Imagine rolling green hills, wide meadows, numerous ponds and waterfalls surrounded by lush foliage and tropical trees. Exotic birds perch nearby. Colorful flowers adorn the pathways. This could be the portrayal of a remote jungle discovered by the likes of Ponce De Leon and yet it is describing one of the best golf courses in Florida.
With an abundance of golf courses around the globe, the focus in this article will zero in on the top five public golf courses in Florida. The state boasts over 1500 golf courses. Top names in golf have designed and built some the most challenging and beautiful courses available. There are many features that make the Florida courses extremely appealing for the amateur and the pro alike: the location, the challenge, the amenities, the beauty, and affordable prices.
Top Public Course Picks
There are select courses that consistently find their spot in the top lists year after year. Each of the courses has been awarded the top accolades in golf. With signature holes and fairways and greens that are hard to beat, Florida offers a golfers dream come true. Here are five public courses worth considering on your next Florida golf adventure.
1. Streamsong Resort Red, Streamstrong, FL
Natural sand dunes and lakes are the foundation for this course. Renowned designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw found inspiring fairways within nature’s own layout. This 18-hole, par-72 course has a length of 7,148 yards. The course rating is 74.2 with a slope of 130. Green fees start at $85 for Florida residents and go up to $255 depending on the season.
Streamsong is located in central Florida and is easily accessed from any of the surrounding airports. Streamsong is a luxury resort that offers a full-service spa experience. Amenities also include recreational opportunities such as fishing, archery and sporting clays. There are restaurants on the property to supplement your golfing experience.
Ranked #47 and a recipient of the 2016-17 Platinum Award by Golf Magazine, Streamsong is a must play golf destination.
2. World Woods, Pine Barrens Course, Brooksville, FL
Listed as one of the most beautiful courses in the world, Pine Barrens is worth exploring. Designed by Thomas Fazio in 1993, the course is named from the many pine trees that surround the fairways. Natural land forms and features were maintained to give the golfer a unique challenge as well as an enjoyment of nature. The 18-hole, par-71 course has a length of 6,458yards. The course rating is 71.6 with a slope of 134. The green fees start at $119.
Located about an hour and a half from the Tampa area and 2 hours from Orlando, Pine Barrens is easily accessed. Condo-style lodging is available. All condos have full kitchen facilities with a dining and living area. Most units have 2 bathrooms and screened in porches. One can choose from 2-3 bedroom units. This is a perfect set up for families.
Golf Week has ranked Pine Barrens #26 in “Americas Best Modern Course”. Let your discovery of Florida golf find you on this woodsy course.
3. Streamsong Resort Blue, Streamsong, FL
This Streamsong course was designed by Tom Doak in 2012. Utilizing the varied terrain, Doak designed a course that incorporated the heights of the indigenous dunes and the surrounding natural lakes. The 18-hole, par-72course has a length of 7,176 yards. The course rating is 74.1 with a slope of 131. Like the red course, green fees start at $85 and go up to $255 for peak season.
Streamsong offers a golf resort experience that boasts many amenities for the golfer and non-golfer alike. The guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling glass with custom louvers that control light and shade. Among the exceptional amenities are observation decks and a rooftop lounge. Four casual and fine dining restaurants round out the fabulous services. Its central location makes it easily accessed from any of the surrounding airports.
As you explore Florida, add Streamsong to your list of destinations, it may just be your fountain of youth.
4. TPC Sawgrass, Players Stadium Course, Ponta Vedra Beach, FL
The Players Stadium Course was designed and built by Pete Dye to be the host course of The Players Championship in 1982 and every year thereafter. Although this course is balanced with a variety of lengths throughout the fairways, it also has a reputation for being one of the most difficult courses in the world. This 18-hole, par-72 course has a length of 7,215 yards. The course rating is 76.8 with a slope of 155. Green fees range from $350 to $495 depending on the season. The Players Stadium Course is not available to the public May through October.
The nearest airport is Jacksonville, which is only 35 miles from this championship course. Sawgrass has a partnership with Marriott offering the Sawgrass Marriott Resort and Spa. Boasting a state-of-the-art spa and fitness center, along with seven unique restaurants, the Sawgrass Marriott has something for the whole family.
Ranked 10th overall among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses” in 2015-2016 by Golf Digest, there is no better championship course to add to your personal list.
5. Trump National Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Blue Monster Course, Miami, FL
Rounding out the top five best golf courses in Florida is the Blue Monster at Doral. Designed by Raymond Floyd, Jerry Pate, Greg Norman and (R) Gil Hanse in 2013, the course hosts the World Golf Championships– Cadillac Championship. This 18-hole, par-72 course has a length of 7,590 yards. The course rating is 74.5 with a slope of 130. Green fees are $250.
Located in Miami, the Blue Monster is easily accessible via the Miami International Airport. The Trump National Doral Golf Resort and Spa was purchased by Donald Trump in 2012 and has been completely renovated. Guest rooms and suites are offered with a full complement of amenities. Every room has spectacular views. The spa and health club offer exquisite signature treatments, fitness classes and kinesis stations.
If a championship course is on your list, don’t overlook this 2016 Gold Medal Resort Award winner. It will challenge and inspire you!
Discover Florida, Discover Golf
By now these courses should be appealing to virtually every golfer. And, with 1495 other courses in Florida to discover and explore one can put together a golfing itinerary bar none. To be sure, these five courses have found their way on the list of best golf courses in Florida. All that is left to do is get out and enjoy!