Best golf courses in Florida
Looking for the perfect destination for your next US golf break? We share our top picks for a fantastic round of golf in Florida to help you decide!
From Jacksonville right down to Miami, it’s the golf state that has it all. We are often asked by our customers, what are the best golf courses in Florida? Here’s just a few of our favourite top golf courses in that could be the perfect destination for your next golf holiday.
Off the course, there are few better options than Florida for attractions. Orlando is the theme park capital of the world with over a dozen in the region, while Miami hosts some of the best nightlife and beach options in the US.
Built by the legendary Pete Dye on what was Florida swampland, the legendary Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is the ultimate golfing challenge, with water, waste-bunkers and even alligators lying in wait. This magnificent layout builds and builds to an epic, water-strewn Par 5/3/4 finish that strikes fear into the hearts of Tour Pros and hackers alike, not least at the iconic island green 17th. More than 150,000 balls end up submerged there every year… will yours?
Just half-an-hour north of Jacksonville lies Amelia Island – part of the beautiful Sea Islands - where no less than four superb courses await the travelling golfer. We recommend making the Omni Amelia Island Plantation hotel your base for exploring the very best golf on offer, including the recently renovated Pete Dye design Oak Marsh that is one of the very best in the area.
Home of the World Golf Village, St Augustine, some 40 miles south of Jacksonville, is a definite must-visit for anyone considering the northern areas for their golf break in Florida. The Hall of Fame itself is well worth a visit, but it’s the golf we’re really interested in, particularly the King & Bear and the Slammer & Squire layouts. You’d expect courses where Nicklaus, Palmer, Snead & Sarazen collaborate to be worth a play, and these two glorious layouts will not disappoint.
Arnold Palmer might have left his mark at St Augustine, but it’s Orlando’s Bay Hill Resort that is the King’s royal residence. With three beautifully manicured loops of nine, the PGA Tour venue – close to Orlando Airport – is a perfect base for an Orlando golf break, offering luxurious accommodation and a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. The man himself lives on-site during the winter months so keep an eye out for golfing royalty!
No resort in the world can claim to provide Signature design layouts from Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson (Tom, not Bubba), but at the very lovely Reunion, south-west of Orlando, that’s exactly what’s on offer. The Watson course is the most highly regarded, offering unusual elevation changes and colossal amounts of bunkering, but all three are great fun to play. And if it’s all going wrong, there’s always the Annika Sorenstam Academy.
Another venue with multiple courses, Innisbrook’s star attraction remains the sensational Copperhead layout, a long-time PGA Tour tournament host. It’s one of four at this excellent Tampa resort, and is famed for its lovely tree-lined routing and demanding tee shots. The Island course is now a close rival to its supremacy, having itself enjoyed a massive renovation in recent times. Accuracy, not brute strength, is the key, making it the perfect partner for the longer Copperhead.
As you might expect from a Trump resort, Doral is now bigger and better than ever. Located near downtown Miami, the vacation behemoth is a brilliant place to stay and play, with everything you could wish for onsite. The Blue Monster – another long-time PGA Tour stop – is the undoubted star of the show, having enjoyed a massive upgrade from Gil Hanse in 2014. It’s now longer and tougher than ever! With three more courses having been renovated, now is the time to try Trump for yourself.
The Champion Course at PGA National, just one of five great layouts at this West Palm Beach venue, is another with a closing stretch that is infamous in golfing circles. The so-called Bear Trap (holes 15-17) has decided many a Honda Classic on what is officially the Tour’s toughest course, but these are only 3 of 90 magnificent holes at what is one of America’s finest resorts.
Located on Florida’s aptly-named Paradise Coast on the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island is a truly idyllic place for a USA golf holiday. Close to the Everglades and Naples, we recommend the Marriott Beach Resort as the perfect base for your trip. In 2019, the resort completed a $320 million upgrade project and offers all the amenities you’d expect, along with two quality golf courses in the form of the Rookery and Hammock Bay.
If you wish to experience TPC Sawgrass to its fullest, then Dye’s Valley should also be on your ‘to-play’ list. While it is considered easier than its show-stealing big brother, there is enough danger to warrant your focus from the outset.
Water hazards are in abundance, which is a theme at Sawgrass, but the landing areas from the tee are wider and in general, the layout is less punishing. Dye’s Valley was ranked no. 21 by Golfweek in 2017-18 in the category of ‘Best Courses You Can Play in Florida’ and is consistently kept to the same TOUR standard as the Stadium Course.
The Soffer Course is the premier layout at JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa. Raymond Floyd is responsible for the redesign and since its creation, it has hosted several LPGA Tour and South Florida PGA events. Precision will reign over distance as you battle your way through this challenging layout, and it is vital that you avoid the creeks that cross several fairways. It’s another great Miami golf course at a first-class resort.
Designed by Greg Norman, the Gold Course at Tiburón Golf Club demands accuracy from the tee where fairways are well protected by the natural palms, pines and olive trees lining their perimeter. There are several lakes scattered through the course and the final hole requires a precise tee shot before you play your approach towards the clubhouse and the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort. The Gold Course annually hosts the PGA TOUR’s QBE Shootout, and is a must-play when in Naples.
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