Best golf courses in Florida
Looking for the perfect destination for your next golf vacation? We share our top picks for a fantastic round of golf in Florida to help you decide!
From exploring the famous Everglades National Park to the Disney Parks in Orlando, Florida is full of croc and mouse-shaped surprises on and off the course. And when not on one of 1250 out of this world courses in Florida, there's also the amazing Kennedy Space Center for a fun day out for all.
With such a wide range of exceptional golf courses in Florida, we understand it can be hard to decide where's the best place to play. Therefore, we made things a little easier for you. Scroll down to see what Florida and Golfbreaks have to offer for your next golf vacation.
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?
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 where the King used to live. 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.
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 Reunion Golf Academy, where you can work on your game.
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 three of 90 magnificent holes at what is one of America’s finest resorts.
Located 20 miles west of Orlando, you will find two stunning courses at Orange County National Golf Center. Crooked Cat and Panther Lake are not your traditional Orlando layouts, both play through the native pines, around and over wetlands, with elevation changes of up to 60 feet, and with no development around the courses all you will encounter is the natural beauty of the landscape and the wildlife. With a first-class practice facility and a nine-hole short course onsite, spending a day at Orange County National is a must.
Two fantastic and completely different Greg Norman designs. The International is a links-style course with that classic outward nine before making the turn layout, whereas the National is a more typical Florida resort course that weaves its way through 200 acres of secluded woodlands, wetlands, and former orange groves. ChampionsGate is also the world headquarters for the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.
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.
Senior Golf Vacation Specialist
Senior Golf Vacation Specialist, I advise clients on golf courses and accommodation options across the US, Mexico, and Caribbean