The Daytona 500, Bike Week and 23 miles of wide, smooth sandy beaches might be just a few of Daytona Beach's better-known calling cards, but chasing a little white ball has also become a passion for visitors here. Thanks to more and more challenging courses opening every year and deep discounts offered by DaytonaBeach.Golf, golfers are rediscovering Daytona Beach. Grab your clubs, apply some sunscreen and try to avoid the golfer's beach – better known as a sand trap.
Ladies Professional Golf Assocation
Daytona Beach's golf growth has been enhanced by the relocation, in the 1990s, of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) to the area. The governing body for one of the country's most successful sports organizations, the LPGA has more than 35 professional tournaments under its umbrella. Two signature golf courses are open to the public near its headquarters, where the annual LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament is played each December. LPGA International, a residential community surrounding LPGA headquarters, is home to the Legends and Champions courses and also features the LPGA Golf Academy, including three championship practice holes, five putting greens and a 360-yard double-ended driving range.
Future LPGA stars arrive in Daytona Beach each winter to try and qualify for the tour, but the game's best amateur women players have been making a habit of visiting the area for decades. In 2007, Daytona Beach also hosted the NCAA Division I Women's national championship. And neighboring Ormond Beach has long hosted the SALLY, known formally as the South Atlantic Amateur Championship for Women. The tournament dates to 1926.
But it's the variety of courses that rounds out the experience, offering opportunities for meetings, conventions and groups, while also catering to the individual looking for places to play.
Planning a trip
That is where DaytonaBeach.Golf can be an excellent resource. The organization specializes in discounted vacation packages, greens fees, tee times and room rates. The organization can also help you plan a golf trip by mixing and matching various golf courses and hotel locations to fit your needs.
There are 13 area hotels that participate in the program, giving visitors a wide choice of accommodations and golf challenges. From small motels to national chains and resorts, there is something for everyone.
Golf Daytona Beach also offers 19 courses covering the entire region and offering a wide selection of challenging layouts. Seven of the courses are located in the greater Daytona Beach area, including the two signature LPGA courses. The Legends and Champions courses at LPGA International make for a perfect 36-hole outing. In addition to being the home for the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, this is also the former home of the LPGA's Titleholders Championship.
Rees Jones (known as the "Open Doctor" for his work on various U.S. Open layouts) designed the Champions course, which opened in 1994 and marked the first time that a golf course was designed specifically for women professional golfers.
Another 36-hole day could be planned by heading up to Palm Coast and sampling the layouts at the Cypress and Pine courses, located at the Grand Club. Golf legends Gary Player and Arnold Palmer were involved in the designs, with Player doing the Cypress course and Palmer the Pine course.
A few miles west of Daytona Beach is the city of DeLand and one of the area's newest and most talked-about courses, Victoria Hills Golf Club. Designed by Ron Garl, the course boasts an 80-foot elevation change, unique to the area. The course is walker-friendly, framed by tall pines and oaks. Golf Magazine rated the course among its "top 10 you can play.''
Then there is a course that takes you back in time. Daytona Beach Golf Club has been in existence since 1921. The South Course is an original Donald Ross design with all 18 holes laid out by the legendary Scottish architect, who made a big mark in Florida. Both the North and South (redesigned by Lloyd Clifton in 1997) are well-regarded municipal layouts.
Ross, a prolific designer in the first half of the 20th century, also did New Smyrna Beach Golf Course in New Smyrna Beach. Designed in 1948, it was completely renovated by architect Bobby Weed in 2006.
Among the other courses worth consideration are: Spruce Creek Country Club and The Golf Club at Cypress Head in Port Orange; Indigo Lakes Golf Club in Daytona Beach; DeBary Golf & Country Club in DeBary; Hidden Lakes Golf Club and New Smyrna Beach Golf Club in New Smyrna Beach; and Halifax Plantation Golf Club in Ormond Beach.
For more information on Golf Daytona Beach, visit daytonabeach,golf or call 800-981-5475.