Rolling hills, exotic plant life and, of course, stunning waterfronts serve as picturesque backdrops for these top golf courses in Florida.
Some of the most famous golf course
architects in the world have used Florida as a palette to showcase both their creative talents and Florida itself. Making use of the natural contours, lakes, rivers and even the ocean and gulf, these architects have designed some of the most scenic golf courses in the world – right here in the Sunshine State.
Taking into account the organic nature of a golf course and the changes that happen over time, the following are my choices for the most scenic courses in Florida.
Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne is laid out on an island off the South Florida coast, with the course winding around small, saltwater lakes. The views of the Miami skyline follow you around as you play, and the course is dotted with palms, mangrove and other exotic South Florida flora and fauna.
The Great White Course
at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa
is a veritable living sculpture. All palm trees and sand, it's as though they boiled down Florida to its essence and made a golf course out of it.
The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa’s golf course located in Hallandale Beach is designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. The 18-hole course stretches 6,800 yards and features rolling fairways, eight acres of lakes and 76 sand bunkers. With magnificent banyan trees, landscaping that fuses Florida nature with an Asian sensibility, and a Mediterranean-style clubhouse that is probably the most ornate in the state, the course is one of the scenic golf courses in the state.
The Island Course is by far the most scenic of the four top golf courses in Florida at the Innisbrook resort in Palm Harbor, and some say even better than its famous sister, the Copperhead. The Island course has a distinct Carolina feel, with moss-draped cypress trees and a low-country feel.
You’d never guess that Hawk's Landing, Orlando World Center Marriott Resort is deep in the heart of Orlando and close to a major interstate. Playing the course, you feel like you're in a verdant oasis, with queen palms, sand pines and magnolias lining the fairways and grounds.
The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach will always make anyone's “Most Scenic List.” True, architect Jack Nicklaus had to use bulldozers to raise the tees and greens above the dune line to give those spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, but I'm glad he did. This is one of the few top golf courses in Florida that can provide such sweeping ocean views, with more holes on the ocean than any other course in Florida.
of Amelia Island
reflects the care and attention of the eponymous resort. The fairways sport a deep green hue and small islands of bright flowers are scattered around the course, solely for your viewing pleasure. Fountains flow from lakes and ponds. But the ancient oaks that anchor the course are the real natural attractions.
Located near downtown Pensacola, Lost Key Golf Club on Perdido Key was the first golf course in Florida to be certified as an Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary. The project continues to protect the natural resources of the area while providing an outstanding golf experience.
Regatta Bay in Destin was built on a lovely piece of land between the rolling dunes fronting the Gulf of Mexico and the serene waters of Choctawatchee Bay. The cart rides between holes are adventures in botany.
All of the four scenic golf courses at the sprawling Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
show off amazing views of the Emerald Coast. Baytowne Golf Club and Burnt Pine Golf Club feature the Gulf of Mexico and/or Choctawatchee Bay, but The Links Course
shows off more of the bay than any course here.