Martin County Golf Combines History and Nature in the Florida Sunshine
Content sponsored by Martin County Office of Tourism
By Patrick Farnan
It’s easy to see why visitors to Florida’s west coast would be drawn to Martin County, with its miles of gorgeous beaches, expansive parks and wilderness areas, and tantalizing mix of shopping, restaurants and entertainment.
But Martin County also offers some of the finest golfing in Florida.
More than three dozen top courses are located within about 30 minutes of each other, all offering a rich experience for the low handicapper or the weekend golfer.
The Champions Club at Summerfield is a highly rated Tom Fazio design that offers a country club atmosphere without country club prices. The varied layout and contour offers golfers a stern test of challenges. The course hosts several competitive events, including the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic 2017 Qualifier.
Plus, it is a gorgeous setting that features plenty of native entertainment, such as deer, a wide variety of birds, and the occasional alligator. The club also bills itself as being the first public golf course to be awarded the Audubon Signature Statuary designation because of its natural beauty.
Not far away is the Indianwood Golf Club, a popular 18-hole layout that presents a different kind of examination.
At a little more than 6,000 yards from the tips, length is not an issue here for the long hitter. Fans of this Ted McAnlis layout, built in 1984, speak fondly of its design and give this course plaudits for the challenges built into its tighter confines. The course is rated at 69.0 but still has a solid slope rating at 125.
Regulars here also tout the friendly staff. And while all golf courses, naturally, can face challenges from weather and nature, this one generally gets high marks for its condition.
A few miles up the road in Stuart is another gem.
While glossy new golfing complexes seem to spring up with regularity in Florida, the Martin County Golf Course is a historic course that continues to uphold the high standards with which it was built.
It is four nine-hole courses amid a residential area near the Intracoastal Waterway. And it is a treat. Water comes into play on many holes. Some of the layout seems to be literally cut out of the oaks and pines that frame the fairway.
Parts of the course seem to have a distinctly settled feeling, and perhaps it is no wonder. The first nine holes were built in 1925 by golf course architect William Langford. The course has undergone several changes since, including some major revisions in 2015.
The club is part of the Florida Historic Golf Trail, a collection of about 50 golf courses around the state, many of which were developed along with the construction of hotels and railroads. The Trail organization seeks to nurture public awareness of these courses that have maintained their historic character and are still accessible to the public.
The Martin County Golf Club, which still proudly bears some of the earmarks of those early courses, remains a well-manicured, up-to-date facility that nicely blends history with contemporary standards.
Another nearby club that touts its “Florida-style’’ golf is the Florida Club, also in Stuart.
Situated amid pines and oaks and palmetttos, the Florida Club has become known as one of the area’s most beautiful and well-conditioned golf courses.
The par 72, 18-hole layout stretches to 7,000 yards, with five sets of tees catering to all skill levels. Opened in 1996, the course rating is 72.9 and has a slope rating of 134. So, while it manages to remain playable even for the weekend golfer, this course can hold its own against highly-skilled players.
These four courses offer a significant but only partial example of the diverse golfing experience available to Martin County visitors. Yes, this beautiful region two hours north of Miami offers plenty more: shopping, fishing, sunbathing, horseback riding, hiking, the list goes on.
But if you’re a golfer, this is worth your while.