Pack your clubs, call up 3 friends, and get ready for a wild weekend in Florida. If Minnesota is the “Land of A Thousand Lakes” Florida is surely the land of a thousand golf courses. There are dozens of top spots to play a round, but we’re highlighting today the cities that are worth an entire weekend on the links. Fore!
Best Golf Cities in Florida
Challenge yourself on some of Florida’s most beautiful courses in busy, bright Orlando. Equipped with hazards aplenty and difficult greens, you’ll need to level up your game to take on Orlando’s top courses. Speaking of famous courses, one of the most prestigious can be found in the heart of Orlando, just 10 minutes from Universal Orlando Resort: Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
There are a couple more Palmer designs in the area, at Shingle Creek Golf Course and Orange Lake Resort (which abuts Walt Disney World). Just 10 minutes from Disney, Grand Cypress Golf Club boasts 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature golf. And that’s just the start of pro-designed golf courses in Orlando.
There are also tournaments throughout the year. The Arnold Palmer Invitational is Orlando’s premier golf event. A key stop on the PGA Tour, it brings some of the game’s biggest names to Orlando every March.
Miami is a city of hot days, hotter nights, and plenty of award-winning golf courses. Try a total of 20 award-winners and a stop on the PGA Tour’s World Golf Championships. Public courses include the Miami Beach Golf Club, right in the heart of the community, designed by Arthur Hills. This course is home to Jim McLean Golf Academy, offering lessons throughout the years. The club’s restaurant, overlooking the greens is a popular spot for lunch in a relaxing setting.
The Normandy Shores Golf Club is a sister club to the Miami Beach Golf Club. It’s distinct for its abundant water hazards and rolling fairways set against Biscayne Bay in North Beach. Set in a lovely residential neighborhood, Normandy Shores Golf Club’s restaurant The Grill is a popular dining spot for golfers and non-golfers alike.
Lastly, the 18-hole, par-71 International Links at Melreese Golf Course near the Miami International Airport has been around since 1960. The 135-acre course underwent a $3.9 million renovation in 1997 to include a 12-acre driving range and is home to the University of Miami’s women’s golf team. The challenging course features five lakes, nine waste bunkers, a cypress wetland and 97 sand bunkers.
Gulf of Mexico golf doesn’t get better than what’s happening in Naples. Between the everglades wilderness and the sun-drenched seashores you’ll find world-class golf here. Naples is one of Florida’s most popular golf destinations, seeing thousands of golfers every year who are either there to play or watch one of the many state, national, and professional tournaments hosted in Naples. There are more than 80 championship courses here, which allows Naples to have more golf holes per capita than any other place in the world!
If you like to play courses designed by the greats, you won’t be disappointed. Jack Nicklaus, Arthur Hills, Arnold Palmer and Robert Trent Jones each have a course in Naples. TPC Treviso Bay and Tiburon Golf Club are popular choices as well as the challenging Pelican’s Nest. Long hitters will enjoy the Lely Flamingo Course, which stretches to 7,171 yards from the back tees. It’s rumored that shortly after the course opened, a single-engine plane would often land on one of the fairways so that it’s pilot, Charles Lindbergh, could play a round.
Florida’s northeast coast is one of the nation’s most underrated golf destinations. A visit to St. Augustine will show you why. The nation’s oldest city boasts the World Golf Village plus the World Golf Hall of Fame. Add the island green at the TPC Sawgrass, and much more, just a short drive north on I-95 and you have a golf life that’s second to none.
Plan your visit around shoulder season (spring or fall) which means more agreeable temps and less traffic on the course. The most famous course in St. Augustine is the King & Bear, an oft-awarded track designed by Arnold Palmer & Jack Nicklaus, the course’s namesakes. King & Bear is a world-wide famous golf course with challenges only an avid golfer could face yet has player-friendly conditions that a beginner will enjoy. The courses’ location is as majestic as its design. Various ponds line the course, giant oak trees provide endless shade and the course boasts 7,279 yards of soft, short, and crisp grass that make for perfect playing conditions.
The Slammer & Squire Golf Course at the World Golf Village Resort is another well-loved course in St. Augustine and the surrounding area. Tee off from under the World Golf Hall of Fame tower clock and start your trip through this 18-hole and 6,939-yard rolling course. Lined with wetlands, untouched forests, and pristine grass, visitors often refer to this course as stunning.
Golfer’s paradise? Absolutely. Visitors flock to this Northwest Florida destination for its lush, green fairways, championship-level play and warm weather all year long. Sandestin Golf Resort is a fan-favorite with impeccable greens and extremely player-friendly set up. There are actually four courses on site spanning from the beach to the bay. Amazing views from every angle!
The Kelly Plantation Golf Club has a little more character with plenty of challenging holes for your group. Aptly nicknamed the Jewel of the Emerald Coast, Kelly Plantation Golf Club’s greens are as visually stunning as they are challenging and impressive. The semi-private golf club features miles of waterfront, wide fairways and well-manicured greens, making it one of the best golf courses in Destin.
Get out your camera at the Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club on the Par 3 #8. Wow! Stunning vistas will drop your jaw. Land and sea meet on the grounds of the Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club, and its pristine, natural setting provides a peaceful escape for golfers all year long. It’s one of the best golf courses in Destin for all skill levels, and the 6,894-yard, par-72 course is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.