The Clubhouse

Best golf courses on the East Coast

From Florida to South Carolina, the East Coast is home to some of the best golf courses in the country and we have produced our list of must-play layouts for your next golf trip.

Jamison Cunneff
Jamison Cunneff
8 mins read
USAFloridaSouth CarolinaAmericasPGA TourLuxuryRyder CupBucket list

With some of the best PGA TOUR venues in the country and abundant with bucket list courses, a golf vacation to the East Coast will have you playing some truly unforgettable courses. With courses in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, the US has an unbelievable variety of courses to pick from to suit your requirements for a vacation to the East Coast.

From coastal settings to inland beauty, there’s a real mix of course types to enjoy, we’ve picked out the very best golf courses on the East Coast to play on your next golf vacation.

TPC Sawgrass – THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, FL

Home to THE PLAYERS Championship since 1982, this Pete Dye designed course is one of the most famous courses in the world. Located in Ponte Vedra Beach, THE PLAYERS Stadium Course features narrow fairways lined with water hazards, dozens of strategically placed pot bunkers, and tall, shot obstructing palm trees.

A round at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course will have you walking and playing in the footsteps of some of the world’s best, and due to the maintenance of the course taking place all year round, you’ll always be playing on pristine fairways and greens.

Although every hole at this course is unique and memorable, the signature island green on the par-3, 17th hole is one of the most recognized holes in golf. Measuring just 137 yards from the Championship tees, and the green only 78 feet long, this challenging hole requires an accurate and calculated shot.

THE PLAYERS Stadium Course

Kiawah Island Resort – Ocean Course, SC

One of Pete Dye’s greatest golf course designs, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is often regarded as one of the best golf courses in the world. With sloping greens and lots of undulation, you’ll have to play smart to avoid penalties with the many bunkers and water hazards along the holes.

Measuring over 7,300 yards from the championship tees, the Ocean Course is a bucket list course for any avid golfer and should be included on your next trip along the East Coast. With 10 holes stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll have to battle unpredictable sea breezes that add a real element of challenge to your round.

The signature hole at this course has to be the daunting par-3 17th. A staggering 221 yards, you’ll need a powerful swing to carry the ball over the vast stretch of water before the green and with gusts from the Atlantic coming in too, this hole is a real challenge.

Ocean Course, The Villas at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Pine Needles, NC

Voted the #4 course in North Carolina by Golfweek, the Pine Needles Golf Course is a Donald Ross design and is the first course in the country to be granted four U.S. Women’s Opens. Restored by Kyle Franz in 2017, the course now spans over 7,000 yards with rolling hills and fairway bunkers reimagined while keeping the overall feel of the original Ross design.

Being a ‘must-play’ course, it’s hard to pick one signature hole. The par-3 3rd hole plays over water and is protected by five bunkers making it a challenging hole. At only 145 yards, you’ll need an accurate shot to complete this hole without penalty. On the back nine, the par-4 17th is a tough shot as it doglegs around to the left, you’ll do well to avoid getting a bogey on this hole.

Pine Needles Golf Course

Innisbrook – Copperhead Course, FL

Located at Innisbrook Golf Resort, the Copperhead Course is the most iconic of the four layouts found at the resort. Having hosted the PGA TOUR’s annual Valspar Championship each March, this course has played host to some of the world’s best players and is definitely a must-play during a trip on the East Coast.

The Copperhead Course weaves through its natural surroundings adding to its challenge, with pine tree-lined fairways and lakes and ponds dotted along the fairways. Designed by Lawrence Packard, the golf course is a lengthy test from the championship tees at 7,209 yards, however, several sets of tees make this round suitable for golfers of all abilities.

The signature hole at the Copperhead Course must be the double dogleg par-5 14th hole, one of the designer’s favorite hole designs – be sure to focus on positioning rather than length on this hole.

