course was no easy task, but in September 2017, it became a reality.
South of the Red and Blue golf clubs, on a different section of the Streamsong property, is the larger Streamsong Black. The Gauntlet, a collection of eleven acres of the best and most stunning putting greens in existence, is located directly outside the clubhouse.
With its five par five holes, drivable par fours, and difficult par threes, the golf course tests players of all skill levels. Since there are few elevation changes, Streamsong Black is an easy walk. You can appreciate various green complexes and short holes before diving into the 18 holes. A different 9th green enables golfers to return to the clubhouse quickly if they are fatigued.
5. Bay Hill (Challenger & Champion) Golf Course
The Bay Hill public golf course near downtown Orlando was an orange grove, and a group of investors came up with the idea to create the lodge and golf course.
Arnold Palmer fell in love and bought the Bay Hill Club & Lodge after an exhibition match in 1974, and it remained his winter home until his passing in 2016.
Only Club members and registered visitors staying at Bay Hill Club & Lodge have access to the magnificent 270-acre course along the Butler Chain of Lakes.
The Florida Citrus Open, which first took place in 1966, quickly rose to prominence on the PGA Tour, and today, the tournament known as the Arnold Palmer Invitational draws the best golfers worldwide.
Palmer and his colleague Ed Seay significantly altered the golf course’s original design. After a four-month makeover with new bunkers and sand faces, re-grassed greens with flatter edges, and new tees, Bay Hill covered a whopping 7,400 yards.
These days, staying at Bay Hill Lodge entitles you to membership benefits, including enjoying a magnificent game on its world-class golf course. You will undoubtedly sense King Arnold Palmer’s spirit, which is inextricably linked to Bay Hill.
6. Seminole Golf Club
On Florida’s Atlantic side coastline, Seminole Golf Club was created by Donald Ross in the 1920s and is seen as one of the best examples of golf course routing because of its tiny greens. The private golf course has many strategically designed dune ridges, with some fairways leading to elevated greens.
On level ground, both nines at Seminole Golf Club start at the clubhouse before veering towards the 40-foot dune crest that runs beside the property’s western boundary.
Some of the greens at Seminole Golf Club descend from sandy heights to flatter terrain and are the course’s main line of defense.
Many greens are angled and narrow towards the back, making rear pin positions tough. Fairway bunkers are shallow for the most part, but flash-faced sand traps next to putting surfaces forces golfers to play cautiously.
The Seminole golf club was one of 18 courses chosen for The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses (and one of the top golf courses in the world.). If you ever have an opportunity to visit, you will experience a golfing paradise that you will never forget.
7. Calusa Pines Golf Club
Calusa Pines, designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, is a fantastic golf course, but you will need an invitation from a member to enjoy a game on its private tees, fairways, and greens. Calusa Pines golf course is 60 feet up on the highest land point in south Florida, and the 100 mature Oak trees alongside Sable palms and mature pines provide a golfing experience like no other.
At $150,000 to join and a membership of less than 300, it is out of most golfers’ reach, and not everyone can afford to play this exquisite course. Do not let the price tag discourage you because, with some luck and the right connections, you might one day have the good fortune to play golf at Calusa Pines and enjoy this high-end, exquisite course known to provide a golfing experience of a lifetime.
8. Mountain Lake Golf Course
Florida has one of the best-kept secrets: the Mountain Lake private golf course. Until it was listed on a website in October 2006, this unbelievable course went under the radar. Since the golf course gained attention, the Florida Best in state listings expanded, and the 1916 Seth Raynor Classic finally got its well-deserved spot on its ranking list.
Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. designed the golf course, and with a father who was considered the father of American landscape architecture, you can expect it to be something extraordinary. To view this amazing golf course, you will have to go to the Central Florida lake region, where the Mountain Lake is part of a small community that dates to 1915.
The course is considered a historical classic, and it took a lot of money and effort for Brian Silva to bring the golf course back to its former glory. With the aid of vintage aerial photography, Brian could rediscover lost Raynor bunkers and greens that were improperly modified over the years.
Considering its historical significance, the Mountain Lake golf course can now claim to be an authentic, classical Seth Raynor. With every tee, green, bunker, and fairway restored to perfection, Mountain Lake Golf Course will undoubtedly become a popular golfing destination once again.
9. John’s Island (West) Golf Course
The small community of Indian River Shores is home to the 3,000-acre barrier island of John’s Island, and the John’s Island West golf course is located a few miles south of Palm Bay. The elite club is home to a unique Tom Fazio design that allowed members to play on its tees in the early 1990s.
The stunning golf course will take you across gorgeous terrain, leaving you in awe of its beauty. Tall sand ridges that rise almost fifty feet from the property are a sight that makes other golf courses seem small in comparison.
To give the golf course a dynamic aspect, every tee and green are carefully positioned on higher terrain, while the fairways are routed over the flat sections. The Golden Age of golf course architecture extensively used the elevating tees and greens technique, which has proven to make for a memorable golf game.
You will need a member to invite you if you want to play golf on this outstanding course, which may be challenging for some. The West private golf course is sadly only accessible to a few individuals, but if you want to join them, it is worthwhile to give it a shot.
10. Indian Creek Golf Course
One of the most reputable golf clubs in America is Indian Creek Country Club, situated halfway between Bal Harbor and Miami Beach. It’s been said that the club is completely focused on security, and it even has a state police department with armed boats patrolling the island constantly.
It would be best if you had a member’s invitation to play at the William S. Flynn-designed Indian Creeks Golf Course, which is closed to non-members. With terraces and loggias that look out over the private golf course, the vast clubhouse is an architectural masterpiece constructed in the Italianate style.
The Indian Creek golf course is 6,600 yards from the tees, but it features several exciting long and short holes, including a par four that is 470 yards long and another that is only 309 yards. Few golfers will ever tee it up here, but those who do will immediately remark on its splendor, beauty, and perfect greens.
Conclusion: Best Florida Golf Courses
With more than 1100 golf courses, Florida is a golf course paradise. Most golf clubs are open to the public, and some of the courses enjoy prestige by being developed by well-known architects.
Florida has a few hidden gems privately owned and may be out of most golfers’ reach non the less there are enough courses to satisfy every golfer’s appetite.