I'm sure you're familiar with Florida's Magic Kingdom (Disney, anyone?), but there's another kingdom you should make time to visit on your next Florida golf getaway – Florida's First Coast. This northeast corner of Florida, running 75 miles from Amelia Island at the north and then south to Flagler County, offers a variety of 72 golf course venues. From breathtaking ocean links to parkland style with special Florida features, it presents plenty of palm and oak trees, marshes, wetlands and, of course, sunshine.
Check out five great reasons to come and play golf here at Florida’s First Coast.
1. World Golf Village and World Golf Hall of Fame
With two top notch golf layouts (King & Bear – the only Palmer/Nicklaus design on the planet, and Slammer & Squire – created with input from golf legends Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen) you will find all the challenge you desire in St. Augustine.
In my opinion, the world’s best golf museum is the 75,000-square-foot World Golf Hall of Fame. I love this place. See all the golf artifacts and history you can handle.
2. THE PLAYERS Championship
This is the biggest golf event in Florida, and the players on the PGA Tour call it their fifth major. Not only is it the richest purse for a single event on Tour, it bestows upon the winning player a level of prestige that all other Tour players respect. And it is one heck of a social gathering for golf fans from all over the world. If you ever want to experience some magnificent parties, make your plans to attend THE PLAYERS Championship each May in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Ponte Vedra Beach is also the headquarters of the PGA Tour and the home of the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass with its famous par 3 island green - the diabolical 17th hole.
3. Spectacular Coastal Golf Holes
Golfers from all over the world ask me where they may experience true links golf along the ocean. Some of the best places I can tell you about are up and down the First Coast.
Amelia Island Plantation boasts three fantastic courses – The Ocean Links, Oak Marsh and Long Point. When I first set eyes on the ocean views on the stretch of holes from #4, 5, 6, 15 & 16 on the Ocean Links, I had to reach up and close my jaw. It’s like Scotland, but you can actually get a tan while you play. The crashing surf and the invigorating breeze are reasons alone to play here. Farther south in Palm Coast is Hammock Beach Resort, which offers two signature courses designed by Nicklaus and Watson, The Ocean Course (with stunning views of the Atlantic) and The Conservatory Course.
4. Golf Academies
If you are going to play this game we all love so much, you might as well learn to play it well. The First Coast has a plethora of golf academies throughout the region that will provide top-tier instruction from PGA professionals.
Visit the PGA Tour Academy and Golf Made Simple – both located in St. Augustine near the World Golf Village. The PGA Tour Academy has another location at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. You can find a Golf Made Simple on Amelia Island.
5. Best Feeding Spots for Golfers
After an invigorating day of punishing the golf ball and bringing some of the most spectacular golf tracks to their knees, you’ll need some nourishing rewards. What better place than some good old casual Florida eateries that will fill you up without draining your wallet.
When in Ponte Vedra Beach, seek out Lulu’s Waterfront Grille – it’s not far from the TPC Sawgrass. The Outback Crab Shack near the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine will feed you right. Clark’s Fish Camp in Jacksonville is the place to go when you really must have some fresh fish.
Plan Your Trip
I’ve given you great layouts to play, views to see, events to attend, schools in which to learn and places to eat. Now in order to get the keys to all these wonderful things in the golf kingdom, you must contact Florida’s First Coast of Golf, a not-for-profit organization that will help you put together fantastic golf trips to this area. By locating just the right golf course and lodging package for you, they make travel planning as easy as a one-foot putt. Take advantage of their vast knowledge of the golf industry in northeast Florida – it will help you save time and money on your upcoming visit.
See their web site www.florida-golf.org or give them a call at 904-249-0585.