Golf in Flagler County: Quiet, Unspoiled and Challenging

By: Tim McDonald


Flagler County may not get the sort of golf publicity other areas in Florida do, but it's always struck me as a very underrated golf destination.

It's a little south of Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach, home of the PGA Tour, and far to the north of the bright lights of south Florida.

It's a relatively quiet slice of Florida, but it has wonderful, uncrowded beaches and some beautiful natural areas. No crowds here.

It also has some of the better golf courses in the state, especially the two courses at Hammock Beach Resort, the Ocean course (designed by Jack Nicklaus), and the Conservatory course (a Tom Watson design that has one of the highest slope ratings in the state).

I always include the Nicklaus course in any list of scenic Florida golf courses. Nicklaus used the Atlantic Ocean better on this course than any other in Florida. Some of the views are legitimately stunning.

Shamefully, I have yet to play the newer Conservatory, but that will change soon; I want to test myself on this long layout -  it's 7,776-yards - yikes! And yes, I plan to play from the back tees so I can really take a beating.

Then, there's the other top-notch golf resorts, Hammock Dunes and the Grand Club, along with several other challenging, picturesque tracks.

Flagler County may not have the glitz of south Florida or the prestige of Ponte Vedra Beach - nor does it have the sheer volume of golf courses - but it's a quiet, pretty, uncrowded slice of Florida with some darn good golf.

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