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Hole 18 Bay Hill at Sunrise Courtesy Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Hole 18 Bay Hill at Sunrise Courtesy Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge

15 Beautiful Golf Courses to Play in Florida

Picture of Michele Marin
Updated: 27 September 2017

Year-round beautiful weather and a vast selection of top- ranked golf courses draw not only thousands of golf enthusiasts each year, but also a large number of professionals who call the state home. When it comes to one of the best golf destinations in the world, Florida lands at the top of the list. We’re giving you a tour of 15 of the most beautiful courses in the state. Not only are these courses meticulous, but they also host a number of PGA competitions each year. Play where the pros play when you visit these amazing courses.

Kelly Plantation Golf Club

Golf Digest ranks this Fred Couples and Gene Bates-designed course in the “Top 5% of Golf Courses in North America.” One visit to this beautiful Destin 18-hole course and it’s obvious how Kelly Plantation is in the top echelon of North American courses. Complete with a view of Choctawhatchee Bay, the course sits on what was once a turpentine plantation. Players will marvel at the contoured smooth greens, strategically placed hazards, and the charm of the tee names. With the exception of the back ‘Couples’ tees, the tees are named after local vegetation found on the plantation.

307 Kelly Plantation Dr., Destin, FL., USA +1 850.650.7600

Plantation Courtesy Kelly Plantation Golf Club

Cooperhead Innisbrooke

Palm Harbor, Innisbrooke is home to four amazing championship golf courses, all designed by architect Lawrence Packard. The Copperhead Course is famous for the Valspar Championship, an official 72-hole event that draws the nationally televised PGA TOUR competition to the course every March. Surrounded by tall pines and rolling hills, Copperhead entices those looking for a challenge along the lengthy fairways. Catch a glimpse of the local wildlife — from waterfowl and Florida alligators to Osprey, Heron and Fox Squirrels — who make their home along the ponds and lakes throughout the course. The resort offers spacious condo-style suites, a beautiful spa, six pools, and more.

36750 U.S. Highway 19 North, Palm Harbor, FL., USA, + 1 888.794.8627

Hole 16 at Innisbrook Cooperhead Course Courtesy Innisbrook

Tiburón Golf Club

Home to the LPGA Tour’s CME Group Tour Championship and the PGA TOUR’s QBE Shootout, Tiburón Golf Club consistently ranks among the top-rated golf courses in the state. The Greg Norman-designed 36-hole course, located in beautiful Naples, Florida, features two exquisite courses, the Gold and the Black. Play the newly remastered Gold Course and take note of the exclusive bunkers, formed of stacked sod or coquina shell waste and no conventional rough. Unprecedented views of nature are offered from nearly every hole, as the course is designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International. Stay and play at the club’s resort accommodation, The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, for the complete golf club experience.

2620 Tiburón Drive, Naples, FL., USA, +1 239.593.2200

Tiburón Black10_Sunrise Courtesy Tiburón Golf Club

Grande Lakes Orlando

Not only does The Ritz Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes, offer some of the most challenging golf in the state, but it’s a course you can feel good about playing. Designed by Greg Norman, Grande Lakes’ commitment to preserving and enhancing the wildlife habitat and natural resources not only earned the course the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Course, but the course was also recognized by Golf Course Management Magazine as the National Resort Course winner in the “Environmental Leaders in Golf” contest. Wide fairways and the beauty of the area’s wetlands, coupled with top-notch dining, a caddie concierge program and world-class accommodation, associated with the Ritz brand, gives Grande Lakes a spot in our top 15 courses to play in Florida.

400 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, FL., USA + 1 866.435.7627

Hole 14 Grande Lakes Golf Club courtesy The Ritz Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes

TPC Sawgrass

For a world-class golf experience, head to Ponte Vedra and play one of the world’s most famous courses, TPC Sawgrass. Home of THE PLAYERS and birthplace of the TPC Network, it was opened in 1980 as the model of an ever-expanding network of unparalleled clubs. It ensures meticulous greens, challenging holes and best-in-class facilities. World-renowned architect Pete Dye designed TPC Sawgrass to challenge even the most astute players. As the backdrop to the PGA TOUR headquarters, TPC Sawgrass houses two championship courses and earns a spot at the top of some of the most distinguished golf rankings every year. Enjoy accommodation along with golf packages at the Sawgrass Marriott for the most comprehensive golf experience.

110 Championship Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL., USA +1 904.273.3430

Hole12_Green&Hazard2 Courtesy TPC Sawgrass

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Situated along Florida’s breathtaking Emerald Coast, Sandestins 72 holes encompass beach to bay beauty. Four award-winning courses — Raven Golf Club, Baytowne Golf Club, The Links Golf Club and the exclusive, semi-private Burnt Pine Club, each with their unique features — offer golfers world-class golf and access to some of the best PGA professionals and staff. With courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Rees Jones and Tom Jackson, Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort attracts the nontertiary of the Champions Tour, NCAA National Championships.

9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy W Miramar Beach, FL., USA, +1 855.342.3599

Courtesy Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

Three championship courses, all with their own unique features, from picturesque coastal dunes to pine forests to gorgeous marshes. Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is not only a top choice of ours, but of Conde Nast and the Golf Channel too. Host to a number of golf championships, players can perfect their water hazard shot on eight different occasions on the members-only Long Point Course, or tee-off at Oak Marsh, a Pete Dye-designed 6,500-yard course challenging avid golfers with 14 holes.

