Monday, December 4

The Sunshine State Swing: Exploring Florida’s Top Golf Courses

The Sunshine State is aptly named, and its sunny disposition makes it the perfect place for almost any kind of outdoor activity! And if you’re a golfing fan, exploring Florida’s golf courses is an excellent way to make the most of that stunning weather (when you need a break from the watersports!) 


Picking the best ones can be tricky because Florida boasts over 1,000 courses! Every golfer will have their favorites, and with the sheer number of spectacular courses, we can’t disagree with any of them. 


But here are our picks for Florida’s top golf courses. Whether you’re in the sunniest state for business, pleasure, leisure, or to escape the cold, take the time to pick one and play a round… They’re all bucket-list-worthy! 

Trump National Doral: Blue Monster 

You can’t trump this one! Trump National Doral has hosted PGA Events for the past 55 years, so you know the famed Blue Monster is a fantastic quality course and has been for decades. Despite its tropical atmosphere, the course is no walk in the park, so bring your A-game and your best golf clubs if you’re planning on playing a round here. 


Water hazards abound, as do deep, ball-swallowing bunkers. At 7,600+ yards, it’s a long and arduous course, which adds to its challenge. This isn’t a course for the faint-hearted, even though it’s completely flat, so don’t let the lack of elevation changes fool you. 


The fairways are pristine, but it’s your short game that’ll really matter. Well-designed greens that are firm and just right fast top each hole with a pinnacle challenge. Wind is always a possible factor in Florida, so keep that in mind as you strategize your way through the Blue Monster. Better for experienced golfers and open-minded intermediates who like a fight! 

Streamsong Resort: Red Course 

Streamsong Resort offers a unique golfing experience, and it’s surrounded by wide-open, rugged land that makes you feel like you’re playing on another planet. The Red course regularly wins accolades and mentions as the best in Florida, and it’s not hard to see why. 


The layout is varied enough to keep you on your toes throughout your round. Some holes are links-style, rough, and rumble. Others are epic target holes with water hazards to add to the test. All in all, the Red course sticks to the basics of architecture and layout really well on their fairways, but the real wham comes in on the creative green complexes. 


It opens with 2 long, hard holes that immediately show you the quality and challenge of the course. With links-like terrain throughout, clever bunkering, and always-interesting greens, experienced golfers should enjoy the round but be prepared for a couple of unexpected obstacles along the way. 

Innisbrook Resort: The Copperhead Course 

Copperhead snakes are robust, muscular, yet kind of plain-looking snakes, and the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort embodies those same properties too. It’s a fairly meaty course, despite not being the prettiest one out there, and it’s definitely the most challenging of the four courses at Innisbrook Resort. 


You’ll be greeted by a forest of pine trees, giving the course an intimate feeling. Unlike some other Florida courses, the Copperhead features pleasantly rolling terrain, and you can expect some fun elevation changes as you make your way through your round. 


The forest-lined fairways demand accuracy off the tee, and subtle curves in the fairways make your short game important if you want a good score here. Practice with your fairway woods, irons, and putter before you hit the greens, which are shielded by water hazards or sneaky elevation changes. 


Curves and hazards aren’t the only things you’ll have to watch out for on this course, though—you might just run into a real copperhead, one of its cousins, or even an alligator basking in the Florida sun! 

World Golf Village, King & Bear Course 

This resort is the home of the World Golf Hall of Fame, so it’s worth a visit if you’d like a bit of a cultural experience as well as a great round of golf. Its unique name comes from its two architects—Arnold Palmer, nicknamed the King, and Jack Nicklaus, known as the Golden Bear. 


At 7,279 yards from the tips, it’s a long play, but you can choose from 5 different tee boxes. You’ll be swinging your clubs amongst pretty trees, making you feel like the stresses of life are far away for the hours you’re on the course. 


The wide fairways are expertly landscaped, and the greens are large but might be a little deceptive, so keep your cool and play carefully. You’ll also likely have to contend with wind at some point, so a low, powerful drive is essential to have in your arsenal. 

Sarasota National Golf Club 

Sarasota National is an Audubon International Certified Signature Sanctuary, so you can expect magnificent beauty along your round as well as good golf. Surrounded by wetlands and scattered with an abundance of trees, including the typical Florida palms, pine trees, and oak trees, it’s a haven for native flora and fauna.


Adding to its natural beauty, water comes into play on 10 of the 18 holes, but nothing too serious and with no forced carries from the front few tees. You won’t find hectic elevation changes, but be aware that the fairways house subtle curves that can change your course in a matter of seconds. 


You’ll have a chance to stretch your arms and show off your swing with one 560-yard par-5 and two stretching to over 600 yards. Keep your focus and play true, though, because 88 sand traps await to snatch your ball away from the green. 


These are our picks for Florida’s top golf courses, but they’re certainly not the only ones worth the top spots. We particularly like these ones for their challenge, uniqueness, and fun, but if you’re a golfer and you happen to be in Florida, you have a treasure trove of courses to choose from. We highly recommend knocking a few of these off your bucket list but doing your own research to find the ones you really want to be able to say you’ve played. 


About the Author 

Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring young golfers, he writes in-depth articles for his website, Golf Influence.