Florida claims more golf courses than any other destination in the world, with over 900 courses that will test every player’s skill level. The state hosts the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, PGA of America, and the World Golf Hall of Fame and is home to more professional golfers than any other state. And Florida offers golfing weather 12 months of the year, so whether you visit in November, February, or July, you can enjoy the links, as well as Florida’s world-famous beaches and attractions.
On the central coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Port St. Lucie has the famous PGA Village, with the PGA Golf Club, the PGA Learning Center, one of the world’s largest and most advanced practise facilities, and PGA of America Golf Schools, recognised as one of the best golf schools in the US. The PGA Golf Club offers 54 holes of championship golf by Tom Fazio and Pete Dye. The Dye Course, designed by Pete Dye, emphasises the natural environment and Dye’s uninhibited creative design. The Ryder Course, designed by Tom Fazio, is named after Samuel Ryder, the founder of the Ryder Cup. The course offers a wide variety of holes with a distinctive Carolina feel. The Wanamaker Course, which was also designed by Tom Fazio, is thought to be one of the best golf courses in Florida.
Other notable golf courses in the area include Champion’s Club at Summerfield in Stuart and Eagle Marsh Golf Club at Jensen Beach. Champion’s Club in Summerfield was named one of the best new public golf courses in the country when it opened in 1994 by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. Designed by Tom Fazio, the course was the first public golf course to receive Audubon Signature Sanctuary status. The Eagle Marsh Golf Club at Jensen Beach is a challenging Tom Fazio course set in an expansive 240-acre nature reserve.
If you’re heading to Port St. Lucie to play golf, stay at the Sheraton PGA Resort, next door to PGA Village, or Vistanas Beach Club on Hutchinson Island, close to Eagle Marsh Golf Club.
The island of Naples-Marco usually ranks first or second in national surveys of golf holes per capita. With more than 40 golf courses, there is plenty of choice. Named one of America’s Top 100 Resort Courses by Golfweek Magazine in 2005, Tiburon Golf Club’s Gold Golf Course was designed by Greg Norman and features 18 holes of golf on a 74.7-rated course. The Raptor Bay 1 course at Raptor Bay Golf Club in Bonita Springs was designed by Raymond Floyd and was named one of the top 10 new public-access golf courses in America by Golf Magazine in 2001. At the Pelican Preserve Golf Club, you can play 27 holes of golf on a course that was designed by a well-known architect.
At the Bayfront Inn on 5th Avenue, the only waterfront destination in downtown Naples; the Bellasera Hotel Naples, located on the edge of the heart of Olde Naples; or The Park Shore Resort, tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood in Naples.
The Myers region, which includes Estero, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Sanibel Island, and Venice, has a reputation for having some of the most desirable golf courses in the world, leading some to rename Florida’s Gulf Coast: Florida’s “Golf Coast.” Eastwood Golf Course has been rated as one of the 50 best municipal golf courses in the country by Golf Digest. The Paradise Golf Academy at Stoneybrook Golf Club, one of the largest golf schools in Southwest Florida, emphasises state-of-the-art teaching techniques, such as video swing analysis and traditional on-course lessons with PGA-certified instructors. Coral Oaks Golf Course has been a local favourite for nearly 20 years, and not just for its great green fees. Bay Beach Golf Club, also a local favorite, is an 18-hole course with Bermuda grass and a variety of water hazards.
Stay at the DiamondHead Beach Resort, right on Fort Myers Beach, the GullWing Beach Resort on Estero Island, the Point Estero Beach Resort, or Santa Maria Harbor Resort, located on Estero Bay.
The Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater area has challenging courses for all players. The Belleview Biltmore Golf Club in Clearwater, Florida, has been an American golfer’s favourite since 1925. Designed by world-renowned golf architect Donald Ross, the golf course is known for its challenging design that blends in with its surroundings. The Belleview Biltmore Golf Academy offers full-swing fundamentals, short game techniques, and course management strategies.
TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz (just north of Tampa) is an annual stop on the Champions Tour. Opened in 1991 and designed by Bobby Weed with help from player consultant Chi Chi Rodriguez, TPC Tampa Bay has earned numerous accolades, including a 4 1/2 star rating in Golf Digest’s Places to Play. The course is routed around natural wetlands, cypress trees, and numerous ponds and lagoons, which are home to an abundance of wildlife, making TPC Tampa Bay one of only two courses in Tampa Bay to be designated an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Mangrove Bay Golf Course, in St. Petersburg, is one of the most popular golf courses in the area. Bardmoor Country Club, in Largo, is a luxury public golf course that offers a private clubbing experience. Former PGA Tour player and track architect Gary Koch gave the track a makeover in 2001.
Stay and golf in Clearwater at the Belleview Biltmore Resort, Golf Club, Spa, and Beach Club (see special offer from CRSHotels.com). The Safety Harbor Resort and Spa and the Tahitian Resort Tarpon Springs are both nearby.In the St. Pete Beach area, choose from the Grand Plaza Hotel and Beach Resort and Conference Center, the Bilmar Beach Resort, the TradeWinds Sandpiper Hotel & Suites, or the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, a classic, family-friendly resort.
Orlando is home to some of the golf industry’s biggest events, such as the PGA Merchandise Show and the Golf Industry Convention, as well as many national professional golf tournaments and championships. It is also a great place to play golf. There are golf courses to suit every style, level, and budget. Shingle Creek Golf Club in Orlando is an award-winning championship golf course. Mystic Dunes Golf Club in Celebration has an 18-hole course designed by Champions Tour professional and NBC golf analyst Gary Koch. Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge, one of the most popular courses on the PGA Tour, is home to the Arnold Palmer Invitational Tournament. Disney World also has a lot of great golf courses, like Eagle Pines, Lake Buena Vista, Magnolia, Osprey Ridge, and Palm.
Stay in Orlando and play at the Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando. Enjoy golf nearby at the Caribe Royale Suites, the Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa, or the Buena Vista Suites. Choose from the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, the Parc Corniche Suite Hotel, the Star Island Resort Orlando, the Sheraton Vistana Villages or the Florida Hotel & Conference Center in the Florida Mall.