Championship-caliber greens collaborate with Mother Nature. You can play along natural woodlands and wetlands with stunning bay, lake and bayou views in the Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island area. Nearby, sunlight shimmers on emerald green waters brushing 24-miles of sugar-white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. With loads fun on and off the greens, everybody wins.
Accolades roll in for popular courses located minutes apart on the Emerald Coast. Stay awhile and play them all.
In east Destin, Bob Cupp-designed Emerald Bay Golf Club, winding along the shores of Choctawhatchee Bay, boasts the bonus of the Medicus Swingology™ golf program. Heading west on Highway 98, you'll find a wilder side among the flora and fauna of the Audubon-registered nature preserve at Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club. Watch out for the challenging 18th hole, known as the “Tin Cup”. Become a “Member for the Day” and discover why Kelley Plantation Golf Course claims the title “Crown Jewel of the Emerald Coast.” With artistic fairways, stunning scenery and stellar service, the upscale 18-hole Couples/Bates course rates 4 ½ stars out of 5 according to Golf Week Magazine. Need to sharpen swings and strokes? Invest in a few game-changing sessions with Kelly Plantation pro Rob Strano. Another Destin mainstay, Indian Bayou Golf Club features three diverse nine-hole courses that can be played in any combination.
In the Fort Walton Beach area, Shalimar Pointe Golf & Country Club is a long-standing local favorite. It takes a solid drive to carry over the famed “Grand Canyon” on the 13th hole. At Fort Walton Beach Golf Club, bag a few birdies on The Pines Course in the morning and expect a few bogeys in the afternoon on The Oaks Course. The club is also the original location of internationally-renowned Edwin Watts Golf Shops. Eglin Air Force Base Golf Club and Hurlburt Field Gator Lakes Golf Course offer challenging play for military visitors and their guests.
Off the Greens
If you decide to venture off the greens, here’s a sample of family-friendly pastimes the area has to offer.
- Soak up sunbeams and sea breezes on beaches ranked among the best in the nation.
- Reel ‘em in aboard a deep-sea fishing charter in Destin, the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”
- Splash down at Big Kahuna’s Waterpark.
- Race around the Track Family Recreation Center.
- Kick back at free concerts, flicks and festivals at Destin Commons, HarborWalk and Uptown Station.
- And, when it’s time to chill out and chow down, more than 200 area restaurants tickle all taste buds.
Great Deals and Easy Access
The longer it takes to get there, the less time to play. No problem. The Emerald Coast is a short hop off I-10 or a fast flight to Northwest Florida Regional Airport.
Golf getaways won’t break the budget. Area greens offer Early Bird and Twilight rounds plus daily specials. Vacation rental companies, like Brooks and Shorey Resorts and ResortQuest, pack on perks from free/discount golf rounds to dolphin cruises and waterpark tickets. Score savings on lodging and golf packages at Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.
This article was brought to you by the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information and to plan your visit to the Emerald Coast, visit www.emeraldcoastfl.com.