A few Golfbreaks.com employees (myself included) were lucky enough to venture to Florida recently, visiting some of the best golf resorts and courses in the Sunshine State - all in the name of work! We played an array of magnificent holes, experienced great American hospitality, saw a number of excellent sites and met a few inspirational people, in particular Jack Nicklaus. I thought it would be rude not to share my thoughts on the great 'Florida Swing'.. so have a read and don't get too jealous, if you do take a look at our best packages in the area.
27/2/14 - 2/3/14 PGA NATIONAL RESORT & SPA
PGA National Resort & Spa offers the complete golf resort experience. A $100 million renovation that revealed its final flourishes in 2012 has transformed the resort, allowing it to boast modern-day luxury combined with grand history as one of the world's greatest golf resorts. Located in Palm Beach Gardens and featuring 90 holes of championship golf – this resort is just over an hour's drive from Miami International Airport - the ideal getaway for British golfers craving some championship golf in the sunshine state. In addition to hosting the Ryder Cup in 1983, PGA National has set the PGA TOUR's 'Florida Swing' in motion with The Honda Classic since 2007. Standing between the competitors and victory is The Champion Course and its infamous 'Bear Trap' - the toughest three-hole stretch on the PGA TOUR named after Jack Nicklaus who re-designed the course in 1990. The tournament will be won or lost within The Bear Trap – the pros are happy to escape with three pars and so should any amateur holiday-goers!
6/3/14 - 9/3/14 TRUMP NATIONAL DORAL MIAMI
Donald Trump purchased this distressed resort in 2012 for a reported $150 million and got to work overhauling the property and transforming it into what we expect to be one of the greatest golf resorts in America. Located only 15 minutes’ drive from Miami International Airport, this resort is the ideal destination for golfers looking to get away for a quick few days golfing in Florida. Trump National Doral Miami is the second stop on the Florida Swing and has hosted the PGA Tour for more than half a century at the famed Blue Monster, whose name says it all. The resort features a total of five world-class courses and a brand new state of the art driving range with an LED lighting system – the first of its kind in the world. Despite Trump’s brash outspokenness; he has an excellent track record in building stunning championship courses. It will be exciting to see what becomes of the Blue Monster in March 2014, for both the WGC Cadillac Championship and the public.
13/3/14 - 16/3/14 INNISBROOK RESORT & GOLF CLUB
Situated near Tampa, Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club is more of a family resort that features four championship golf courses within close proximity to the famed beaches of Clearwater. This resort may not be as well-known as PGA National or Trump National Doral Miami; however, many pros have singled The Copperhead Course out as their favourite layout on the PGA TOUR. The Valspar Championship is the third stop of the Florida Swing and features gorgeous undulating holes through pine trees, testing dog legs and several water features – more reminiscent of the Carolina and Georgia sand hills than the typical Florida terrain. The resort also has three other 18-hole championship courses – all of which are superbly maintained and act as the perfect preparation before you take on The Copperhead.
20/3/14 - 23/3/14 ARNOLD PALMER'S BAY HILL CLUB & LODGE
Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge is a privately owned, understated golfing venue that hosts the final stop of the Florida Swing in the heart of Orlando before THE PLAYERS Championship in May 2014. The club features 80 bedrooms, 27 holes of golf and as a resident of the club you get the feeling that you are Arnold Palmer’s guest, rather than a ‘nobody’ of any other golf resort. Arnie is well known by all the staff and residents at the club and he can be seen most days around 4.30pm drinking a glass of his own red wine in the bar. This tournament brings all the big names as it’s held only two weeks before The Masters. The Arnold Palmer Invitational has been won by Tiger Woods 8 times since 2000 - let’s see if he can defend his 2012 & 2013 titles before heading to Georgia for the first major of the year at Augusta National.