Copperhead Course, Innisbrook Golf Resort

Trump National Doral – Blue Monster, FL

One of the most legendary golf courses in America, the Blue Monster Course at Trump National Doral is a par-72 Florida style golf course that measures 7,590 yards from the championship tees. With large, rolling fairways, water hazards, deep bunkers, and immaculate greens, this course is a real challenge for all levels of golfer. Although the Blue Monster does not feature much elevation change, the course still provides golfers with sensational views of the Florida skyline.

Renovated by Gil Hanse in 2014, the course was re-designed in parts, transforming the venerable layout into a modern masterpiece. The signature hole at Trump National Doral is the impressive 18th. With a huge water hazard running along the entire left side of the hole, this 473-yard par-4 is visually stunning yet demanding, making for an exciting finish.

The Blue Monster Course, Trump National Doral Miami

Harbour Town Golf Links, SC

As the premier golf course on Hilton Head Island, the Harbour Town Golf Links is certainly an unforgettable round that should be included on your next trip along the East Coast. This Pete Dye designed course has hosted the PGA TOUR’s annual Heritage Classic since 1969 and is the only course in South Carolina that hosts an annual PGA TOUR event.

Winding its way through the natural woodland, this course is suitable for all golfing abilities and truly is a thrill to play. The signature hole at this course is the 18th. Famous around the world, the renowned red and white hooped lighthouse is situated just beyond the 18th green, and with wide-open views of the Calibogue Sound, this finishing hole will test you one final time before heading back to the clubhouse.

Harbour Town Golf Links

Arnold Palmer Bay Hill – Champion & Challenger 9’s, FL

With Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge being a bucket list stay and play resort for golfers visiting Florida, it only makes sense to include the championship Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Course with the East Coast’s best golf course list.

Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge features 3x 9-hole loops, with the Champion and Challenger 9’s composing the 18-holes played at the PGA TOUR’s ‘Arnold Palmer Invitational’. An inland links style course, this par-72 course measures 7,300 yards from the tips and has 4 sets of tee boxes making it ideal for all levels of golfer.

With strategic bunkers and water hazards located throughout the course, you’ll need to bring your A-game for a successful round here. The signature hole at this course, the picturesque par-5 16th, is the perfect chance to get a birdie with longer hitters reaching the green in two shots and is a great risk-reward hole.

Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Course

Mid Pines, NC

A Donald Ross masterpiece, the Mid Pines Golf Course remains exactly as Ross built it in 1921. Each hole has been carefully crafted into the natural rolling landscape of North Carolina and is certainly a visually impressive round. Originally designed for friendly competition amongst members, Mid Pines has certainly grown having hosted national competitions in recent years.

Ranked as one of the best courses in North Carolina, this round is enjoyable for all levels of golfer. Not intended to be a daunting challenge, Mid Pines weaves its way through the huge pine trees that dominate the land bringing an exciting element to your game. The signature hole here must be the short par-4 4th hole. Measuring just 330-yards, the approach on this hole is full of risk as you play to a green that falls dramatically on the right side.

Mid Pines Golf Course

Wild Dunes, Links Course, SC

As Tom Fazio’s first ever design, the Links Course at the Wild Dunes Resort is a true hidden gem along the East Coast and one of Charleston’s best public courses. Located on the Isle of Palms, the Links Course winds its way through the natural landscape, with rustling palms lining the rolling fairways.

One of Fazio’s favorite course designs, recently renovated in 2017, the Links Course now features larger, more accessible greens that are kept in great condition all year round. The layout truly showcases South Carolina golf, with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and measuring over 6,500 yards with four tee boxes to play from, the Links Course at Wild Dunes can be enjoyed by everyone.

Links Course, Wild Dunes Resort

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Jamison Cunneff avatar
Jamison Cunneff

Senior Golf Vacation Specialist

Senior Golf Vacation Specialist, I advise clients on golf courses and accommodation options across the US, Mexico, and Caribbean

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