Florida is the premier golf state in the country. The Sunshine State features over 1200 courses and boasts some of the best tracks in the nation. What’s more is that every winter, snow birds from the midwest, northeast, and even Canada descend on this golfing Mecca and make Florida a true golf destination.
The state has courses for every kind of player at every level and is a must for serious golfers. If you haven’t hit the links in this beautiful state yet, here are five Florida courses you need to play.
TPC Sawgrass—The Stadium Course (Best Overall and Best Public Course)
Now over 40 years old, TPC Sawgrass is an unforgettable golf course that allows golfers of all skill levels the chance to play a PGA style course. Everything about the course is picture perfect, from the well kept, lighting fast greens, to the elegant, well placed water hazards. When you play TPC Sawgrass you’ll have a hard time not daydreaming that you’re playing on the tour.
Tall palm trees line the right side of the first hole and a massive green side bunker protects the green on the right. The rough is as slick as most fairways, so a shot that isn’t center of the green might roll back into the bunker.
The third hole features a pitched green that tilts decidedly back toward the tees and into the vast bunker that guards it. Water too is in play on three.
Water surrounded greens is a theme throughout the course and 17 (the signature hole on the course) in particular is home of a near island green. On 18, the green drops off into the drink and is only protected by the thinnest strip of rough.
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is just over 7200 yards from the blacks and is a regulation par 72.
While the course is public, it can still be tricky to get a tee time. If you do want to play The Stadium Course, book a tee time early and be prepared to pay.
World Woods—Pine Barrens (Most Scenic Course)
Listed as one of the most beautiful courses in the world, World Woods is the most scenic course in Florida. This unparalleled golf course is known for its varied landscape and vegetation and for bunkers so big you will think you’re at the beach. The course is surrounded by a grove and interspersed with desolate spaces and sand throughout.
The course begins with a medium length par 4 that necessitates a straight, deep tee shot. Anything short and you could end up in the bunker to the left of the fairway. The par 3 third hole is a masterpiece, and plays over a sparkling pond that looks magnificent in the Florida sun.
The back nine finishes with a dogleg left that is a full ninety degrees. Once you turn, the challenge isn’t over as a long bunker guards the left side of the fairway to the green.
This stunning course is almost 7300 yards long and is a par 71.
In the summer you can play a round at World Woods for as little as $40, but in the winter and early spring (peak season in Florida) prices climb to $99 for 18 walking.
Seminole Golf Club (Best Private Course)
With so many good public courses to choose from, it almost isn’t worth mentioning the best private course in the state. In all likelihood you won’t get the chance to play this spectacular track, but Seminole Golf Club is so good, it has to make the list.
The second hole is particularly tricky as a tree right in the middle of the fairway makes you decide which way you are going to go to get to the green. Once you’ve made your decision you still have umpteen fairway bunkers to contend with, and then a kidney bean shaped, sloping green.
This type of challenging, dazzling layout is par for the course at Seminole. The course measures 6836 yards long from the gold tees and is a par 72.
Because it is private, the only way you can get on is if you are a member or the guest of one.
Streamsong Red (Most Challenging Course)
Streamsong Red is one of the most challenging and perhaps one of the most unique golf courses in the entire state. The course has dramatic landscapes combined with a punishing layout. Rock, sand, water and large mounds covered in fescue make for worthy opponents as you try to navigate your way through this gauntlet of a course unscathed.
With little to no rough to speak of, anything not down the center could be trouble. And things don’t get easier just because you’ve reached the green. Sloping, undulating greens are the rule at Streamsong.
The course is 7148 yards long and is a regulation par 72. With a course rating of 74.2 and a slope rating of 130.
Streamsong is part of a world class resort and priced accordingly. In the winter a round of 18 walking will cost you up to $285 if you’re not a guest at the hotel. But in the summer rates are more reasonable and the course can be played for $89 if you are a guest.
Victoria Hills Golf Club (Best Deal)
Located in DeLand, Florida, Victoria Hills is a top twenty, championship level course that you can play for under $30. The course is well kept with thick trees and wide, rolling fairways.
The front nine opens with a tough stretch of three par 4’s and a par 3 that require deft shot making in order to get a decent start to your round.
On nearly every hole, well placed bunkers come into play, and the greens are as well maintained as any you will find in the state.
From the tips, the course is 7149 yards long and is a par 72.
In the summer months, a round at Victoria Hills can get as low as $21 with a cart.
Florida and its litany of marvelous golf courses need no introduction. Nor do they require a sales pitch. If you haven’t already made it to The Sunshine State for a memorable golf vacation, it’s just a matter of time before you do. And now, you’ll know where to start. Happy golfing.
Did we miss a course? Share your Florida golf experience in the comment section below.