39  Beach Lagoon Rd., Amelia Island, FL., USA,+1 904.277.5907

Oak Marsh Courtesy Amelia Island Plantation

Pine Barrens Course at World Woods

Named for the many pines that outline the course, Pine Barrens is Florida’s only 5-star Pubic Golf Course. Two Tom Fazio-designed courses were executed from the vision of Yukihisa Inoue, the World Woods Corporation President, who travels to some of the world’s most distinguished golf courses. Pine Barrens offers world-class golf to players looking to play among two distinctive courses, drawing beauty and challenges from the natural characteristics of the land.

17590 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Brooksville, FL., USA, +1 352.796.5500

Pine Barrens #1 Tee Courtesy Pine Barrens at World Woods Golf Club

Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge

Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge has been the winter home of golf legend Arnold Palmer since the early ’70s. The resort draws large crowds each March for the PGA TOUR’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, presented by Mastercard. If you’re lucky enough to play at the resort (open only to club members and registered guests staying at the Bay Hill Lodge), you’ll discover why so many covet this exceptional course. The comfortable lodge filled with memorabilia from Arnold’s Palmer’s life. A spa, dining, tennis, golf instruction and swimming are also offered. Situated in the suburbs of Orlando in the upscale Dr. Phillips area, the courses graze the Butler Chain of Lakes, and offer 27 holes of pure enjoyment.

9000 Bay Hill Blvd., Orlando, FL., USA, +1 888.422.9445

(c) Bay Hill

Orange County National Panther Lake

What sets this course apart from many is the lack of residential homes surrounding it. Just pines, wetlands and elevations up to 60 feet. Each hole brings unique challenges, giving golfers the opportunity to unleash an arsenal of skills. Champion Ultra Dwarf Bermuda Grass gives golfers a similar feel to the greens in the north, Bent grass. Extend your golf vacation and stay at the Lodge on property and play Panther Lake the next day for a completely different experience.

16301 Phil Ritson Way, Winter Garden, FL., USA, +1 407.656.2326

Courtesy WikiMedia Commons

El Campeón at Mission Inn Resort & Club

One of Florida’s top golf courses, El Campeon is also one of the state’s oldest courses. The course was built in 1917 and designed by Chicago architect, George O’Neil. It features elevation changes of up to 85 feet along the rolling fairways. It’s also one of Golf Advisor’s top 25 courses in the country. Pay particular attention to hole 17, dubbed “Devil’s Delight,” containing a double dog leg that has enough obstacles to challenge even the best players.

10400 Country Road  48, Howey-in-the-Hills, FL, USA, + 1 800.874.9053

El Campeòn Hole 17 La Hacienda Courtesy Mission Inn Resort & Club

The Championship Course Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach

Opened in 1999 and designed by Jim Fazio, The Championship Course was rated #1 Golf Course in Florida by Florida Golf Magazine, and holds a top spot on national golf course rankings. Located in beautiful West Palm Beach, the course was home to the LPGA Championship for eight years and features six tees per hole to choose from, offering no shortage of options for both yardage and obstacles. Also check out the Trump Nine, taking particular note of the signature island green, for a completely different experience from The Championship Course.

3505 Summit Boulevard, West Palm Beach FL., USA, +1 561.682.0700

Courtesy Trump International Golf Club

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club

Good things come to those who wait. Fans of the Waldorf Astoria brand will be delighted with the brand’s first golf course, located in Orlando. The grand entrance certainly made a spectacular debut amid the Bonnet Creek Nature Preserve. Renowned architect Rees Jones utilized the natural lay of the land to design the prestigious 18 hole, 7108 championship courses. Recently named among the Top 25 Courses by Golf Advisor, each hole along the well-contoured greens tests players’ innovation and strategy.

14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando, FL., USA, + 1 407.597.5500

Hole 13 at Waldorf Astoria® Golf Club Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria® Golf Club

Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Orlando

Tranquilo Golf Club, an 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course, provides a tranquil escape from the busy theme parks. Situated along Central Florida’s beautiful wetlands on a certified Audubon Sanctuary, Tranquilo Golf Club is home to some of the state’s most beautiful wildlife. The course recently hosted the 2017 Diamond Resorts Invitational featuring PGA TOUR professionals, celebrities and athletes. If you find yourself short on time, the 7-hole option takes just over an hour to complete.

10100 Dream Tree Blvd.,Lake Buena Vista,FL., USA, +1 407.313.7777

Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Season Courtesy of Four Seasons Orlando

The Ocean Course at the Breakers

Florida’s oldest 18-hole course, situated at the stunning Breakers Palm Beach resort, fabulously combines vintage and modern style, thanks to architect Brian Silva. The Ocean Course’s complex terrain challenges even the most skilled players. The blue waters of the Atlantic are nearby. After the game, reward yourself with delicious bites and libations with a nostalgic trip back in time at the ‘Old Florida’ style Golf and Tennis Clubhouse.

One South County Rd., Palm Beach, FL ., USA, + 1 877.724.3188

The Breakers Ocean Golf & Tennis Clubhouse Courtesy The Breakers Palm Beach