Great Golf Abounds Around Clearwater

    By John Schwarb

    Accolades keep piling in for Clearwater, the beachy destination just a short hop from the big cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg.

    In January, USA Today readers named Clearwater  lorida’s best beach town. More recently, those same readers named Clearwater the best spot in America to watch a sunset. Not bad at all.

    I worked in Clearwater for several years back in the day and can attest to its sun-splashed fabulousness. There were many lunch breaks spent on the beach, grabbing a grouper sandwich at Frenchy’s on Clearwater Beach, and, of course, a few days where I’d steal away for a few holes.

    Here’s a few of my favorite golf courses around Clearwater:

    Belleview Biltmore, Belleair: This 1925 Donald Ross-designed classic practically drips with history. It’s near the beaches, reasonably priced, and at 6,614 yards from the back tees, won’t wear you out over 18 holes.

    Dunedin Golf Club: Another Donald Ross classic, Dunedin opened in 1927 and has seen greats such as Ben Hogan and Babe Zaharias on its fairways. It was once home of the PGA of America; the PGA Merchandise Show that is now a multi-day showcase in Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center was started at Dunedin in its parking lot.

    Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Club, Clearwater: The Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy, named for the great golfer, showman and philanthropist, helps at-risk kids by using golf as a classroom. On the grounds of the academy is par-69 golf course in a wooded setting with plenty of sand and water. All proceeds from the course go back into the academy’s mission.